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Friday, May 05, 2006

Nameless, Unreasoning, Unjustified Terror - The Wiscasset Newspaper

by Christopher Cooper

I read the rest of the paper too, you know. Oh, sure, I do turn here first. Who among us is so big, so successful, so secure that he or she doesn't need a little of whatever encouragement and gratification might be gleaned from re-reading the weak insights and beer-soaked solutions we cast across the void at our editor two nights ago as dawn scratched at the windowsill? The ego will be fed, however thin the gruel we can stir up in its bowl from our few lines of pulp.
So, yes, here first, unashamedly if pathetically. But I've paid my fifty cents; I'll seek my full measure of reports from the better-balanced zones, where commerce and Christ are both better represented than here in my rickety, swaying gondola, strung on its rusty cable midway between the Tower of Song and the Gates of Hell. It's important to know how the careful, sensible people think, because what they're thinking one day has shown a consistent proclivity for unravelling my dearest supports and fondest enablements the next.
The Wiscasset Newspaper of 27 April brought me an article written by my own Editor Gibbs (she the very same who called me at seven twenty-one in the a.m. Monday demanding I wake up, sober up, and produce and send the paragraphs you now hold). She reported on the town of Wiscasset's experiment with so-called ?referendum voting? as an alternative to and alleged improvement upon the annual and occasional special town meetings that have sustained New England for two hundred years.
In a town meeting form of government, readers in the less favored parts of our nation will need to know, residents meet in their town hall on a (traditionally and properly) miserable day in March, there and then to hear a capable and personable and sometimes disturbingly handsome (here in Alna we may waive some of these requirements from time to time) moderator read however many articles of business their selectmen have asked them to legislate in the warrant by which they called the meeting (ours usually runs to forty-odd considerations). An article is read, debate arises; questions are asked and answered; persons confess their confusion. Some sneer, some laugh, some admit they, too, are baffled. Rarely, accusations of malfeasance are leveled at one or several municipal officers. Only once in thirty years have I seen one person assault another.


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