June 15th, 2010

Shots From The Trail: Essex Edition

by Philip Baruth

We all carry our previous incarnations around inside us, no matter who we happen to be today. That’s why Tom Delay will always feel at home in a bug exterminator’s office, or out spraying a dank rooming-house basement with pesticide. That’s why no matter what higher office she does or doesn’t attain, no matter which term of office she does or doesn’t finish, Sarah Palin will always be able to relax in an open helicopter, with a pack of timber wolves fleeing below.

For my part, I love a bookstore, and always will. Logged a lot of hours in bookstores, browsing, buying, and reading to small groups of people who had nothing better to do. So doing a candidate event in-store made immediate, intuitive sense. And old friend Mike DeSanto (below, right) was generous enough to open up Phoenix Books in Essex to the campaign, and a nicer independent bookstore you will not find in the County. Best selection of Vermont authors going.

It was one of those groups that know the issues, know the candidates, know the ropes, and want to talk about how, knowing the ropes, we can avoid being strangled by them.

How do you enhance bike travel in a road-mad 21st-century American culture? How can train travel be rendered economically viable, and built in such a way as to enhance, rather than destroy, Vermont’s traditional small villages?

Best part? The question-and-answer session became a real discussion, with one questioner addressing another, rather than just letting a good issue die after an initial response. All of it, of course, themed around bringing Vermont not just into the 21st century on broadband, wind, education and health care, but into the version of the 21st century we choose to inhabit.

Thanks again, Essex. Your hospitality is much appreciated, as always.