I have just returned from the Wardsboro Town Meeting and my faith in local government has been amply rewarded. With the very capable moderating of Dr. Robert Backus, who reminded us that the very format of the meeting was a tribute to our forefathers from over two centuries ago, we routinely passed a modest budget, elected our officials for the upcoming year, and, in a variety of ways, thanked our officials and volunteers for jobs very well done in service to this little burg.
As I drove home listening to the latest gloom on the radio about our national and state economic woes, I was struck by the contrast with the just-concluded local legislative action. We also were given state legislative news by our representative, John Moran, at the Town Meeting. As he did last year, he told us that he was working hard on property tax reform. And as most of us did last year, we smiled politely knowing almost certainly that nothing will change. Mr. Moran did not mention the gay marriage bill so I asked him about it. He said, proudly, that not only would he be voting yes if it comes up, he was also a co-sponsor of the bill. I wondered out loud what our forefathers might think if they knew that in 2009 our legislators were thinking of allowing men to marry each other.
At the national level we now have a president and Congress that are close to pushing the country off a financial cliff – from which we may not recover in our lifetime. Of course, your readers will now repeat in unison, “George Bush’s fault.” Let me say, in response, that Bush’s war on terror will pale in comparison to what is now happening in Washington. Obama and his Democratic Congress, by bailing out the failures and punishing the successful, are bombing us into socialized oblivion. I only wish that my neighbors and I had a chance to ask a few pointed questions of this president at a Town Meeting. I have the feeling that even this very glib politician might not fare well when up against a couple of seasoned Vermonters.
To end on a positive note, the good Wardsboro folk did stare down a nutty proposal from The Brattleboro Reformer clan to recommend immediate closure of Vermont Yankee. It wasn’t that hard. We simply asked of the proposers where would we then get our power from, and what hard evidence was there of a safety concern in light of the federal regulatory approval of the operation?
Here’s to another couple of centuries of solving problems at Town Meeting.