In his latest book (and first novel), NELC Fellow, Bill McKibben, takes his resistance angst and turns it into a love letter to Vermont, local craft beer, human-scale economies and decision making like “Town Meeting Day,” and Ethan Allen. With humor, he tells a tale of seceding as a protest against the big impersonal political economic forces that brought us climate disruption and Donald Trump. You may want to fly the new flag by the time you’re finished reading it, featuring an image of Camel’s Hump and Ethan Allen’s “The gods of the valley are not the gods of the hills.” He intersperses the entertaining story with bits of insights. From the character Trance, a soldier, on strategy: “You don’t choose your opponent’s weapons.” From the character Vern, on vision: “We want farmers growing food that people want to eat – we want slaughterhouses in Vermont again, and grain mills. Not big food so we can get salmonella from some feedlot in Indiana, but small food, so we can get dinner from our neighbors. So we can have security.” And on democracy: “We all need to be reminded that democracy isn’t just voting for president every four years and then trusting him to fix things. Democracy is about getting together with your community to think together about your future. Sometimes it’s dull, and sometimes people get long-winded, and sometimes they get stiff-necked. But town meeting has been going on for three hundred years, ever since people got to Vermont. Just go see.
“…And the one thing no one ever says anymore in our public life: I think you’re wrong, but you may be right.” Try it.