Friday, May 18, 2001
What are you doing next Tuesday?
As if last November's Presidential election and subsequent antics weren't enough proof that every vote counts, last Tuesday night's Town Meeting reinforced that lesson. Two separate votes were decided only by the narrowest of margins. Both dealt with Article 23, which proposed changes to the Wetland Bylaw. In the first vote, which proposed an amendment to the article suggested by the selectmen, the vote looked so close that the counters were called in. Their results showed the vote to be a tie (when was the last time you saw something like that at a Carlisle Town Meeting?) The moderator had to cast the deciding vote, in this case for the amendment. To make matters even more dramatic, the moderator at this point was not our elected moderator Sarah Brophy, but substitute moderator Ralph Anderson, who stepped in when Brophy recused herself from the discussion of the article.
Next, after lengthy debate, came the vote for the article itself. Once again the counters were called in because it was too close to eyeball. Sure enough, when Article 23 failed, it was by the narrowest of margins80 no to 78 yes.
All of which goes to show how important every single vote is in our town. I can only wonder what the people who supported the bylaw change but felt too tired to go to Town Meeting must feel at this outcome. So, when next Tuesday's election rolls around, and you're thinking how inconvenient it might be to have to stop at the Town Hall to vote before or after work or sports or school, give a thought to how you would feel if an issue you supported fell short by one vote. Have no doubt; your vote counts
Shield of Dreams
My liberal friends are outraged, of course. They don't much like anything the Bush Administration is doing, from drilling for oil in the Arctic to scuttling rules limiting arsenic in our drinking water. And building a missile defense shield to defend our shores against rogue nations is way beyond the pale as far as they're concerned. Much to my friends' dismay, I say let's cut 'em some slack on this issue. It's an idea with some potential.
I'll be honest; the arguments against a missile defense shield are pretty good. Not becauseas some claimscience is incapable of designing interceptors that can seek and destroy moving targets. Eventually they'll get it right. And not because countermeasures, like dummy missiles, will render it obsolete before it's built. We'll simply build more missiles and knock down the dummies too. And not because our allies think it's a stupid idea. When's the last time we actually cared what the French think? Or them us, for that matter.
No, the defense shield won't work simply because we're deploying on too grand a scale. Shields only work in smaller confines . . . like my backyard. That's one place that could really use a defense shield.
Now don't misunderstand me. It's not like I feel a need to protect myself against my neighbors. For the most part we've lived in relative comity for the last seven years. They don't have loud raucous parties. Their car alarms almost never go off after midnight. And they don't keep goats in the backyard . . . as far as I know. But I do have one complaint, and that's where a shield would come in handy.
When we built our house, I personally spread a dense carpet of grass seed on four inches of freshly imported loam. I nurtured the sprouts daily with water until they had formed a verdant grassy swath. And I swear on a stack of Home Gardener magazines, the first spring there was not a dandelion to be seen among the virile green blades. But every year since then, these ugly yellow-topped weeds have appeared in early May in increasing numbers, to the point where my lawn currently resembles something Dorothy and the Scarecrow should be dancing down on their way to Oz. Since I live right on the cusp of a wetland, chemical defenses are unsuitable and my only recourse is to dig out the nasty buggers a task right up there on my hate list alongside hand-waxing a B1 bomber.
Where did these dandelions come from? As far as I can figure, it had to be the neighbors' yards. Now, I could take an aggressive stand and threaten to send something equally noxious their way, like clover, but that wouldn't be neighborly. Likewise, I could try negotiating a non-proliferation weed treaty, agreeing to contain my clover in return for promises to keep their dandelions under control. But my monitoring capabilities don't extend beyond easily visible portions of their lawns, and dandelion seeds can blow hundreds of yards in the wind. Besides, negotiating is so . . . so . . . wimpy. That leaves me with only two alternatives: proactive seed interception or a very sore back.
So if Dubya and company really want to help me out, they'd work on a dandelion defense shield and save their missile defense plans to blow the next budget surplus on . . . assuming we survive the arsenic, that is.
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