Local Democrats must act after the debacle of the 2022 Farmington Annual Town Meeting. In this meeting we saw the future of the local Republican Party, their total contempt for democratic processes, and the naked power of mob rule. Indeed, the only things missing were lit torches and pitchforks. Using taxes as their excuse, local Republicans did everything they could to bankrupt the town of Farmington. Efforts of the Republicans to seize control of the meeting included delaying progress of the meeting by forcing a pledge of allegiance. (Democrats did not burst into flames at this invocation of conservative sorcery.) Republicans also tried to shout down or cut off those who spoke in favor of the Selectors’ budget. Above all, why did these two dissident Selectors make these proposed cuts? We have no idea what they cut, and why. (Perhaps to “own the Libs”?) There were no explanations: they only sought to deflect such questions and give excuses.
Republicans are learning a dangerous tactic: develop an opposing agenda/budget in secret, and then hijack local municipal meetings to vote for this “shadow budget.” Witness the Maine State Republican Convention collapsing into a chaotic mess as Q-Anon fanatics hijacked the party platform by this secret agenda process, all the while bellowing, “The power of the people!” Future Republican gatherings will be as fragmented and divisive, as repeated attempts of Republican mob rule will stymie any conservative progress. In this boiling mass of deluded political fantasies and mass hysteria, Republicans holding extreme views will rise to the top, ready to be skimmed off by wealthy mega-donors. Expect a rise in the sales of popcorn as we watch the spectacle of local Republicans fighting for control of the county party, drunk on their recent success of crippling the town’s government. No one will trust the Republicans now: they have trampled down our local institutions for temporary political gain.
Liberals and Democrats must take action in our upcoming elections to elect Democratic candidates to help prevent the implosion of our local democracy. The time for dialogue is over. If we do not act to elect representatives who are responsive and responsible to the needs of the people of Farmington, the Republican mob rule will rampage on.
Jennings, William D.
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