The following is an excerpt from some replies I made on an FBIbook thread. I want to share them here in part to also mention an invitation to discuss Town Meeting more deeply. you will see the invitation at the end.
…Without making any claims about whether or not we came up with the right or wrong answers, overall I believe the decisions (at this year’s Representative Town Meeting) closely reflected the knowledge, experience and traditions of this town meeting and its attendees. The citizens in this exercise of democracy gave a very honest, sincere and respectful rendering of what they knew and what was in their hearts. There was a very powerful sense of community present. Not all of it evaporates at the end when we scatter. A few of the new people will have left feeling like they have drawn closer to their neighbors. They will feel a stronger sense of belonging and responsibility. There are good reasons that many people return for ten and twenty and thirty years. In this way Representative Town Meeting is invaluable.
For most all of the near two hundred people that participate or are present for RTM there is unusual focus on what will, is and has happened on that day from eight in the morning until bedtime. It is a very stimulating, and, in turn, sometimes exciting, heartwarming, exasperating and exhausting. Does such a day have to occur only once a year? Is the meeting itself as good as it can be? Is democracy expressed or employed as effectively as we’d like to believe? Or as effectively as we want? Are there things in our particular procedures or traditions that push us in ways we don’t realize towards certain outcomes?
These are relevant and fascinating questions that are ripe for discussion. They are questions about democracy, democratic principles and elements and applied democratic procedure. They are questions about community. About social fabric and tradition.
With these questions in mind I am INVITING EVERYONE particularly Town Reps, to an informal discussion at my house on SUNDAY, APRIL 8th, after one pm. It would be nice to know in advance if you plan to show up but you’re welcome to drop in unannounced. If you’re inclined to bring along a coffee cake type nosh please do. If there’s reason to believe a good number will show up I’ll have a very big pot of coffee available. 145 Green St. Park in the school lot.