Ahh, Vermont. One of the tiniest states in the nation, home to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, most of the country’s maple trees, and some of the finest artisan cheeses and hard ciders in the country. But that’s not what really makes the state great. What makes it great is this:
1. Bernie Sanders. To start, Bernie was elected as the Mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served as Mayor for eight years before serving as an elected Representative from 1991 to 2007. Since then, he has been a Vermont Senator along with Patrick Leahy. Let’s be clear here: Vermonters love Bernie Sanders because he represents them. He represents human beings. He represents people. Love for Bernie Sanders spans across the economic and political spectrums. It’s not just the working class that loves Bernie. Everyone loves Bernie. Republicans and Democrats, Independents and Grass Roots—everyone. Not many politicians have held positions in one state for as long as Bernie Sanders has.
2. You could stand in the middle of any of Vermont’s major towns butt naked, gay/trans/queer/whatever, and smoke a joint,* and not get arrested. In my opinion, this is infinitely cooler than Trump’s infamous statement about being able to stand on 5th Avenue and shoot somebody while not losing support. So let’s break these three things down for a second (and add a fourth point for good measure):
- Vermont made it legal to be butt-ass naked in public in 1846. However, there are stipulations. One cannot disrobe in public. This means one cannot strip in public. This is because stripping/disrobing is seen as lewd and lascivious. In order to be able to walk around or hang out naked in Vermont, one has to be polite about it. One has to behave with the utmost decorum. One could not grab another naked person “by the pussy,” or commit any other Trump-ish kind of behavior lest they be deemed lewd and lascivious. This may be hard for someone like Trump, but for seasoned nudists, it’s just any old day as a nudist. So I could backpack naked through the streets of Burlington or Brattleboro, as has been done before. I also want to say, the right to be naked in Vermont is to preserve human rights; it is not so people can find an excuse to walk around naked. The point is, you could. You could sunbathe on your porch and as long as you’re not causing a nuisance, no one’s going to harass you. I think that’s fair.
- Cannabis: Cannabis was made medically legal in Vermont in 2004. It was decriminalized in 2013. It was officially made legal for adult use/recreation last year, in 2018. So this means, one can medicate their cancer at home with some homegrown cannabis and not get arrested. One could also go smoke a joint at their favorite nudist watering hole and probably be just fine, considering how many people in Vermont love cannabis (but contingent on the fact that again, the cannabis smoker is not causing a nuisance*).
- Women’s Rights: One could walk into an abortion clinic, get an abortion, and then go for a nice walk somewhere to smoke a bowl and decompress. For while a large portion of the rest of the country is openly attacking women’s rights to control their own bodies, Vermont just did the opposite. Vermont did the humane thing. Three days ago, Vermont just passed a sweeping bill to protect the right to choose. Now, let’s not get reproductive rights mixed up with cannabis legalization. I’m just saying, you can do both in the blessed and mighty State of Vermont. In fact, you could get an abortion, decide you’re a lesbian, go home and disrobe, grab a bowl, head out the door butt naked and smoke some weed in the park to decompress while staring at the sky and taking in the humanity of it all, all in the same day. You could.
- LGBTQ+ rights: In Vermont, you can be you. You can be gay, a lesbian, trans, queer, whatever. It’s been legal to be you according to however you identify sexually, if at all, since 1977 in Vermont. Vermont has one of the largest populations of same-sex couples, actually. In 1999, Vermont made it illegal to discriminate against couples of the same sex, passing the nation’s first same-sex civil union law. In 2009, same-sex marriage was officially legalized in the state.
So, while Trump may think it’s super cool to rape and sexually assault people and attack human and civil rights, I actually think that what’s cooler is peace. Vermont is the epitome of what the United States is supposed to be. The United States was once a great leading nation in the world, and one that exemplified human and civil rights and equality. That didn’t last too long, apparently—because right now, we are turning into Nazi Germany. And I don’t know about you, but I believe that any attack on peace or peaceful ways of life is evil and violent.
Why do so many people want to live in a country that exemplifies evil and violence? Why? It’s so much easier to just be and let be. Focus on that. Focus on being happy. Focus on freedom and justice and equality. That’s what makes humans happy. That’s the way forward.
Be like Vermonters. That is how a real American should be. You don’t have to be a nudist, a cannabis-user, or LGBTQ+. You just have to accept that others want to be themselves and stop forcing your personal opinions on how other people should live. It’s called freedom. That is what freedom is. Don’t get it confused in your head.
Bernie is the Senator of the greatest state in the nation. Let’s get the rest of the country to follow suit.