VERMONT’S POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE
Vermont has a reputation for its political independence. Vermont never voted for four-term president Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the Vermont legislature declared war on Germany on September 16, 1941, before Pearl Harbor; and the Vermont Senate voted to Impeach President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2007.
ONE PARTY RULE
The GOP dominated Vermont politics for more than a century, beginning in 1854. By 1974, the Democrats took over. But just as Vermont never toed the party line when the Republicans ruled, so it veers from party orthodoxy under the Democrats.
In this century alone, Vermont has launched two idiosyncratic presidential candidates: In 2004, Howard Dean claimed to “represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party”; in 2016, Bernie Sanders, an Independent, ran as a Democrat.
It’s hardly surprising then, that in the 2018 mid-terms, Vermont chose an Independent for the US Senate; a Democrat for the US House; a Republican Governor; a Progressive Lieutenant Governor; Democrats to serve as State Treasurer, Secretary of State and Attorney General; and a Progressive for Auditor of Accounts.
Where rural America is notably red, rural Vermont is notably blue.
THE TURNING POINT
The turning point in Vermont politics occurred in 1964. Vermont Republicans who didn’t want to support the Republican candidate Barry Goldwater but couldn’t bring themselves to cast a ballot for a Democrat had an alternative: The Vermont Independent Party was created to allow Republican Vermonters to vote for Johnson without actually voting for a Democrat. LBJ carried Vermont with sixty-six percent of the vote.
1964 was the year of another political upheaval in Vermont: Reapportionment, which changed how Vermont elected its legislature from “one town – one vote” to representation by population.
A POLITICAL LOVE STORY
Into the Wilderness, a love story between two sixty-four year olds both dislocated by change, is set against this upheaval in Vermont’s political landscape. Rose Mayer is widowed for the second time and is sure about two things: she doesn’t want to marry again, and she certainly doesn’t want to live in Vermont. Percy Mendell faces retirement from a satisfying career with the Farm Bureau with uncertainty bordering on dread.
You can learn more about the book here. Scroll down to watch a video, hear me read an excerpt, find a playlist of the music the characters listen to and read reviews and interviews. Published in 2010, Into the Wilderness won an Independent Publishers Gold Medal in 2011.
In 2018, the story still resonates with the possibilities of political compromise and late-in-life love. No longer in print, the book is available as an eBook.
I hope you’ll read it and let me know what you think.
Written to educate and entertain, Living in Place is where I publish my sometimes pointed, sometimes poetic and sometimes irritating essays about the human condition. By subscribing, you will have an essay every week delivered to your email and you will be supporting my independent, non-commercial voice. Thanks.