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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An American Crossroads

Oakhenge_3 Finally, eh?

The big day.

The citizens of the United States of America will be electing new leaders - senators and congressmen, governors and lieutenant governors and more.

Democracy’s greatest moment.

This is the radical human right of citizenship that Ethan Allen and the boys, and their families, fought for, went to prison for, and died for.

Now one can “blog” about it while the votes are being cast and counted.

Or stretch one's legs with a stroll down by "Oakhenge,"  the newly-erected Stonehenge-like Earth Clock by Blanchard Beach adjacent to Oakledge Park on the Burlington shoreline. It's intended to be a  Circle for Peace.

Nice to see "peace" getting a plug for a change, eh?

I'm sure our troops in Iraq would appreciate it. The troops waiting to go to Iraq. And the people of Iraq, too?

Surely, "Supporting Our Troops" does require more than affixing a fake yellow-ribbon to one's gas-guzzling global-warmer, doesn't it?  Requires more than quietly accepting the outrageous lies of a regime hell-bent on an invasion? A White House determined to - under no circumstances - let the truth get in the way of their policy?

Yes, it has been scary. Through the electoral process, our government was captured by crooks, liars and thieves. Incompetent crooks, liars and thieves.

If Oakhenge reminds us of anything, it's that we Homo sapiens have been on this spinning rock for quite some time. The golden rule is that what goes around comes around. There must be accountability. Without justice, there can be no peace.

The twentysomethings (and some thirtysomethings), that I've met during this 2006 Vermont political campaign understand that. I have not had children, but this crew would be my kids' age if I did. Their parents were my contemporaries. I sense a comfortable familiarity. It's more than just a game to them. After a rather long absence, my old 1960s hope for a brighter day has been steadily returning in recent months.

This new 40-foot-wide Burlington stone circle (Barre granite), is being built to create a beautiful spot for personal reflection and contemplation. It'll also be a wonderful educational class-outing for school children. The stones mark the solstice and equinox sunsets and much more. You see, these folks have the "radical" and ancient idea that "inner peace/inner strength can be restored by the simple witness of the rhythms of nature."

Yes, indeed, there was knowledge before laptops and Blackberries.

Happy Election Day 2006!

Do your thing and do check in, will ya?

Thoughts from around the state, the nation and the planet.

Imagine Thomas Jefferson with a laptop?


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Paddington Bear

Just after 7am, District 3-9, voting at South Burlington Chamberlain School--quite crowded. The usual clot of supporters outside-a few Tarrant supporters, some for Welch. None, oddly enough, for Bernie. And of course, Sonny Audette on his lawn chair, big smile, Hellos for everyone, asking for their support for his run for Justice of the Peace and state rep. from Chittenden-3-9.

The markers ran out of ink in a lot of the voting booths, and this was in the first hour or so of voting. Good banana cake on sale by the 5th grade, just inside the main doors.


Very much looking forward to voting this afternoon and staying up late watching the results come in from across the country. I take the day off after elections on purpose :) Confident the Dems will take the house...not so sure about the Senate.


Yet another superb photo Peter. Keep them coming.

As far as voting goes, I already did so yesterday via absentee ballot.



When I was at the Montpelier City Clerk's office filling out my absentee ballot yesterday (Monday, 11/6), there were at least four other people I noticed who came to vote by absentee ballot during the time I was there as well. Not bad.

Peter Brownell

In Williston at 7:00 this morning the line was longer than I have ever seen it (certainly for a mid term election) though it moved very smoothly and very quickly. As I drove down to Montpelier to work, a plane was circling over the city towing a huge "Jim Parker for State Senate" banner. Novel approach :-)


In 1968, my wife and I had 'stick-on' flowers on the sides of our Impala and our hopes were with Gene McCarthy. Today, my wife is 'observing' at the polls reporting using pre-printed, perforated forms that will be used moments later by a huge, energized get-out-the-vote phonebank at the Barre Labor Hall.

There is a significant difference. Not only has Governor Dean established an enormous, well orchestrated infra-structure for getting-out-the-vote, but also the DNC has created a valuable outlet for channelling the individual volunteer commitment of hundreds of thousands of activists into more votes.

Thank you, Howard Dean

Make no mistake, this effort -no matter the outcome- is a dress rehersal for 2008.

Jonathan Cummings

Thanks for keeping me close to home even though I'm all the way across the continent Peter. Being in graduate school in Canada can make the election feel far away and less meaningful in the grand scheme of things. Stay up to date on the Vermont news brings me home and keeps the democracy in me. Being in Vancouver I hope to know the dems did it before bed so get out the vote Vermont! Voted absentee long ago now. Keep Vermont green, I want it to still be home when I get back in 3 or 4 years.
Jonathan Cummings


I voted around 9 a.m. this morning and it was pretty busy at the Ward 5 BED polling location. No lines, but most if not all the stations inside were filled with voters!


Essex had 2,387 absentee ballots requested. That is about 16% of registered voters. The polls are busy.

Erik Filkorn

Just came in from Richmond and the traffic at the polls was non-stop. Lined up out the door at 7AM. Guessing over 1,100 ballots (including absentees) in so far.


Voted in Underhill this AM (7:20) and there was a huge line. The town clerk told someone behind me that people started getting there at 6AM!


I encourage anybody who stops by here today to join in an interesting experiment in civic participation by going to Exit Voices.

Here's the description from the About page...

Exit Voices is a place for Burlington voters to share their thoughts and concerns about the people and issues on the ballot. On election day, this blog serves as an online coffee shop where citizens can discuss Vermont politics. All are welcome to participate. Exit Voices is a joint collaboration between CCTV Center for Media and Democracy, Vermont Community Access Media and Candleblog.

The Exit Voices crew (that would be Bill Simmon) is also asking that if you have a blog of your own that you cross-post any of your blog entries on election day in the comments section there. This applies to comments made here on Freyne Land, too, of course.

As Bill said via email: "Ideally, we would like to use Exit Voices as an aggregator of Vermont political blog posts as well as make it a place for non-bloggers to congregate and discuss the elections."


An election official told me that over 1/3 of the registered voters in Huntington, including absentees, had cast their ballots by 9:00 AM today.


Lines have been very steady at the SB Middle School this am, according to the workers I talked to when I went to vote...hope that continues throughout the day, and that we have a record is so easy for us to vote, so it is easy not to strong are those in other countries that have to worry about their personal safety when voting, yet proudly do, and then display an inked thumb for all to see...glad you set up your blog,'re on my home page...

Mark Peal

I voted in Waitsfield a little before noon. Surprised that no one's campaign had anyone out front. Inside, there was no line, but the booths were busier than I'm accustomed to seeing. And the voter list had lots of names already highlighted out. It's been busy.


We had our ballots faxed to us here in Central America—(no doubt a first for our town clerk) one of us promptly made a big mistake –(actually voted for Tarrant!!) So we had to get her to fax another ballot —we then overnighted them back –(ok it cost us $43 to vote) they actually went from here to our very rural tiny town in less than 24 hours—amazing what fed ex can do. I echo the comments of the guy who’s in Canada—reading this blog has made me feel connected to VT and what’s going on there politically— the local papers are basically very lame—thanks also for the great photos—

Karen B

Just voted in beautiful Bristol. Tons of signs outside, but just a lone Rainville supporter at the door. My kids--who have been playing the Bernie game (counting roadsigns) for months--wanted to see his name on the ballot. I showed them.

It's just a waiting game now. My fingers are crossed...


Go Tarrant!!!


Voted in Underhill. No line at all. Not that it mattered, I would have waited all day to vote for Bernie.

I love today. Nov 7th should be a holiday like the 4th.


The first national election result was just posted on, and it's calling (you guessed it) Bernie Sanders as winning VT-Senate. That's as of 7:13pm. I guess they had to at least wait until the polls close before declaring the obvious. Sorry fake Kyle.

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