“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence”. ~ Vermont saying
Vermonters are pretty monosyllabic people as a whole. Conversations with natural born Vermonters are pretty one-sided on the non-native’s part. Difficult in fact to call it a conversation. Vermonters are, as a whole, a people of very little words. Unless of course, they have something to say. Something important. Something that needs to be said. Evidently today, when Vermont wanted to talk, a whole nation listened. Today, Vermont’s junior senator Bernie Sanders took to the floor of the United States Senate at 10:25 this morning and delivered a speech very specifically setting forth why he was not in favor of the Obama tax compromise for approximately eight and one-half hours. Called a filibuster by some, an impassioned speech on behalf of the voice of down-to-earth America by others, Mr. Sanders impressed a lot of people and became quite the Twitter sensation. If you had the opportunity to peek in at the Twitter feed this afternoon – Vermont and Bernie Sanders were getting an awful lot of attention.
The man, who is neither Republican or Democrat, (he is in fact a Socialist) stood up for 8 1/2 hours and laid out reasons why he thought the Obama tax compromise that the Senate will vote on shortly, was wrong and was bad for this country and its people. He spoke….at length… and a great many people around the country listened.
Unlike others who have gone before him, he chose not to speak just for the sake of speaking (like those filibusters where the telephone book, an encyclopedia or a dictionary are read, just to kill time), in true Vermonter fashion he spoke because he had something to say – to tell his side of the story, his version of what is wrong and what needs to be done – and by doing so he won the hearts of a great many Americans.
Despite which side of the fence you are on – remembering that Sanders is neither Democrat or Republican – it was engaging to listen to him. He begged, he pleaded, he urged Americans to take up the fight and call, email, write – contact their representatives and voice their dissatisfaction. He took the opportunity to throw out statistics, read letters from constituents (his own and others), relay stories about daily life in Vermont and how what happens in Washington impacts the people – remember us? The ones that the government is by and for…you remember that little ditty don’t you, big old government?
I know that people scoff at the Vermont Seccession movement with remarks like “really?” “they think they could do that?” …maybe tonight people realize that while the state may be little,with a population less than one county in the State where I came from, it can make a statement when it wants to and maybe it’s saying something that a lot of people feel…maybe Washington and the country better watch out.
Vermonters tonight are standing just a little taller…proud of their choice in Congress. Good speech, Mr. Sanders – you improved the silence.
- Watch The Bernie Sanders Filibuster Live (buzzfeed.com)
- Sen. Bernie Sanders, American Hero (slog.thestranger.com)
- The significance of Bernie Sanders’ filibuster | Michael Tomasky (guardian.co.uk)
- Bernie Sanders: ‘I Will Do Whatever I Can’ To Block Tax Cut Deal (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Vermonters left cold by Obama tax move (politico.com)