Keelan: Except for a few, we are all flatlanders

By Don Keelan

Years ago, my wife and I sold several old buildings in East Arlington, Vermont. We may have been the fifth or sixth owner since the buildings were constructed by an out-of-state speculator who came to Vermont to take advantage of the possible business and population expansion that he had envisioned.

Using today’s “standards,” the original builder would be described as a “flatlander” or a non-native Vermonter: he was not born here, nor did his family have roots that went back six or eight generations. His goal was to set up a business on the town line between Arlington and Sunderland to take advantage of each town’s development incentives.

The flatlander migrated from Avon, Connecticut, in the year 1763, and his name was Remember Baker. He was better known as a first cousin to Ethan and Ira Allen.

Don Keelan

During the early 1770s, Baker, along with his cousins and General Stark, would meet in the gristmill he built and plot strategies on how their gang, The Green Mountain Boys, would harass “the Yorkers,” the British soldiers, and local Tories.

I bring up this ancient piece of history to point out that, for the most part, all of us or almost all of us living in Vermont today are not Native Vermonters, but that in the past, our ancestors or we came from someplace else. Even being born in Vermont should not warrant the title, Native Vermonter.

I find it somewhat annoying, especially around election time when candidates like to point out that they are “a Native Vermonter.” Unless they are descendants of the great Abenaki Nation, what are they attempting to convey by stating they are a Native Vermonter? Furthermore, what does that make me – a flatlander? Literally, it is misleading; I migrated to Vermont from New York State, where the great Catskill and Adirondack Mountains are quite substantial, especially in height.

Declaring oneself to be a Native Vermonter states that I am different from you, emphasizing and labeling all others as flatlanders. The question is, for what purpose? Aren’t we all Vermonters committed to the State’s motto of Freedom and Unity? Why would anyone, in today’s environment, want to have it any other way?

Just because our State’s junior senator, Bernie Sanders, the Great Divider, wishes to create divisions amongst us is no reason to continue his class warfare. Soon after my family moved to Vermont, over 35 years ago, I witnessed the beginning of class distinctions that Bernie set in motion. So much for adhering to the State’s motto of Unity.

Initially, for Bernie, it was the big companies versus the small companies, and soon, it moved to the rich people versus the hard-working people (later, the poor people). But always a division, two classes of Vermonters. To this day, he continues to denounce the wickedness of the big companies and the rich people.

How politically clever it is to use the term, hard-working people of Vermont, another form of labeling. As far as I am concerned, anyone working in Vermont, poor or rich, if working, is working hard. There is no reason to make a distinction. Just like it is unnecessary to make a division between someone who can trace their Vermont lineage back to the War of Independence to that of someone who recently arrived in Vermont from Ethiopia or Vietnam.

If, in fact, the organizers of the BIPOC and LBGQT community are seeking to end discrimination and bring forward full inclusiveness, then it is time to eliminate the references of Native Vermonter, flatlander, and other references to class distinction such as rich, poor, or hard-working.

I will take the liberty of paraphrasing a recent Wall Street Journal quote by U.S. Circuit Court Judge James Ho, “I was not born in Vermont but thank God every day that I will die in Vermont, a Vermonter.”

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.

24 thoughts on “Keelan: Except for a few, we are all flatlanders

  1. In actuality your book report-styled insufferablly arrogant screed insults and disrespects all native born or generational Vermonters and champions those who have and continue to seek the disenfranchisement of not just aforementioned but all residents and voters of VT who reflect the VT way of life.

    As a multi-generational descendent of NEK and farmers Vermonters on both sides of fam personally can only hope that you and carpetbagging evil ilk who fail to recognize our way of life while offering no improvement will dissolve into rotteness displayed – we do not need ppl like you in our state.

  2. Nice article.. except for when you are one of those Natives that does have 6 and 7 generations here buried. There is a lovely lake in Vermont that bears my mothers family name because of the contributions of her family to the state.
    When we say we built this area, we are not joking.
    Being a genuine Native matters and matters a lot to us that are.
    Our perspective is quite different from the writers, as Donna B, another native also eluded too.
    There are actually a lot of us here still.. by the way.

  3. Mr. Keelan,
    Thanks for the thoughtful commentary. Perhaps, one of the most important Vermont values I know is to judge each individual by what they do and how they treat others, not by race, creed or whether they are rich or poor. We try to give space and freedom as long to our neighbor to live the life they choose and expect them to do the same for us. Seems pretty simple, yet many have a hard time not trying to impose their views upon others and scorning those who do not believe as they do.

    • That is pretty funny coming from you Mr. Freitag.
      You work very hard trying to impose your views upon us.
      And Vermont is one of the most regulated states in the country, by the way.
      The state works very hard to decide what the views of Vermonters will be.

    • Look in the mirror Mr Freitag – it is *you* that do not accept the views of others and if I had my way you would not be here, and if on any other conservative comment platform would have been booted long ago for long list of dishonest behavior. Primarily for adding nothing to any conversation and continual serving of honey-coated sh** sandwiches and attempt to alter the views of others such as slamming John Klar and whining that he needs to change message to fit a wider audience aka you and DemocratMarxist ilk.

      • My goodness, such intolerance and venom! My understanding of true conservatism is a belief in free speech and not canceling out those whose opinions may not be our own. I would also say that many of my views, far from “DemocratMarxist”, are rooted in the deepest beliefs of Vermont Republican tradition.

        The qualities I have always admired in those who served as mentors was their ability to listen and consider what others had to say. They did not necessarily agree with what was spoken, but were secure enough in themselves to know that there is always the ability to sometimes learn a bit more about something and it didn’t hurt to hear another point of view.

        • John Freiag: “Seems pretty simple, yet many have a hard time not trying to impose their views upon others and scorning those who do not believe as they do.” Yes John how very true and hypocritical- ya just happen to be the biggest offender amirite.

          My goodness and Au Contraire – no venom sir – just a calmly-stated comment of which each point happens to be true. Continually making jabs at the many who have pointed out your activist refusal to recognize conservative stances and ongoing slams against us. As one who has glibly championed the falsehood that ‘there is no way to find the truth nor a need to know it’ – may I suggest JC *promised* we shall know the truth and be made free – try it sometime lol.

          • While I have never championed the falsehood “that there is no way to find truth nor a need to know it”, I am glad to know we both share an appreciation for the wisdom of the Gospels.

            Besides the beatitudes, I particularly like the admonition to “judge not yet ye be judged” and the question from JC, as you refer to him, “why do you look at the speck in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye”.

            Always good to be careful with our words and how we treat others,

          • More hypocrisy. Antics are far from qualifying as a speck sir – a redwood is more like it lol.

            Pants On Fire Alert: Have stated many times you’re glad to not have found the truth yet of which I must agree – its called darkness sir. To some of us light of truth is simply a way of life – sorry you’re still attempting to figure it all out.

            Judgement is not prohibited however comes with a caveat: that we will we judged by the same standard we judge by in the here and now which I fully expect. Personally judge by truth, justice and veracity all of which I abide by. So sorry you cannot make the same claim.

          • Vaclav Havel, who led his country out of communist rule, said “Keep me in the company of those who seek the truth – run from those who have found it”.

            The longshoreman Eric Hoffer’s book “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements” published in 1951 still has relevance today and probably should be a part of required school reading.

            Finally, if being a Vermonter means anything, it is cherishing independent thought and the ability to express it. It does not mean forcing anyone to agree with your views or excluding other views you may not agree with.

          • Placing upon a pedestal one who clearly dwells in darkness and glib agreement is not an accomplishment sir but you just denied the connection. Light, which is free but not cheap, is available to all who will merely receive. Not necessarily faith-based, simply enhanced consciousness as opposed to intellect however all three can reside together. Rejection thereof results in blindness and inability to recognize truth.

            Pretty sure no one is attempting to change your mind bc personally do not care. Continually disagreeing with the ranges of a political worldview of a comment platform is not allowed except on public platforms where all pov are accepted, bc the left do not wish to do anything but argue and fight, are always right and and believe they have the moral highground when in fact opposite is true. And no – I do not need to hear your or their ad nauseum pov and will decide what I need to hear – pls do the same.

            “Decoding the downfall – one facepalm @ a time”

  4. Well seeing my Grandmother was a Native American Indian and born here in Vermont makes me a Native Vermonter. My husband was born in Mass (tho his parents were born here in Vermont)

    Yes, there are a lot of out of staters who moved here and consider themselves Vermonters. but they moved here to embrace our way of living/life. They didn’t move here to change our once great state into the state they left. My grandfather always said ” we let these damn out of staters in and they will start taking over and ruin this state” man was he right.

    • Make no mistake Donna – if you were born here you are a native Vermonter despite folly of attempting to alter the meaning of words to suit ones globalist opinion that rejects all attempts to any claim of nativist or nationality as being of unique value – so shutup and accept the worldview of your betters. All other lanuage is verboten in the lexicon of NWOiist global citizens as they trash our world and everyone in it as the infexible selfrighteous elitists they are.

      IOW – we unlike the favored special status of BIPOC and LGTB carved out by those who clearly hate anyone who dares disagree w their slanted and stilted woldview have no rights.

  5. THANK YOU ! Mr. Keelan. I am not from Vermont and am tired with being lumped in with the Commiecrat flatlanders that came up in the 70s that warped this beautiful state. I believe there are only Patriots & Progressives. My hope is that the new influx of people moving to Vermont are conservatives that are escaping socialist states.

  6. The frustrating thing is not the fact that someone living here may have been born somewhere else.. its that many times they move here and bring their liberal beliefs with them. This is a battle we’ll be fighting forever I’m afraid. Freedom loving conservatives need to keep pushing back or we’re doomed.

  7. The question is, aren’t we all Vermonters committed to the State’s motto of Freedom and Unity?

    Apparently not, just look what we have under the ” Golden Doom ” in Montpelier, nothing but
    ” doom & gloom “, being brought to us from out of staters “aka ” flatlanders “, trying to change Vermont to what they left behind in their liberal quagmires !!

    I know hundreds of people living in VT that came from other states to live the life we all
    know and love….. If the term ” Flatlander ” offends you, guess there’s a reason, Oh well !!

  8. Despite the fact that I have seven generations in the ground in Fletcher, I have never thought of myself as a real Vermonter because I was born in Burlington.

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