Let the beast roar
Editor of the Reformer:
Several letters to the editor recently have indicated dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy in Brattleboro. Specifically the Town Meeting Representative body has been declared unrepresentative (Barber, March 23). Somehow, the voice of the people has been lost; representatives have said openly that they vote according to their own personal agenda (Russell, March 24). In March of 2015 a town-wide vote defeated several proposed amendments to the town charter, intended to enhance democratic procedures in Brattleboro; (full disclosure — I did some canvassing work in support of those amendments). That the democratic system is malfunctioning, is not surprising.
At the time of the founding of our nation, in a debate with Thomas Jefferson who expressed confidence in the voice of the people, Alexander Hamilton replied, "Your people, Sir, is the Beast." Hamilton declared that the general populace, the Beast, had to be controlled. The philosophical descendants of Hamilton are still with us; an entrenched power structure to control civic affairs; an entrenched power structure to control the Beast.
Control of the Beast is of paramount importance to the ruling elite. Democracy can be thwarted even in a supposedly democratic system. The repeal of the Voting Rights Act demonstrates this. Both major political parties are concerned as to who nominates the Supreme Court replacement for Antonin Scalia because they well know that the Court is a part of the power structure; a bunch of political hacks whose opinions will be match the opinions of those who are already in control; certainly not the Beast. Why are there super-delegates who vote their personal agenda, thwarting the voice of the people? 86 percent of Vermonters supported Bernie in the primary; Patrick Leahy will not as a super-delegate. The Beast, nationwide, is being controlled. The Beast is being controlled in Brattleboro as well. The voice of the people is not being heard. Who are the Hamiltonian descendants in Brattleboro? Do you know any of them? The sleeping Beast needs to wake up.
Only some 15 percent of the eligible Brattleboro voters voted in March 2015 and many more people signed the petition to get democratic amendments on the ballot than actually showed up to vote for them; the message is clear. To overturn the entrenched power structure, it is necessary for the Beast to vote. If the same group shows up to vote, year after year, nothing will change. The Beast will be controlled. But, if, from the other 85%, those show up who value the voice of the people, the tide will turn. We can do it! A government run by an entrenched power-structure is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy. Our oligarchy is winning by default. Support town-wide votes on major issues; and show up to vote. Support the Beast; allow the Beast to overcome opposition; allow the Beast to govern Brattleboro. Power to the People!.
Ken McCaffrey, Brattleboro, March 31