Sunday, November 14, 2010
A coward dies a 1,000 deaths...
So after twenty years of enduring the "purest form of Democracy" in the People's Republic, one of the many things that drove me crazy about Amherst Town Meeting is fairly apparent here if you turn up the volume.
After twenty minutes in wasted preaching Town Meeting comes to a voice vote on Article 14, "Bring the War Dollars Home." Notice how surprisingly competitive the "No" vote initially sounds?
Yet when it came time to stand and be counted, more than a few of the "No" voters played it safe and stayed seated.
Also note the official 74-32 vote does not add up to a quorum (128); and even with the ten or 15 "No" voters who abstained during the standing count (and counting the Moderator and Town Manager) they would still be shy the total amount required.
Notice too, at the very last second, a Town Meeting member questions the quorum to longtime Czar--I mean Moderator--Harrison Gregg, who simply shrugs it off.
But if that same member had used a "point of order" to question a quorum five minutes earlier, Town Meeting would need to quit for the night or get the constable to go out and beat the bushes to bring a bunch of them back to the room.
Fred Hartwell gets the line of the night. Speaking against the naive resolution (while predicting it would pass 3-1) he sagaciously pointed out: "Ironically, this vote only has significance if it should fail."