David Markland: Refutes article on ‘inclusive government’

Thursday, August 10, 2017

In reference to Ted Parker’s article about the “Possibility of Inclusive Government” (June 30), someone please find me a government in the United States that accurately reflects the population as a whole. You will be hard-pressed to find one.

You simply have to look at our highest levels of government, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, to see that it doesn’t work that way. Or at the lowest level, our elected Amherst Select Board, for example — all white with an average age of 60. And all five are homeowners, by the way.

A town council will likely be no different. How many people with young children and full time jobs can find time to participate in town government? The answer unfortunately is very few. It is an imperfect world. Ted Parker should know this.

Representative Town Meeting is a subset of Open Town Meeting. It’s not meant to be “representative” in the traditional sense of the word. It is a representation of the town as a whole, a sample size. And in that light, as evidenced by their most recent votes, it is working exactly the way it’s supposed to, whether you like it or not.

And yes, Mr. Parker, Town Meeting members are supposed to vote their conscience. That is the whole point. In fact, it is their duty. They are “members,” not “representatives.” The fact that Ted Parker doesn’t know this is either alarmingly disappointing or sadly disingenuous. I suspect that a 240 member Representative Town Meeting does not suit Ted Parker’s agenda, or the agenda of other like-minded real estate developers.

David Markland