Category Archives: Democracy

Vermonters Embrace Local Democracy via FPF and Town Meeting Day

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 by No comments yet

Even as extremism and disinformation have pushed their way into political discourse across the United States over the past several years, Vermonters continue to use Front Porch Forum to engage in constructive conversation leading up to Town Meeting Day and local elections. 

Here are some recent unsolicited FPF postings from various parts of the state:

  • “As a born-and-bred Vermonter recently returning to the state after 40 years of military and government service, I stand in awe as an observer of the vibrant discourse leading up to today and of the democratic process kept alive by the good citizens of Calais. … Today was my first town meeting, and I’m almost 60 years old. We are honored to finally get to join you. So regardless of who wins or loses today, please be thankful that you have a democratic process to be part of and a way of life worth fighting for. I can tell you that the majority of the people in our country can’t conceive of this level of belonging.”
    – Ross in Calais
  • “I am very impressed with the extent of the debate about reviving our local police force, whether for or against. This is a public forum, and I have learned a lot by reading the opinions of others. This is America, and ideally we should approach issues with civility and respect. Kudos to all who have expressed their insights in like fashion.”
    – Nancy in Randolph
  • “I would like to express appreciation to the moderators of Front Porch Forum. You have been the gatekeepers of civil discourse among neighbors passionately exercising their freedom of speech.”
    – Joan in South Hero
  • “On the eve of Town Meeting I’m reminded once more of the countless hours our Town Clerk and members of the Selectboard have given to Calais these past years, and, in some cases, decades. Many thanks to them all as well as to the incoming group.”
    – Nel in Calais
  • “FPF is doing us a valuable public service by publishing [these] letters. It lowers candidates’ costs so that it is not only the wealthy that can successfully run for office. It informs voters about the issues involved and where each candidate stands on those issues. It also serves to keep candidates honest or at least on their toes by pointing out missteps – normal campaign protocol. Finally, it is only a short period of time that this happens prior to elections. That is how democracy works.”
    – Raymond in South Burlington
  • “This is way better than putting signs everywhere. It’s actually green, as compared to signs. Please vote, I do appreciate the sentiments for your candidates. Voting, if you have not, allows you to complain… all the best!”
    – Dahan in Grand Isle

The highest “stump” for our communities

Posted on Monday, March 1, 2021 by No comments yet

Town Meeting Day brings out conversation between neighbors on FPF.

“Thank you FPF Member Support for your clarification and endorsement of political discussion. I have no ‘dog in this fight’ but think the Reading election discussion is totally fascinating. I have enjoyed reading all the posts and if I didn’t, I simply wouldn’t. I almost can’t wait for the next installment. You all are exerting your democratic rights of free speech. And, what a great place we all have for doing that very thing – Front Porch Forum. FPF the highest “stump” for our communities and available for all to express their views on most issues. CHEERS to all the contributors on all sides of the discussion and thank you FPF for being there.” • Neil in Brownsville

It looks like it is that time of year again, when we start seeing/reading heated discussions here on FPF. As your neighbor I would like to stress , as I have in the past, we are in this together. We all need to take a few minutes, calm our thoughts, and remember that most people want to do the right thing. We also should remember that we all make mistakes, no one ever learns anything without them. The key is to understand what went wrong, learn from it, and become a better person. I love living on this Island, and it is not only the location that I love, its also the community that is around me. It’s time to be respectful to one another, because “We are in this together.”  • Matthew in Grand Isle

“I wanted to write and thank FPF for moderating our town bulletin board. The world seems like it has changed so much over the past few years…but I guess there have always been tough conversations to have about how certain people share in public. It must be incredibly challenging for you all to make decisions on what content to ban. Your platform has brought towns together in such a lovely way, and I appreciate the way it connects us in rural Vermont.” • Mary in Underhill

It’s election season!

Posted on Monday, September 14, 2020 by No comments yet

Many are using Front Porch Forum to discuss political issues and candidates.

“There is no other source for local information about candidates, issues, and budgets that is free. I’m glad there are no memes here, no trolling for the sake of argument, but I deeply value the access to local issues, challenges, opinions, and endorsements of local candidates for office. Civil discourse is valuable. Let’s keep the emphasis on Civil as we continue the discourse.”  • Wade in Brandon, Vt.

“If, as stated, FPF is about connecting, then it should be more than just a community bulletin board. Someone said that there are plenty of other forums for political discussion. True, but by the same token there are also plenty of other places to let people know that you have extra puzzles or vegetable starts to give away. As long as we keep things civil and respectful there’s nothing wrong with an exchange of differing viewpoints. And those who don’t wish to read something are perfectly free to skip over it.”  • Lisa in Brattleboro, Vt.

“A forum is, among other things, a site for discussion. If we can’t air our differences, how can we ever resolve them? For that matter, can we really understand issues, local or otherwise, if we don’t discuss them, if we view them only monocularly, through the single lens of our own parochial points of view? What safer place to air one’s views than FPF, where tempers are necessarily tempered by the relative quiet of written speech? And what better way to organize and solidify one’s thoughts, to familiarize oneself with one’s own views, than to write them down in coherent sentences? Write on!” • Keith in So. Hero, Vt.

I would say that the idea of Front Porch Forum is to replicate the idea of sitting on the front porch and discussing what is going on in the world–near and far. I don’t think that a forum is only for looking for lost pets or selling tires. The definition of a forum is a place where people can exchange ideas, like being a libertarian, discussing the issues of the day, announcing area activities, and looking for lost pets and selling tires. Whatever people used to do on their front porch. I find discussions on the forum to be interesting and thought provoking. Obviously I don’t always agree but my horizons are broadened, causing me to at least think about things that otherwise would not be brought to my attention. If you don’t like the political stuff, don’t read it, but appreciate the fact that you can read about Odin, 225-65-17’s for sale and that the farmer’s market has moved in doors and all sorts of other things. I encourage people to put their thoughts and ideas out there for others to think about. At least we’re having a discussion with our neighbors about things that matter.” • Thomas in Roxbury, Vt.