priated for streetlights. The sum wasrn$2,000. At first it may not seem hkernmuch to argue about, but there havernbeen $50 items in the town budgetrnwhieh have eaused heated debate. Thernuneharitable might say that fights arernaKvays the bitterest when the stakes arernthe lowest. I would respond by sayingrnthat at least here the voters get to sayrnhow their money is spent, unlike in thernstate or federal budgets or even in townsrnin those states where there is no townrnmeeting.rnThe controversy was over who benefitedrnfrom the streetlights. The majority ofrnthe lights are located in Guildhall itself,rnaround the town common. Most residentsrnof Guildhall, however, like mostrnrural towns, are scattered throughout therntownship on country roads, which havernno streetlights at all. Most of the peoplernwould not want them anyway. A fewrnstreetlights are at intersections, but thatrnis the extent of the town’s public lighting.rnAfter much debate among a few interestedrnparties—the rest of us wishingrnthey would move on—it was decidedrnthat streetlights in the village did benefitrnthe town as a whole by illuminating arnrather sharp corner as well as showing offrnand protecting the town and countyrnbuildings. The rest of the budget wasrnsubjected to scrutiny as well, but did notrncause such interesting debate as thernstreetlight controversy.rnToward the end of the meeting, twornitems on the warning, seemingly minorrnand unconnected at first, caused a furorrnthat I can only describe as hopeful. Thernfirst item was a proposal to elect town officersrnby “Australian ballot.” The secondrnitem concerned a possible bicycle andrnwalking path along Route 102. To many,rnthe objection to “Australian ballots” willrnbe immediately evident. It has beenrncalled the death knell of active voter participationrnand of town meetings in manyrncommunities. The election of town officersrnis what draws the most people to therntown meeting; without it, voter turnoutrnwould be lower than it is already. Thisrnwas pointed out by many people, peoplernwho obviously cared about the institutionrnof town meeting, and when thernvotes were cast, the vast majority of usrnvoted against expedience and went withrntradition.rnThe second item I mentioned concernedrna bike path to be put along Routern102, the main highway through therntown. The path was to be made withrnstate and federal funds. Just why the federalrngovernment is spending money onrnbike paths is unclear. Perhaps this is Vermont’srnreward for its cowardly surrenderrnto the Department of Transportation onrnthe seatbelt issue several years ago, inrncontrast to neighboring New Hampshire,rnwhieh still keeps its dignity to this day byrnnot passing a mandatory seatbelt law. Inrnany ease, all the town was being asked torndo was give its nod to the study beingrndone on the bike path. When it wouldrnbe done, or whether the town wouldrnhave to contribute money, was not specified.rnThe whole thing seemed absurd,rnespecially federal funds toward such arnproject. Guildhall decided that theyrnwould give no aid nor nod of approval tornthis project. It could end at the town linernand continue on the other side for all werncared, though in actuality the path, if approvedrnby the state, would probably berncompleted no matter what we decided.rnThe town was still going to try to maintainrnsome kind of control, or at least notrncooperate while Montpelier and Washingtonrndecided what our roads wouldrnlook like. Just as with the “Australian ballot”rnquestion, the voters agreed to keeprnas much direct power as possible, even inrna seemingly minor matter.rnThe meeting ends around 11:00 P.M.,rnand home I will go to sit again by thernwoodstove with my father and aunt. Werndiscuss the events of the evening and enjoyrnthe heat of the stove. I will not gornback to the Budington area until the nextrnmorning, for the abundance of moose inrnnorthern Vermont has made night drivingrnespecially dangerous. Not anxious tornleave, I am glad for this chance to sit andrnreflect, still a citizen and free, despite thernbest efforts of politicians and bureaucrats.rnArthur F. McGrath 111 writes fromrnWinooski.rnGREAT TOPICS, GREAT ISSUESrnInhuman Rights—^August 1996—William R. Hawknrnon the World Trade Organization, Srdja Trifkovic on tfrnHague Tribunal, Marshall DeRosa on the war on nationsrnsovereignty, and Bill Weber on suicide and states’ rightsrnPlus Thomas Fleming’s review of George Garrett’s ThernKing of Babylon Shall Not Come Against You andrnNicholas Stix’s crime stories from New York Gity.rnBattles of the Books—Septemberrn1996—Thomas Fleming on the latestrnassault on the classics, Zbigniew I lerbert on thernsignificance of T.S. Eliot, George Garrett on the legacyrnof Shakespeare, George Watson on the multiculturalistrncase, and Harold O.J. Brown on the Bible past andrnpresent. Plus essays on abolishing compulsory schoolrnattendance laws and on tlie dirty facts aboutrncollege admissions.rnSex, Sin, and Science—October 1996 —Philip Jenkinrnon the “one in ten” myth about homosexuals, Janet ScottrnBarlow on the pseudoseicnce of therapy, Thomas Szaszrnon the bogus justifications for neonatal circumcision, andrnTomislav Sunic on drugs and democracy. Plus SrdjarnTrifkovic’s review of David Owen’s Balkan Odyssey andrna report on the so-called “holocaust” of black churches.rn1 to 4 issues $6.00 each; 5 to 9 issues $3.50 each;rn10 or more issues $2.50 each (postage and handling included)rnTo order by phone call 1-800-397-8160 or mail with check to:rnChronicles * 934 North Main Street * Rockford, IL 61103rnNOVEMBER 1996/43rnrnrn