Today was town meeting. This is democracy in its most elemental form. We chose who will represent us, who will work in our government and how we’ll spend our money. After considerable question and discussion we approved the purchase of a new larger grader to better maintain our roads. A heavier grader will better be able to dig into the dirt and the old grader was getting, well, old. We heard reports from our legislators who represent us in the capital – Montpelier. We heard from several town committees. Pies were on hand to raise money for the 8th grade.
When we left the meeting our youngest son, Ben, asked why we go. I explained: We are in a small town of about 950 people. 86 showed up to town meeting and set the budget. These few people determined how the money will be taxed and spent. That represents about 10% of the eligible voters. Holly and I both went and voted. That means our votes counted for ten people each or our family got 20 votes effectively. The school budget passed by 2 votes at 46 to 44. This means that 0.2% of the town voters cast the deciding votes on a $2,000,000 line item. That is a lot of spending power for so few people. Only 5.34% of our town voted to approve an enormous amount of money. This is democracy. Most people are apathetic. I said to Ben, “show up and be counted because the people who were there made a difference.”
“Our government is the best government in the world but it is not the best government it could be.”
29째F/8째F, Dusting of snow, Sunny