Mon Feb 27, 2012, 04:11 AM
flamingdem (33,788 posts)
Locals fear that their language will be one of the things robbed if too many flatlanders come to stay within the borders of Vermont. Sonny Davis, one of the Vermonters interviewed for the piece, expressed his fears about flatlanders to Ferdinand by saying, “I kinda feel like a strang-uh in mah own town, I guess. It’s pretty sad, because we’re goin’ to sound like New Jersey.”
Vermont made national headlines in 1998 when a flatlander tried to run for Senate under the Republican Party, and lost. Jack McMullen, a one-year resident of Vermont, tried to win the Republican nomination to run against Senator Leahy for Senate. McMullen, the millionaire, lost to Fred Tuttle, then a 79 year old retired farmer. The farmer, with a 10th grade education and a spending budget of $201, beat the Harvard educated McMullen, who spent $475,000 on his campaign. In the often comical debates, McMullen was exposed as an outsider, a person who didn’t know the state he was trying to win very well. Tuttle asked him in one debate how to pronounce the Vermont town of Calais. McMullen answered it by pronouncing it in the French way (cah-lay) instead of how Vermonters say it, (cah-las). It was clear McMullen didn’t know the state. For what reason did Tuttle win? The simple fact that Tuttle is a native Vermonter, and McMullen a flatlander. McMullen tried to buy his way through the campaign, but Vermonters saw through his ideas. When voting time came, Tuttle won 55% of the primary vote, and putting the farmer into a Senatorial race. Tuttle’s win sent a message nationwide, Vermonters would not be bought over by a flatlander, and would much rather have a retired farmer in the senate. Surprised by the win, Tuttle laughed and lamented he would never want to move to Washington, D.C. so he urged Vermonters to vote for Leahy. Tuttle’s job was done, and he could go back to his farm.
Within local politics, the Vermont Senate in January 2001 deliberated on the topic of flatlanders. Dr. William Bloom had made significant contributions to the state, but unfortunately, he was born in New York. The Senate, wanting to bestow upon him an award, deliberated to see if he could become an honorary Vermonter. The Vermont Senate agreed to extend him the privilege of being an honorary Vermonter, but first released this statement:
Whereas, individuals who were born in the Green Mountain State are rightfully proud of their special status as native Vermonters, and Whereas, while a flatlander may reside in Vermont for nearly an entire lifetime, and make an indelible contribution to the quality of life in this state, a flatlander still has not earned the right to be called a native Vermonter
It is clear, that on all levels in Vermont, this subject is taken seriously, even in the Senate.
Young and in love, I underestimated the implications that my being a flatlander would have on my decision to marry into a Vermont family. But soon, I learned that the word “flatlander” had nothing to do with the fact that I came from the less mountainous state of Massachusetts. Flatlanders are, in simplest terms, people who may live in Vermont but were not born here. They do not talk like Vermonters. They do not think like Vermonters. And, worst of all, their fumbling attempts to act like Vermonters—by wearing carefully ironed L.L. bean plaid shirts or misusing phrases like “Jeezum crow!”—invoke the ridicule of real Vermonters, who don’t tolerate pretension among their own and sure as hell won’t put up with it from some outsider.
3 replies, 1731 views
Flatlanders (Original post)
Response to flamingdem (Original post)
Mon Feb 27, 2012, 09:33 AM
enough (8,979 posts)
1. Will there come a time when "newcomers" outnumber cardcarrying natives?
I live in a rural area that has seen a steady influx of development over the last 30 years. There came a point when us old-timers realized we were completely and permanently outnumbered. The nature of the place had changed. The funny thing is, a lot of the oldtimers have moved lock stock and barrel to Vermont.
I don't know anything about Vermont's demographics. Will the natives stay firmly in control?
Response to flamingdem (Original post)
Wed Feb 29, 2012, 04:37 PM
handmade34 (13,642 posts)
3. times change... evolve
I have family in Vermont going back a couple hundred years... I was born in Michigan but returned to Vermont 30+ years ago... flatlanders? awhh... change is a part of life and there is ignorance in Vermont just as there is in other places. Most rural places are pretty tribal and still depend on money to survive????
"Sheep farming was so dominant in Vermont that in the late 1800’s, it was estimated that 70 percent of the land was cleared, mostly for
farming and sheep pastures. With the demise of the sheep, many of Vermont’s hillsides reverted to woodland... Today, Vermont has 1,026 dairy farms, down from more than 6,000 in 1965 (Vermont Agency of Agriculture 2010)..." and we are losing more dairy farms every year...