On Wednesday night, two candidates for Vermont House held a forum in the local library that had a very unusual ending. After a thorough debate of the issues, the two joined together to perform a song.
The setting was the Varnum Memorial Library in Jeffersonville. The candidates are Democrat Lucy Rogers and Republican Zac Mayo, who are vying for the seat representing Cambridge, Jeffersonville and Waterville now held by retiring Republican Rep. Bernie Juskiewicz. The song they chose was "Society" by Eddie Vedder. The lyrics condemn materialism and greed, and end with a farewell to society. Mayo strummed a guitar while Rogers played cello.
Both sang the melancholy chorus:
Society, have mercy on me
I hope you're not angry if I disagree
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you're not lonely without me
"It’s always been a personal favorite of mine," said Mayo. "It's always resonated with me."
Rogers says the two were talking at a Fourth of July parade when they realized they shared a passion for music. As the Wednesday forum approached, Rogers thought of perhaps collaborating on a song.
"I mentioned it to Zac in an email a few days ago," Rogers said. "It seemed like a fun thing to do to lighten the tone of the debate. Music has always been an important part of my life, a way to bring people together."
Mayo quickly agreed. On Tuesday, they got together for a practice session and settled on a song. Their performance drew a heartfelt response from the audience — lengthy applause and even a few tears.
From the very beginning, Rogers and Mayo had pledged to run a civil, respectful campaign — a quality they both agree is sadly lacking in today's politics. "There's a huge number of extremely poor examples," said Mayo.
On Wednesday night, these two young candidates provided a sterling example of another way to conduct a campaign.
The musical performance begins about 45 minutes into the video below: