Aloha, Vermont?

If you've been following the continuing efforts of the Fourth Estate, you know that it's about as unusual as a blizzard over William Shakespeare's fictional Prospero's Island-of "The Tempest" fame-for an accredited editorial writer to admit a blindspot in his commentary. Perhaps it's ok for a mere weekly amateur such as your humble scribe, moi?

My judgment gap came while pondering whether Vermonters, like so many living in other states, might contemplate some sort of territorial breakup or even secession (the last actual multi-state attempt had a sorry outcome), because of internal differences in political and governance objectives.

I thought Vermonters might consider either an individual town defection (think: Killington) or even a New England-in-the-1820s or Thomas Naylor-in-the-present sort of secession debate.

I had toyed with, and rejected, the notion of a virtual Vermont of pretty much disenfranchised old Vermonters practicing some form of traditional self-government while co-existing geographically mixed (but governmentally-separated) among the new in-migrants-because the facts on the ground are that there's no place in the state (not even the Northeast Kingdom) where the now dominant group is clearly absent. There is simply no place to furnish a sanctuary for the now subordinate group.

My error in thinking this couldn't be done may well be proven wrong by the example of Hawaii.

What's about to take place in the Aloha State could possibly come to pass in the Green Mountain State albeit for somewhat different reasons.

The Hawaii proposal-known as the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act-calls for the 6 percent of Hawaii's 1.3 million residents who are truly natives to be self-governing with a set of laws parallel to, and different from, the set of laws under which the other 94 percent will live (and pay taxes, and be regulated, and so on).

The 400,000 or so entitled Hawaiian natives, wherever they now live, will get a going-away gift of a couple million acres of land to which they don't have to move plus a few dozen millions of federal grant dollars to establish and operate their own governance. One step forward, two steps backward.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment