Tuesday, September 23, 2008

democracy is not pretty

We went to a special town meeting tonight.... and they were certainly accurate in naming it 'special'! Six articles, approximately 50 people, a new, not very good moderator, and the same question asked a bazillion times over again got us out of there in two and a half hours. It was brutal. It was ugly. People left mad. But out of the 1000? 500? registered voters in town (I really have no idea how many voters we have) 5o of us showed up and made some decisions. At one point our speaking selectman said something about "the great turnout" and I almost jumped out of my chair. Are you even kidding me? That's minimally 1 in 10 represented, probably closer to 1 in 20. If I was giving it a grade we'd be thrilled to get a 10-- which is definitely failing! What is it going to take to get Americans to just go vote? Getting rid of town meeting certainly helps-- 300 voted in the referendum last summer. But even that was a low turnout. How do I convince my government students that voting is where the power lies? Yes, it's inconvenient but it is part of our job. Just do it. Suck it up, buttercup. Whatever works for you, but stand up and be counted!

(How long will it take me to calm down tonight? I'm betting I'll be full on exhausted by Friday...)


hoyden said...

My CT (the god and my idol of all things pedagogical) teaches his government students that voting is the *least* important thing you can do to get involved. (Which doesn't mean that he doesn't advocate voting.)

But each year his seniors have to somehow get involved in the May election -- by volunteering for a campaign, talking to parents, teachers, students, or strangers about the election (they research the election for weeks prior), or some other activity that connects them with people and the election. It's pretty cool.

I'm glad you are involved enough to attend the meeting. (How crazy that you live in a town small enough to have a real-live town meeting!) Maybe the other 450-950 registered voters in your town need to go back to high school with my CT.

And just think of the power you wield as a town-meeting attendee. I'd kill for that kind of control!

SJ said...

Sorry Rach, this fellow Peru resident had an away field hockey game or else she would have been there. I know, sorry excuse but it is true, do I need a note from my Mom or the office?

phenomemom said...

ok, first of all.. about your brother.. SUCK. I hope he doesn't re-injure everything all over again.

Also.. voting.. I feel pretty lucky.. living in a college town, there is a STRONG vibe of "politically informed" everywhere you go. It's nice.

Going to specials.. let me get this straight. Is she being yelled at by a teacher, or by another student?

phenomemom said...

lol. yes, I heard about the costumes. She did indeed sound pretty darn excited. :)

rach :) said...

no notes needed.... I've had to miss town meetings before, and sometimes because I just can't take the up close and personal nature of democracy in action!

She's not being yelled at in specials-- other kids are and my super sensitive kids take in super personally. Conversation held with said teacher, things are better now. phew.