“These, I think, are the people a political party worthy of our respect and our votes will have to speak for. It will have to defend the health of ecosystems and watersheds. It will have to advocate the development of local economies: the interdependence of cities and towns with their adjoining landscapes of farms or ranches, gardens, forests, lakes and streams; the cooperation of farmers, ranchers, gardeners, foresters, fishermen, and other users of the land and water with homegrown, locally-owned, appropriately-scaled businesses that will process and distribute the local products. It will know and say that such economies, providing a significant measure of local self-sufficiency, are indispensable to the security of the nation. It will insist that the working people are not readily transportable or dispensable “resources” for industry, but instead are honored and necessary members of their communities, entitled to just wages, decent working conditions, and pleasant places to live. It will honor the idea of vocation: that young people should find the work to which they are called or are naturally suited, and, having found it, should be able to devote their lives to it. It will, in short, tell the truth about the human economy: Competitiveness, covetousness, ruthlessness, and greed are not economic virtues; the economic virtues are neighborliness, generosity, trust, good workmanship, thrift, and care. It will tell the truth also about war: We can no longer afford it, or bear it; we will have to think of better ways—good economic practice, honest talk, peaceable resistance—to protect the things needing to be protected. It will repudiate all narrow and special definitions of conservation, but will use the term in the broadest sense to mean giving care to everything needing care: wilderness, all bodies of water, the air, farms and working forests, all the creatures (living and not-living), neighbors, families and communities, languages, cultures, minds, souls, freedom, democracy, the Constitution.
This is one way of describing a party worth working and voting for, worth even being defeated for. What I have written is dismissible, I know, as “idealistic” or even as “a dream.” But I believe it is practical, and demonstrably so, at every point. Your Friend, Wendell” Wendell Berry