One of Vermont’s biggest strengths, in my view, is that it’s a place of tradition and a place of change: from legendary apple pies to snappy hard cider. A place with morals that allow for an expanse on the definition: Christian ministers perform same-sex marriage here. A state with an elected Republican Governor, Democratic Senators and Independents sprinkled throughout. People vote for people here, not party. People listen to debates or town hall meetings or their neighbors to get a full picture of the candidates. Political advertisements are a rarity, because  Vermonters aren’t dazzled by sound bites. Maybe you feel the same about your community?

But this mid-term election has me concerned. Has it always been party line over platform, and I just didn’t notice? Or has the division in our country pushed us all into thinking of only two options: red or blue? Bringing Trump down or raising him higher? Clearly, he will not stay in the Oval office without further disgraces, for he has an “endless capacity for dissembling.” Endless. Anyone who know the cautionary play, The Crucible, knows that line, and the danger lurking in it. Hysteria has a history in people with power. Time to end his reckless reign. To return to dignity. Don’t you think?

He does not stand alone, however. Those who ride his coat tails, those who look away when he baffles the constitution or slams the needy or lacks empathy when needed, all of those white men standing by him despite their conscience, they must take responsibility for the mounting hate crimes, the waning environmental policies, the thick distrust between us and much of the world, and the unstoppable power of the wealthy gun manufactures. Those who support Trump’s governance, need to speak to those in elder care, or attend high school, they need to speak to their neighbors who are suffering, and wake up to the wave of destruction following Trump’s tide. Let’s vote for a man or woman who might steer us clear of that ugliness. Regardless of party.

Party should not matter. But the very words of our constitution should be pronounced as more than sound bites by the candidate of your choice. They should be made visible in their very being.

Vote with your full intellect. Vote for the children. Vote for the air. Vote for truth. Reach out to someone who has never voted, and bring them along. Show them what democracy looks like. Show them America. As Oprah reminds us, “This land was made for you and me.” Let’s own it.

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