Northern New England town meetings usually take place on the first Tuesday in March, just before mud season. Roads are on the agenda, also fire station leaky roofs, town taxes, and, in Vermont, George Bush. At last count 38 towns there have voted to investigate and possibly impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Half of them also voted to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.

In Jamaica, Vt., former selectperson Joe Grannis says it was easy to find the 40 voter signatures (5 percent of the adult population) required to publish the resolutions in the “Warning” for the upcoming town meeting. In previous years Grannis and friends gathered signatures for resolutions for universal health care and against the Patriot Act, which passed. This time they knew who to go to.

(A selectperson — formerly a “selectman” — belongs to a selectboard, the town committee elected to execute measures passed at the yearly town meetings.)

According to Grannis, “The administration proceeds as if we had not had a recent national election that delivered a message, in this case on Iraq. We have to use the town meeting to send the message even more clearly.” The impeachment resolution passed 2 to 1 after citizen Ed Flower spoke up to denounce Bush as an “imperialistic president who doesn’t listen to the will of the people. I think the time has come to stand up and be counted.”

The voters also unanimously passed a resolution advising the president and Congress that Jamaica voters “support the men and women serving … in Iraq and believe that the best way to support them is to bring each and every one of them home now.” It added: “And take care of them when they get home.”

Grannis said voters think impeachment is needed because Bush and his administration lied about dangers posed by Iraq, abused and tortured prisoners in violation of the Constitution and international law, and carried out illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Some Bush apologists dismiss complaints from Vermonters as far removed from the U.S. mainstream. They are said to go by a “different drummer.” After all, theirs was an independent nation in 1777–1791, and Bernie Saunders, a self-described socialist, served eight terms in Congress and is now a U.S. senator.

atwhit @ megalink.net

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