To the editor:
Westport’s Annual Town Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, at 9 a.m. in the Westport High School auditorium. I look forward to seeing those of you who found weekday night meetings difficult because of early work on weekdays, childcare issues, discomfort with night driving, etc.
The youth baseball league has courteously cancelled their schedule for the day. Babysitters will be easier to find on a Saturday. In other words, the excuses you have been using to skip Town Meeting are gone. It’s time to show up.
Is Town Meeting fun? No. Entertaining? Only occasionally. Boring? Often. Frustrating? Consistently. It is the painstakingly slow and inefficient process of democratic decision-making that inspired the Winston Churchill quote, “Democracy is the worst form of government there is, except for all the others that have been tried.”
But as citizens of a New England town, you are among the last people on earth free to participate in a true direct democratic government. Your state and local governments are representative democracies in which you elect people to represent your viewpoint and then compete for the attention of those representatives with somewhere between tens of thousands (state representatives) and millions (U.S. senators) of other voters, many of them whom have vastly more attention-getting resources than you do. At Town Meeting you speak for yourself. Your opinion matters. Your vote counts exactly as much as everyone else’s.
Good government has a cost, not only financially, but in time and energy spent understanding issues and participating in decisions. I want good government and I assume you do too. Please take a few hours to attend Town Meeting, share your opinions and help us make the decisions that will determine what kind of town Westport becomes. I can’t promise you a lot of fun, but I can promise you the satisfaction of knowing you did right by your community.
Want to learn more about issues, procedures, etc. so you are ready to participate fully? Visit the website at www.westportownmeeting.com or the Westport Town Meeting Facebook page.
See you May 3.
Steven Fors, D.C.