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Forum, May 13: Put democracy back in the hands of everyday citizens

Published: 5/12/2021 10:00:05 PM
Modified: 5/12/2021 10:00:03 PM
Put democracy back in the hands of everyday citizens

When my mother was born, in 1919, she was a citizen who didn’t have the right to vote. My sister and I were the first females in my immediate family who were born with the right to vote in our own country. My mother believed that every American who is eligible to do so should vote in their local, regional and federal election cycles as soon as they reached eligible age. American history has shown us that many citizens have not been allowed to vote because of their race, gender, disability or even age. Our present election system does not facilitate a problem-free voting process for many.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner and Gov. Chris Sununu are wrong by not supporting the For the People Act. If the act is passed, it will put the power of democracy back in the hands of everyday citizens and push back on the influence of ultra-wealthy donors. A poll commissioned by End Citizens United and the Let America Vote Action Fund and conducted by Global Strategy Group and ALG Research found that more than 80% of Americans support the For the People Act, including nearly three-quarters of Republicans.

The For the People Act establishes federal elections as a national holiday, allowing all citizens to vote without missing work. The act creates a fair redistricting process with the creation of an independent redistricting commission. It designs nationwide standards for voting and assures safe and accessible elections. Finally, it guarantees voting access to all.

It’s almost unbelievable that in one of the most modern and affluent countries in the world, citizens have to struggle to exercise their right to vote. To read the text of the bill, visit www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1/text.

Please contact your federal elected representatives and ask them to support the For the People Act (H.R. 1 and S. 1). If we are truly a democracy, let’s stand up and support this important piece of legislation.

JUDITH KAUFMAN

Cornish

The writer is chair of the Sullivan County Democratic Committee.

The Upper Valley has art; what we need is housing

In reference to Northern Stage evicting tenants (“Exeunt tenants, April 18): Well, heck. Performative social concern is the Upper Valley’s best-loved script, isn’t it?

With our thespian friends specializing in art as metaphor for life, here’s a suggestion for a story worth telling, suitable for all ages — a theatrical adaptation of the children’s book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH: With her landlord asserting his rights of eminent domain, our protagonist must pack up and move fast. But she’s got a sick kid in danger of dying if she does, and the whole family’s going to be savaged into bloody bits if she doesn’t. Strangers come to the rescue, despite their own desperate circumstances, but there’s plenty of tragedy still to ensue.

Am I comparing a handful of field mice fleeing the farmer’s plow to a few of our neighbors shoved out of their apartments by a wretched landlord?

Yeah, I am. The agony and terror of homelessness is universal across species. To inflict that on anyone for petty and self-absorbed reasons is a monstrous cruelty.

I’ve been homeless, or facing its imminent possibility, at a few different times in my life, and I guarantee it leaves indelible scars. You tend to save packing materials because you know that life can change in an instant. You never again believe a rented domicile can ever become truly your home.

We’re not starved in the Upper Valley for artistic access, but we’re desperate for good, safe, attractive, genuinely affordable and conveniently situated housing.

But Northern Stage’s action fits right in with the ethos of this community. A letter-writer once decried the building of workforce housing in Lebanon because it was going to make his regular trips to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center perhaps a little longer. Did he think elves and fairies administer his medical care and maintain the services that keep the institution running?

But that sort of worldview festers here like ticks on deer. The management of Northern Stage knows any outrage at its actions will ultimately cost nothing.

SARAH CRYSL AKHTAR

Lebanon




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