Exclusive to STR
March 7, 2007
As I sit and write this, it's Town Meeting Day here in Vermont . I don't know if there's any similar custom where you live, but annually, this is the day when many Vermonters go to town hall in order to discuss and debate political hot-potato issues ranging from whether or not a certain local back road should be paved, to what the consensus is as to impeaching "Dubya." In fact, more and more in recent years, Town Meeting Day has been used to bring forth subjects of national -- and even international -- prominence, as opposed to simply whether or not the local library needs a new roof, or if the hours at the dump ought to change. Some examples are abortion, the environment, gun control, and the war in Iraq . It's a sea change that has a perfectly rational explanation: As government grimly fulfills its manifest destiny by ever expanding in all directions at the federal and state levels, it just as inexorably becomes disconnected to the very people it was created in the first place to "serve." Federally, in fact, things are now bloated to the point of being on automatic pilot, stoppable only by way of full-scale economic collapse or out-and-out revolution (peaceful or otherwise). It should come as no surprise that those who are still thinking inside the box (i.e., are still deluded into thinking that government possesses any value or merit whatsoever) should want to use a far more accessible forum such as Town Meeting Day to make their voices heard.
I must admit part of me wants to attend today. Why? I've been inspired for some time by a brainchild of radio host and filmmaker Alex Jones, who suggested a scant few years ago that just such forums at a town, city, or county level might be used in order to throw out the provisions of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act.
An excerpt from Mr. Jones' successful bid to do just that before the Austin , Texas , city council appears in his 2004 DVD video, American Dictators. In essence, he forcefully calls upon these councilmen and women to recognize the bills of rights, both federal and state, as the supreme law, and to reject the Act as a gross violation of same (which of course, we know it is). Not only did this idea succeed in Austin , it has now been duplicated in nearly 500 towns and cities across the country ( Brattleboro , Vermont , being one of them), and in four states. Minarchistic, yes, but not half bad for all of that.
So why don't I march myself down to Town Hall today? It would, after all, be both fun and gratifying to publicly denounce, bit by bit, such a Neocon abomination as the "PATRIOT" Act. It would, no doubt, ingratiate me to a healthy percentage of the gathered crowd as I stood and ripped apart the Bush administration and the weak-kneed Republocrat Congress that gave him a rubber stamp in the frenzied wake of 9/11; a Congress which never even bothered to read what they'd just passed. It would swell me with satisfaction to walk those in attendance through just how this travesty in turn led to Iraq . . . and is likely leading to Iran and Syria . I feel confident, in fact, that if only here in this tiny, sparsely populated neck of the woods in Vermont, I could get such a resolution passed -- perhaps even to a standing ovation.
This is, after all, not an actual Election Day, when those still held in government's thrall decide just who shall steal their property and control their lives for another two years. Were that the case, I'm sure I'd be in good company with most Strike The Root readers when I say that instead of casting any ballot, I would instead choose to perhaps cast a line into a local brook and go trout fishing. Or read a book. Or paint a picture, play a musical instrument, pig out on Chinese food at a restaurant. Take in a movie, drink beer, or make love to a good-looking woman. Just about anything, in fact, besides vote.
So what's the problem? Why not just . . . do it?
* Like voting, it legitimizes government -- the very institution responsible for my grievances in the first place. No libertarian, much less anarchist, should ever make a distinction, ultimately, between large and small government. They are beasts of equal savagery.
* Like voting, it's a monumental waste of my time. As illustrated, I choose to utilize that time (something we mortals all possess in painfully limited quantity) engaged in something constructive. Getting any government to agree with my views and make a more than likely hollow promise to abide by them just doesn't qualify.
* One bumper sticker which never fails to make me laugh is the one that says: YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE! Whoever authored that absurd slogan is cordially invited to speak for themselves. I'm exercising my voice right now; as a writer, I do it all the time. And in fact, I'd be more than willing to bet that it'll be "heard" by far more people than any "vote" I might cast, and by more even than those who might bother to show up at Town Hall today. Certainly, it has the potential for a more far-reaching effect, as does the way in which we freedom-lovers live our day to day lives.
Town Meeting Day might be a long-standing tradition in Vermont , but I'm far more enthused by the possibilities presented by sedition--the collapse of the State's very underpinnings altogether. And toward that end, Town Meeting Day does have one agreeable feature: Most Vermont state agencies are closed today. Would that this were true everywhere, on every day.