by Pam Baker
That’s not going to happen here in Vermont. Firstly, the voting process is compromised. Anyone with half a brain understands that mail in voting was the demise of fair and honest voting. Anything less than a “chain of custody” type process, along the order of a “police evidence” process, is necessary to ensure a fair and honest election. Not going to happen.
Secondly, everyone feels like, “what’s the use”. We are outnumbered and outpowered. According to the Pew Research Center, Vermont has 4% Republican voters and 88% Democrat voters. Getting this data is almost impossible and only a best guess.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say those that consider themselves conservative or Republican, including myself, are behind enemy lines. We are in hostile territory. Doesn’t mean our neighbors, friends, coworkers and such are our enemies per se. But there a quite a few that view anyone who claims to be conservative or Republican as “deplorable” or the destructors of our democracy.
Let me share a little story with you. Had coffee with a good friend the other day. Her views are along the lines of my own. We are more conservative than not, but closer to the “center”. We are Independents. She belongs to group of folks who had met for a set period of time for a specific purpose but when that ended, they found they wanted to continue meeting, as they had developed an important bond. She’s been meeting with them for over a year. When the conversation turns towards politics, she stays mum, for the most part. What she discovered is that all the other participants, less than 15 folks, feel that our “democracy” is in jeopardy. That conservatives/Republicans will destroy our “democracy” especially if Trump gets elected. She shares that they are very concerned. Interesting? Because every conservative/Republican I speak with and all the talking heads I see on the boob tube, state the same thing regarding the progressives/Democrats.
We are ALL concerned our “democracy” is in jeopardy. And blame the other side. Doesn’t that sound suspicious to you? Doesn’t it sound like we are being manipulated? Well…. I know we are. We have been bombarded with massive propaganda for the last 3-5 years. And of course, for over a hundred years we have been infiltrated and undermined by various forces hoping to take our grand society down. No one likes it if you are successful for too long.
At a fundamental level, all Americans, for the most part, value the same things. And yet we choose to see only the differences and not the similarities. Your neighbor or your coworker is not your enemy. Those that would convince you that they are your enemy are in fact, our enemy.
We must consider it a sacred duty to behave both in person and on line as if our very existence is dependent on standing for our principles in a way that doesn’t stomp on those with different political leanings. So responding to baiting is pointless. If forces you to react in an emotional way. Once that happens, you’ve lost control. The opposite is to disengage. Disengaging from society or friendships or other relationships may occasionally be necessary for your mental health, however, it is not a sustainable coping mechanism. We need you to stay in the game. Take a breather, attend to yourself but then get back in the game. Always go to the strengths and common ground when engaging with people in the community. Always be true and humble. You don’t know everything. It’s always good to listen. Encourage and smile. We have to win “the hearts and minds” and you can’t do that when you are making that “oh dear God” face when someone says something utterly ridiculous. Or when you are telling someone not only are they wrong but why, that leaves people feeling blasted. There are ways to do that. Ask Dale Carnegie.
This is an important task. And you don’t have to do it every day but you should be prepared. One of the ways you can be prepared is to read. I am currently reading “Resistance to Tyranny” by Joseph P. Martino. I highly encourage you to read this book. If anyone would like to do some sort of bookclub type activity with this book, I would be on board. I would also recommend “Live Not By Lies” by Rod Dreher. You can also read Mr. Dreher’s substack. Or Dr. Robert Malone’s substack. Also Tactical Wisdom blog by Joe Dolio is another good source. But be informed. You don’t have to know everything. Remember, be true and be humble. But be firm in your resolve. Mighty big order to fill. I usually falter daily in this, but I dust myself off and regroup and start again. So can you. We must.
Another way is to reconnect with your God or higher power. You need wisdom and support. This is very important. All of my life, the world endeavored to convince me religion was nonsense and intelligent people do not believe in God. And so I abandoned my faith as a young woman. I have to come to understand these last 10 years, on a visceral level, that this thinking was a lie.
Remember, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
If you look at the country, we are mostly conservative. There are pockets, cities mostly, where Democrats reign. But we are in the majority. Not in Vermont, but in the rest of the country. Be stalwart in your deeds and actions. We will persevere but it will be a tough row to hoe.
For those interested in a bookclub type activity, please email VDC and state that it is okay to share your email address and I will respond.