( – promoted by BP)
Apparently, the Vermont gubernatorial debate on Vermont Public Television is somewhat of a national joke. vtdigger has a collection of national media clips http://vtdigger.org/2014/10/17…
There were certainly funny moments in the debate and I howled with laughter. That said, I am proud that Vermont has an inclusive election process which allows any citizen concerned about the future of our society to run for our highest office and more importantly, a chance to be heard.
By carefully listening to the candidates, some pearls of wisdom emerge, valid concerns are expressed which may otherwise be overlooked. The candidates spotlight problems they are concerned with in the best way they know, in the hope that they can move the needle, make a difference and perhaps one of their ideas will be considered despite the odds they will be shunned, ignored, or even laughed at.
Make no mistake, it is a hard thing to stand up before peers and strangers and ask for support for your ideas. It is intimidating to face questions from the press, take criticism for your ideas from voters, and stand to debate other candidates. It is no easy task to have ideas you hold dear be questioned or even ridiculed, and it is very difficult to explain them while under pressure.
I salute Vermont Public Television for including all the candidates in their debate. Stewart Ledbetter was the picture of grace as he treated all the candidates with respect. Vermont has again out-done the rest of the country by allowing candidates with little support and resources to have a moment to be heard in a statewide forum.
Many other states and “debates” are open only to those with support in the polls, which often equates to contributions, which these days comes mostly from entrenched the interests of corporations, PACs, lobbyists and wealthy donors. Great numbers of citizens have turned away from the political process in part because it has become too predictable. A variety of candidates with views outside the mainstream is vital to democracy.
It is important that we, in the great state of Vermont, maintain our open democracy. We must encourage our people to stand up in the town square, at Town Hall meetings and in campaigns for public office. Our democracy is increasingly rare; let’s hold it close and nurture it.
That is no reason to take ourselves too seriously. Democracy without laughter or joy is boring. Once they stop laughing, some Americans may realize that Vermont’s democracy is alive and well.
Thank you to every candidate who chooses to run for office. It is unimportant if I agree, disagree, or find your position foolish. You have my gratitude for participating, for seeking solutions, and for being willing to sacrifice for the good of the community of Vermont.
Finally I would ask, who should be more embarrassed, Vermont or Florida? http://thinkprogress.org/elect…