Red vs. blue

I find it tough during any campaign to support a Democrat or a Republican. I also find it just as difficult to support one of the many brave third-party candidates who run knowing — at least, I hope they know — they’ll never win. Politics in Vermont, however, is more than blue and red—it’s personal. Leave the comfy realm of Chittenden County and the greater Burlington area, and you’ll find a not-so-liberal side of Vermont: an area populated with more guns and four-wheelers than political posters dotting the landscape. The mainstream candidates for Governor, Democrat Peter Shumlin and Republican Brian Dubie, both have grandiose plans for our humble little state and have exchanged a battle of words good enough for any reality show. Shumlin, the self proclaimed “small-town” candidate with an estimated wealth of more than $10 million, including 17 properties, seven cars and shareholdings in worldwide conglomerates, plans to spend this state into a hole so big it’ll make the Chilean miner’s subterranean experience seem like a weekend in Disney World. He wants to close and let non-violent offenders out of prison — the drug dealers and users, repeat traffic law violators and petty thieves — to pay for his plans, including universal health care. The closure of such facilities, while it relieves taxpayer expenditures, puts Vermonters working at those facilities out of work. Dubie agrees with me, as his plans do not include the closure of prisons but includes other lucrative ideas to cut the budget and make money. Yet some of his plans do not represent, as he claims them to, the opinions of all Vermonters. Dubie plans to keep Vermont Yankee up and running though many Vermonters, especially those living near the plant, have expressed concerns and want the plant shut down in favor of more green and equitable sources of energy. Other ideas include vague job-creating plans. Don’t confuse this Dubie for other ones you’ve become familiar with over your college years, either; Dubie’s against the decriminalization of doobies. Shumlin, however, preying on the young vote, is for it — and like most Democrats hungry for young voters, has blamed Republican control for the state that Vermont is in. A state our “split government,” as Shumlin sees it, created; A “balanced government” in the eyes of Dubie. Shumlin’s campaign is “local” and “old-fashioned” themed, while hitting the major social networking sites for help, too. Dubie’s is more upfront and no-nonsense. As for the other candidates? From the Marijuana Party to Independents, Progressive, and everything in between: Their chances are slim, sadly, and their plans for the state are supported by very few. Third-party politics could survive in a lush political environment such as Vermont, but barely, and are a pipedream for major political races. Politics are politics: a battle of words lofted by the red side or the blue side. Somewhere in the middle lay Vermonters, who, with all their independence, will still elect an elephant or an ass. In the long run, hopefully not an ass.