During this week’s presidential impeachment hearings before the House Judiciary Committee, California Republican congressman Tom McClintock excoriated Democrats for holding President Trump accountable to the rule of law.
“Democracy only works because the losing side always respects the will of the voters,” McClintock said.
“The moment that social compact breaks down, democracy collapses into chaos,” said McClintock.
Regardless of what one thinks about the impeachment hearings over whether President Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress (and he did), or even Representative McClintock, his words are thought provoking.
Those words are thought provoking beyond Washington, DC. They are relevant in our community. With rare exceptions, the results of our local elections and votes are respected. Those rare exceptions might be when a vote is extremely close and a revote is statutorily mandated.
In April, the Waitsfield Select Board voted 3-2 to continue working toward a three-town local option tax with Warren and Fayston by creating a tri-town negotiating committee. Since that time there’s been a persistent but not overt effort to undo that vote and or subsequent votes that advance that tri-town plan. That April vote and those that followed, by the way, represented the will of the voters in electing members to the select board.
At the Harwood Unified Union School District Board level, it’s hard to say whether there’s any attempt to use repeat votes to overturn the results of previous votes.
Things are so fraught and complicated at the school board level and board members are doing yeoman’s work that it is difficult and emotional. The board froze intradistrict choice and rejected a plan to send all seventh- and eighth-graders to Crossett Brook Middle School next September, but a failure to properly warn the intradistrict choice vote led to another vote last week where it was unfrozen. This week the board will vote again on the plan to send all seventh- and eighth-graders to Crossett Brook next fall.
At the school board level, some of this revoting is housekeeping, but some of it feels indecisive and not necessarily appropriate.
Votes, decisions and elections have consequences. There are winners and losers every single time. We need to be as respectful of those consequences locally as we do nationally.