Forum, Feb. 26: Don’t Weaken N.H. Electoral System

Sunday, February 25, 2018
Don’t Weaken N.H. Voting System

As a New Hampshire citizen, I am very concerned about the misleading and inaccurate claims made after the 2016 election of “busloads of illegal voters” in our state. Since that election, using nonexistent voter fraud as a justification, there has been a series of legislative efforts to restrict the rights of legitimate voters. I find this disturbing.

I’m particularly concerned about the impact of HB 372 and HB 1264 on people who live in New Hampshire but use out-of-state driver’s licenses for identification. New teachers hired by local schools and colleges for a temporary term, as well as students studying at colleges and graduate programs throughout the state, will be disinclined to vote because of the requirement that they obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and car registration. The cost and logistics of doing so would constitute a deterrent to voting.

When I was in school and then in my first job, I barely had enough money to scrape by. I did not own a car. Asking people at that stage of life to pay for a driver’s license and car registration in exchange for the right to vote places a real burden on them. It also makes them feel excluded from the community they are part of. This is not the attitude we want our first-in-the-nation state to become known for.

Many of these people are active participants in community affairs. They volunteer in our schools, hospitals and soup kitchens, work for local employers, spend money in local stores, pay rent to local landlords. We should encourage their participation in our electoral politics as well.

I have written to Gov. Chris Sununu, calling on him to support democracy in our state by following through on his word and vetoing HB 372 and HB 1264. Rather than introducing bills that restrict and complicate the rights of eligible voters, our state representatives should pass legislation to implement online voter registration and secure data transfer to strengthen and safeguard our election system.

Clyde Watson


An Opportunity to Make a Choice

Celebrating Black History Month during the Donald Trump presidency is bittersweet. Bitter in the knowledge that white Americans could be so ignorant and careless of guarding the civil rights for which their ancestors fought. And sweet in knowing even a brief survey of African-American history provides a window into the richest aspects of American cultural achievement.

Make no mistake, though, every racist or xenophobic innuendo coming from the White House causes lasting damage. Recent immigrants and Americans of color feel the threat keenly and add that experience to their historical knowledge of America and its white majority.

In his 1967 book, Where Do We Go From Here, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice. ... They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.”

Today white people might examine what that vanity and self-deception has wrought — not just in terms of race relations but in threats to civil rights in general and our standing in the world.

Despite its disastrous incompetence, the Trump presidency provides a real opportunity. Our generation should see a clear choice of the kind of America we want going forward. Will we be a nation of people who care about each other and see our differences in a positive light, or one that jealously guards the crumbs of financial success at the expense of rights for others and the rights of our own progeny?

For most of my life, the U.S. has been a beacon for hope and justice throughout the world. Despite our original sin of slavery and the systemic racism that’s followed in its wake for over a century, our ideals have slowly steered us toward a more just society. The forsaking of those ideals will be the legacy of this generation unless we act individually and together to change course. Are we willing to work for the dream?

James Graham


Where Is the Outrage?

Imagine if Barack Obama had paid $130,000 in hush money to a porn star. Where is the outrage among evangelicals who continue to support the repulsive sexual predator now inhabiting the White House?

John Lajoie


Ideas for the President’s Parade

I think that it’s a fine idea to have that parade to demonstrate U.S. strength, but I don’t think that the president is thinking big enough.

My suggestion is that the military’s tanks, missiles and rocket launchers lead the way, followed by heavily armed civilians carrying semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks and other constitutionally protected firepower that keeps us safe every day in our schools, workplaces and houses of worship.

The marchers in the back of the parade can look forward to the day when a proper interpretation of the Second Amendment allows private citizens to own the types of weaponry on display in the front of the parade. Then America will really be great.

Ron Eberhardt


But Soft! More Shakespeare Reading

“Wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful!” My colleagues and I were pleased to read the article about the Shakespeare Reading Group at the Morrill Memorial and Harris Library in Strafford (“Playtime With the Bard: Shakespeare’s Language Transports a Reading Group,” Feb. 9).

However, we feel that we must point out that we have been reading Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets at the Proctor Library in Ascutney since 2014! In fact, Ariel must be working his magic, because we are also currently reading The Tempest. We would love to get together with the Strafford group for a reading, but anyone is welcome to join us. (For more information, call 802-674-2863 or e-mail weathersfieldproctorlibrary@gmail.org.) We start our evenings with tongue twisters and other actors’ exercises for warming up our voices. Then we read and discuss the plays, figuring out difficult passages and critiquing clips from movies and filmed stage versions.

Just as those in Strafford have discovered, Shakespeare’s work affords us the opportunity to find a “brave new world … that has such people in it.”

Patti Arrison