Vermont is called the most rural state because the highest percentage of its residents lives in small towns and rural settings. Today is the day when this dispersed but civic-minded populace meets in schools and town halls throughout the state to take care of local business. Town Meeting Day is both ordinary and extraordinary — as commonplace as the town's road salt budget, as meaningful as democracy itself.
One should not underestimate the importance of what to the outsider looks totally mundane. Veterans of town meeting know how townspeople can tie themselves into knots discussing issues that seem small but which are intimately tied to local personalities and to long histories of controversy. Voters are not making decisions in the abstract; rather, they are working out a town's complex and all too human history.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Town Meeting Day!
From A town meeting lesson, an editorial in today's Rutland Herald: