Friday, April 20, 2012

Three Views of the April 14 Opponent Rally

On Saturday April 14, opponents of Vermont Yankee held a rally on Brattleboro Green.  Here are three views of the rally: Before, during and after.

First: Before the Rally
Opponent leaders were quite optimistic about attendance at the rally.  State Bigwigs were expected.  Governor Shumlin, Attorney General Sorrell, and Senator Sanders were all scheduled to speak at the rally. As a Rutland Herald article stated: "'We are expecting well over 1,000 people,' said DeWalt, while other activists sent out emails Thursday urging people to 'pack the Commons' with upwards of 5,000 people."  (Article by Susan Smallheer of the Rutland Herald, published on April 13 and unfortunately behind a paywall),

Rally organizers said that the Saturday date, the peaceful plans (no arrests), the important speakers, the better weather (than the March 22 rally) and the band--all would lead to a very full and successful rally.

Second: The Rally Itself
About a thousand people came, and this short video by WCAX gives a good view of the rally, including parts of Shumlin, Sanders and Sorrell's speeches.

In one memorable moment, Sanders said that the people who work at Yankee will still have jobs, tearing it down.  (The comments on this video clip run heavily against the statements that these politicians made.)  If you want to hear all the speeches, you can follow the audio links at this Vermont Digger article.

First Hand Report: A friend of mine went to the rally, and she wrote me an email. She said I could excerpt the email for my blog, but she did not want her name used. Here's an excerpt.

Lovely sunny day and the crowd grew to perhaps 1000 by 1PM. At one point, a State Representative from Massachusetts spoke and asked for a show of hands from those who were from Massachusetts. I would say a good third of the crowd raised their hands... The sound system was of very good quality....which makes or breaks these events... (I think) the best way to describe the event, its feel and texture, is ..(to describe some bumper stickers and signs I saw) Bumper stickers: Childhood is a journey not a race. Animal rights are not special rights. Invest in weapons of mass instruction. We the people not we the corporations. All soil is sacred...another sign. This one sign, held high and very visible at the rally, says it all, or very nearly:
Shut down VT Yankee 
Shut down all nukes 
Shut down capitalism.

Third: After the Rally
The politicians made speeches, and they said things that may have been impolitic.

In the Commons, a not-for-profit newspaper in Brattleboro, an editorial encouraged Bernie Sanders to fact-check before he spoke.

Meanwhile, as Governor Shumlin is encouraging Green Mountain Power (owned by a Canadian company) to buy Central Vermont Public Service.  The legislature does not like the terms of the proposed deal, but Shumlin says the legislature should not interfere.

Since Shumlin led the charge on the legislature interfering with Vermont Yankee, Shumlin's recent statements on the subject have led to a bit of snickering, as in this Seven Days article: Populist Governor Peter Shumlin Changes His Mind on Out-of-State Energy.

My Comment: Adoring Crowds

The local politicians, all running for re-election this year, took this opportunity to speak with an adoring crowd. Later press pointed out that their statements were inaccurate and inconsistent.  It was a smaller adoring-crowd than they had hoped for, but perhaps the fervent anti-capitalist tone made up for the few numbers.

Judging by the later press, politicians should note that adoring crowds are dangerous.  You may be tempted to say things you will later regret.    It can happen.


Luke said...

I don't suppose anybody got a photo of the "shut down capitalism" banner, did they?

Meredith Angwin said...

I haven't seen a picture of it yet. Sometimes there's a photo album posted on FB by one of the opponent groups. I will keep an eye out.