Self Governance in a Diverse Community
I got a little philosophical on the topic of small-town New England democracy for my Patch.com column this week:
At such times, one marvels at the brazen perpetuation of democracy in a society so diverse that even some few dozen square miles contain irreconcilable lives. New England, with its proud tradition of town meetings, raises that dogged practice to the status of an organizing principle. In his classic 1942 painting “Freedom of Speech,” Norman Rockwell portrays a grubby-handed working man standing among his fellow electors at the annual financial meeting of an unidentified Vermont town. The styles of those around him suggest that they inhabit distinct social strata.
As different as the WWII-era lives of the town banker and the dairy farmer may have been, however, they still bore commonalities that technology has largely erased.