Too much democracy?

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Town meeting was jam-packed Monday evening in support of a resolution that wholeheartedly supports the numerous human rights protected by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights and decries the restrictions that are imposed by the recent USA Patriot Act and others. Pro-resolution folks were strictly held to 20 minutes as allotted by the Assembly chair for public participation on non-agenda items and three individuals spoke in favor of the resolution that is now before the assembly's Human Resources Committee.

All presenters did a fine job and one in particular was roundly applauded by those in attendance. Afterward, the chair and assemblyman Anderson voiced their exception with this degree of public enthusiasm and I can only guess the reason was due to a perceived measure of unacceptable meeting protocol.

I can well recall town meetings in New England where public enthusiasm was openly accepted and viewed largely as strong public participation in a truly democratic and strongly individualistic process. Alas, it seems it is this very "protocol" issue and transformation of the individual into a rather "selfless" and totally "manageable" group that the Patriot Act resolution is about.

I do hope this message is ultimately heard loud and clear by the entire Assembly.

Alan R. Munro


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