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Will Ben & Jerry's have to be declared?

April 05, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

There are many reasons to like Vermont: magnificent mountains, sparkling brooks, most excellent ice cream, a screaming Howard Dean.

But now there's another reason to admire the people of this picturesque little state.

They want out.

Out of the union, that is. According to an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post, they want to order up one secession sandwich. It's been nice, but it's over. We've had it with this screwball nation. Keep in touch, thanks for the interstates and all, but we'll be going now. We want to be known simply as the independent Republic of Vermont.

Jeepers. I didn't know they felt this way. Vermont has always been a little different, electing independent politicians and running the capital out of Montpelier, a town roughly the size of Hedgesville. But I never dreamed it would come to this.

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What has led to this effort that could lead the American flag having one star too many?

Lots of stuff, say Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan.

"Over the past 50 years, the U.S. government has grown too big, too corrupt and too aggressive toward the world, toward its own citizens and toward local democratic institutions. It has abandoned the democratic vision of its founders and eroded Americans' fundamental freedoms. Vermont did not join the Union to become part of an empire."

Ouch, that hurts. The truth does that sometimes.

And those do seem to be some pretty severe irreconcilable differences. But I do hate the thought of having to use a passport every time I went to Burlington. Can't we just get some counseling or something? Let's try to work things out, please?

We can change, I swear. We'll stop staying out late in foreign countries and end the catting around with those painted corporate Jezebels and sugar-daddy lobbyists. Honest we will. Just give us one more chance.

We don't want a map of New England to look as if it has a tooth missing. And practically speaking, we could never stand the hit to our Gross Domestic Product of Quaintness.

But Vermonters seem pretty determined. They've had it with the abuse. In one straw poll held at various town meetings, 62 percent believe a split would be the best thing.

And it's not as if they haven't lived on their own before. From 1771, when they offed Britain, until 1791, they stood independently, printing their own money and running their own postal service. They begged out of the War of 1812 and only fought in the Civil War as an anti-slavery movement; they didn't care about preserving jack.

It's that freedom thing again. They seem to be hung upon it at the same time that all the rest of us are lying down like dogs and letting the government have its way.

The authors write: "After the Great Flood of 1927, the worst natural disaster in the state's history, President Calvin Coolidge (a Vermonter) offered help. Vermont's governor replied, 'Vermont will take care of its own.'"

Now that I think about it, it might be kind of cool if Vermont succeeded at seceding. But knowing our administration, I worry about the retribution Vermont might face.

It would be just like President Bush to enact a great maple syrup embargo. Or worse, call up the nation's Civil War re-enactors to engage in shelling Fort Ticonderoga. (And yes, I know Ticonderoga is technically in New York, but does Bush?)

So if we can't even secure Baghdad, how are we going to neutralize Stowe? Volvos can be pretty indestructible, and these people are well-trained at battling in the lift lines. For safety's sake, reporters better be confined to the Green Mountain Zone.

No, Vermonter's problem will not be seceding. It will be that, the way things are going, a lot of states will probably want to join them. And Vermont certainly does not want that.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324 or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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