Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Voting on the school budget - Fancy News in Springfield, Vermont

Today, Springfield, Vermont, the Official Home of the Simpsons, was also the Home of the Direct Vote, a time-honored tradition that unfortunately has elsewhere begun to fade away - overshadowed as it is by the higher profile of so-called "representative government" (a system that is rumored to suffer from direct manipulation, allegedly by such things as lobbying organizations and other predatory entities that are designed only to suck the wealth, energy, and very lifeblood of a community of free people, allegedly at the behest of a class or segment that feels entitled to do so, predatory entities that certainly lost no time in springing into being concurrently with the developement of the system known as "representative democracy", if in fact they were not the very designers and promoters of such a bold usurpation to begin with - or so they say, what say you, dear reader?).

The local school budget is being voted on today, and the citizenry is out in numbers to give each his or her yea or nay on the issues, all two of them, and befitting the moment of the occasion, members of the big city press were in attendance to witness and report - the "Rutland Herald" for example.

The voting was held in the Dressel Gymnasium at Riverside Middle School. Arriving at the school, one is first met in the drive by the group of teenagers who flag down passing motorists and show the way to the voting. Passing through the same school doors as the school kids, the voter might feel a strange sensation that could be written off as the remembering school days past, but the sensation might just as easily be like the sense of awe and wonder felt on entering a special place of sober ritual - not as a mere observer or interloper but as a participant. The walk continues, taking the voter down the hall and past a class in session full of people who will shortly inherit a strange new world, past the plaque that memorializes Mr. Dressel, and on to the court of the World Reknowned Cosmos, where the poling attendants have arranged the paperwork and procedures which comprise the voting experience.

In observing the exercise, it was interesting to see old friends or neighbors call out pleasant greetings to each other, some perhaps not having seen each other since the snows began last year. Many were white-headed, voters and poling attendants alike, but the crowd was overall a fair representation of all ages (both babies and elders were present) and of all voters in this small community of some five thousand registered voters, a healthy turnout to be sure.
It is as Yankee, as American, as it gets, to exercise the right and enjoy the privilege of the direct vote, to vote everyone on whatever local wrinkle that needs attention, and when the time comes to take advantage of modern communication technologies to finally have direct voting on more weighty or national questions, Springfield, Vermont, will be a clear and living example of the direct vote, very much the essence of true democracy in stark contrast to the shell game that would supplant it.