Talk about empty gestures
Activists in Vermont want to condemn the Iraq war and demand that US troops leave Iraq. Oddly enough, the war is winding down to the point that many of them may be able to leave soon for the right reasons.
The Vermont resolutions grew out of a peace rally in late 2004. A few activists now working as the Vermont Network on Iraq War Resolutions decided Town Meeting Day was an ideal venue for debate, says Montpelier attorney Ben Scotch. He crafted the resolution template, discarding 19 drafts before settling on the wording, though each town can modify its own resolution.I guess some of the old hippies from Yasgar's farm must have headed north and settled in up there in maple syrup country.
His proposal has three parts. It calls on the Vermont state legislature to establish a commission to examine how National Guard deployments are affecting state readiness. It asks the state's congressional delegation to work to restore a proper federal and state balance over Guard units. And it implores both the president and Congress to take steps to withdraw American troops from Iraq.
Since the state does not control National Guard deployments, and because the resolutions are legally nonbinding, they have no real teeth. But they have symbolic potential. Five percent of the voters in towns had to sign a petition to put it on the agenda.
Not everyone is in favor of the move, however.
Yet if their opinions are separated by the one main road in town, no one expects views Tuesday to be as neatly divided. Becky Cozzens, who teaches kindergarten, says she's already changed her mind. Had Town Meeting Day been three months ago, when her son, Josh, was still in Iraq, when she and her husband refused to turn on their television set, she'd have voted for anything that might get him home sooner.At least some of them have the good sense to realize that the outcome is justifying the initial decision.
But at the meeting Tuesday, she will vote "no." "I'm unsure about the way it started," she says of the war. But Josh has convinced her that a no vote is the right thing to do. "A year ago," she says, "it would have been different."