The progressive pre-candidate who belongs to the Democratic Party and who aspires to face Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency arrived in Burlington, a small town in the state of Vermont that is the birthplace of the American politician.
Burlington is a small city located in the west of the smallest and most deserted state in the United States.
It has an estimated population of 42,000 inhabitants contributing a significant percentage to the total number of inhabitants of the state that according to figures from the last census reached about 667,000 people.
It is a city where you can see much less population density than you would find in other states such as Texas or North Carolina.
However, this contrasts with the marvelous buildings of the place, where you can see old government buildings built with red bricks, emblematic Protestant churches and houses that are mostly built with rustic wood.
The inhabitants of that small town or the Burlingtonians, as would be their case, are humble people, nature lovers and used to live much of the year with snow, so it is not surprising to see many “woodcutter’s shirts”.
These are made of flannel, with the popular and well-known Scottish designs of red, black or red and grey.
Now in political matters the state differs from some others like the state of Texas which has a marked Republican tendency, here in the state of Vermont, the way of thinking contrasts directly with the ideas promoted by the Democratic party.
So much so that it is a community that has always shown full support and camaraderie with minorities such as the LGBTI community itself, immigrants, African Americans, undocumented or refugees who are welcomed, providing the same rights and dignified treatment they deserve as people.
It is a city that has taken in immigrants even from countries as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo, for them receiving migrants is more than an offense to the Americans themselves, it is an opportunity for development for the communities.
In an interview with local media, the Governor of Vermont mentions how proud they are that there is no migrant detention centre in the state of Vermont.
And they say they are against the immigration ban imposed by Republican President Donald Trump.
It would seem contradictory that in a state where 98% of the population is white, minorities are accepted with so much love and compassion, something that contrasts with the hate that the current American president is sowing in several Republican-leaning states such as Arkansas or Oklahoma where the vast majority of the population is of white origin.
However, the authorities mention that although the number of incidents resulting from homophobia, xenophobia or racism is usually low in the state, with the arrival of President Trump and his hateful language towards immigrants and minorities, there has been a considerable increase, thus raising the alarm about the change in the thinking of the community in that welcoming and peaceful state.
Burlington also became the first to be powered entirely by renewable energy, setting an example for many U.S. cities to raise awareness of the need to protect the planet from the greenhouse effect.
This state and in particular this city have a special connection with Senator and current White House hopeful Bernie Sander, as he has been a consecutive representative to the House and Senate for the state of Vermont.
Sanders served as mayor of Burlington from 1981 to 1989, a time that served to remind him of the efforts of his public work on the small town, as well as his promotion of the progressive agenda within the municipality.
He is also remembered for his ability to negotiate and even plead with members of his current party, including opponents of the Republican Party.
It should be noted that Sanders today has the Democratic Party divided between those who believe that it has a position that moves away from what the party represents and see in it what Donald Trump mentions: “An imposition of the socialist agenda in the United States of America” and others who find its utopian ideas of equality and social justice positive.
Sanders didn’t grow up in Burlington but was born and raised in New York City; but at the 1970s he came to the city with social work and a strong willingness to protect the rights of minorities.
Inspired by progressive ideas, he took an important step in his political career and in 1980 he ran for mayor of the village, winning by a mere 10 votes.
He would later be pushed to run for the governorship of Vermont, where he got very poor results.
However, it is important to note that during the two periods in which Sanders was mayor of the city, the conditions of access to health care were improved and the protection of workers became much more visible.
For the small American city has an important value the universities that are settled there, among which stands out the university of Vermont considered one of the best in the country.
The total number of students in the city is almost 13,000, representing a significant amount of the total population of the small town.
These educational institutions have been a great help in boosting Burlington’s economy because of the remarkable presence of independent bars, restaurants, bookstores, and theatres within the city.
Sanders deployed within the city the idea of an economy where each person can own the businesses that may exist there and he did it by creating cooperatives, where the owners come together in cooperatives and thus manage to obtain community benefits.
The state of Vermont will play an important role in the Democratic primary that ends up electing the candidate who will face Donald Trump for the White House.