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Beartown News




It's time to find something to ban in Vermont

Ed Shamy
Burlington Free Press Staff Writer (with permission)

Every once and again, a guy wakes up in Vermont with a yen to ban something.
We ban wind turbines and lead sinkers. We ban billboards. We ban personal watercraft from some lakes and all exotic animals from Church Street. Vermonters are, by nature, banners.
So what say we have a dumb contest to ban something from Vermont.
Here's the premise of the Banned From Vermont Contest: What's OK in Westchester County is not necessarily OK in Vermont.
We're not 625,000 head of cattle marching in lockstep with the rest of the planet. We don't have to allow everything in Vermont if we don't like some if it.
So nominate something we ought to ban and be prepared to back it up.
The only thing off limits in our contest is people or types of people. We're inclusive equal opportunity banners. Hilariously creative though it would have been, keep your suggestion that we ban flatlanders to yourself. We won't ban them or Republicans or animal rights activists or Yankee fans or anybody else.
Let this be said for Vermont: When we put our heads together to exclude something, we include everybody.
Should we ban cell phones? Why bother? They only work in about 8 percent of Vermont anyhow.
Banning high-speed Internet access would be easy, too. There's hardly any of it.
Ban Aunt Jemima syrup, the faux stuff made from corn? Get a grip. Nothing could be finer.
Tanning booths? This is Vermont, where the sun don't shine. We're pasty from September through May, and we like it that way. Get used to it. You want abundant sunshine, move to Utica.
I'd float a ban on soy milk as a way of paying homage to the dairy industry, but that would annoy a great many people here, so I withdraw the motion.
Here are two starter nominees of potential bannees to prime the pump:
We ban gas-powered leaf blowers. If God had intended us to gather fallen leaves with power tools, he would have made our digestive systems capable of handling two-cycle oil and gasoline. No, by golly, we'll not have our brown leaves gathered by a combustion engine. We want the sound of rake tines scraping over bare dirt and grass clods. Gas-powered leaf blowers turn leaf raking into a noisy, solitary task that pollutes to boot. The Vermont way is quiet, environmentally sane and sociable -- you rake, then you lean on the rake and chat; then you rake some more and you wait for the wind to pick up and carry your problem onto your neighbor's spread.
We ban remote car starters. How in good conscience can we enact laws to prohibit idling, preach from every soapbox about the perils of running an unmoving motor vehicle in this age of post-peak-oil and petro-wars and melting ice caps and still permit the sale of a product that has the sole purpose of starting a car from a distance so that it can idle? Where's the justice, the logic, the sanity?
Chances are you have a better idea -- you always do -- for something that merits banishment from Vermont.
I'm begging you to provide your real name (not your Internet moniker) and your town, city or gore of residence with your entries.
Send along your nominations with your logic, to

Think about this banning idea.  It is only three months until the Beartown annual town meeting.  We must save our heritage and protect our future.  Hopefully this banning idea will be widely accepted. Start brainstorming today!!!


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