There is a Time


November 2002


From scripture to song it has often been said: there is a time for every purpose under heaven.


Tuesday is the time to vote.


Voting is to democracy what oxygen is to life, what melody is to music, what passion is to love. You can’t have one without the other.


There can be no excuses. It is time to forget about the incessant, often silly, even more often boring political adds with which we have been bombarded for weeks on end. It is time to set aside the deceptions and half truths that fill the campaign rhetoric from all quarters. It is time to ignore the legitimate intuition that (as Jefferson and DeTocqueville reminded us) the vote alone is not enough to sustain a democratic republic. It is time to disregard the mathematics of one choice tossed into a sea of thousands.


Democracy, like life, has its ups and downs. But as we still breath, we still must vote.


It is time to go to the polls.


We in Vermont (I believe) have a special obligation to vote that extends beyond our own self-interest. For Vermont is (whether we like it or not) the repository of  sacred values that Americans hold dear. From the environment, to civil rights, from a healthy frugality, to a profound stoicism born of tough living on hard ground, from a love of community to a passion for individual liberty, our little state has been a wellspring of hope and indeed comfort for our country. We have been called by many America’s national “homeland – a leader, a shinning example of democracy as it ought to be.


This has been especially true in our commitment to political activism of all kinds from town meeting to our state-wide elections. Political scientists every where are in agreement. Vermont is a national leader in civic consciousness, social capital, and the habit of public involvement.


All over America a specter haunts the land. It is democracy’s most deadly virus.




We see its effects even here in Vermont.


At a time when the polling booth has been made more and more asscessable to more and more citizens, people are voting less and less. American’s are asked only once every for years to spend only a half hour or so to choose the most powerful person on the planet – the person who can do more good or ill than any other person in history. Barely 50% of the eligible voters of this nation take the time to do so.




It is time for Vermonters to step forward – if not for ourselves, if not our beloved state, then for our country.


Let’s show them how it’s done.


If you don’t have the time to vote Tuesday… make the time.