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  1. Spoon Agave
    Spoon Agave March 7, 2023 at 11:16 am | | Reply

    Every year we watch as democracy slips further and further out of our reach. And every year we go through this ritual paean in Vermont about Town Meeting serving as our bastion of democracy. In fact about all towns get to decide on is the equipment or features of their town park or common. This is a Dillon’s Rule state, one of the few left in the US. The legislature has almost total control. Basically towns are like the children of the family. They have to go out and earn a little money to pay for a few little things that they want, like a teenager mowing lawns to buy a new video game or bicycle. “In town meeting the people talk about the business that they want to transact.” But the Selectboard wrote the agenda! But, you say, the Selectboard is the voice of the people. Is it? There is an illuminating discussion of this by Joe Sherman in his book about Vermont: Fast Lane on a Dirt Road.
    Here is a suggestion for a future show. Or an entire series of them because each show will raise ten more questions as you yourself begin learning about democracy. What is democracy? What does one see “on the ground,” or what is life like in a democracy? Does life in Vermont reflect a well functioning democracy? After you have begun to gather some understanding of democracy go into the legislature and do some interviews. It’s exceedingly interesting just to hear how people supposedly leading the practice of democracy react to being asked to describe or define the principles upon which they are basing their decisions. What are your feelings at this very moment as I ask these questions?
    The comfortable and well placed assure us at every opportunity that there is nothing we can do about our suffering so keep your mouth shut and don’t ask questions. “It disturbs the white man in his sleep.” (the pithy analysis of the increasing black restiveness in South Africa under apartheid). Questions are divisive, aren’t they? Questioners are just bitter spoilers, aren’t they? Only a curmudgeon would ask, on Christmas Day, if there really can be, given the way we live, peace on earth.

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