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Forum, Oct. 5: Encourage young people to register and vote

Published: 10/4/2021 10:00:05 PM
Modified: 10/4/2021 10:00:05 PM
Encourage young people to register and vote

I recently watched a video of Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressing an international convention of young people on global warming. She was extraordinary, not least in her remarkable command of spoken English, and she properly excoriated today’s political leaders for their lack of serious commitment to a livable future climate.

But Thunberg made a surprising and gaping omission. She neglected to urge young people to vote. Most of them do not, but if they did, they could have a huge impact.

Today, in most places, young people can vote at 18. I am 75, and I could not vote until I was 21. Thus I couldn’t vote in a presidential election until 1968, when I was 22.

But a lot of good that did me. I wasn’t allowed to register to vote in my hometown because I was away at college. I wasn’t allowed to register in my college town because I wasn’t a permanent resident. I eventually borrowed the address of friends who lived in a small town not far from campus, and registered and voted there illegally. I didn’t mark local or state ballot items, but I voted in the presidential election.

I hear young people whine that it is inconvenient or difficult to register to vote. I find it hard to sympathize.

You, dear reader, are probably not young, because apparently young people do not read newspapers. But you may have young friends or family members. If you do, I suggest you point out Greta Thunberg’s omission, and urge them to register and vote.

RICHARD ANDREWS

Springfield, Vt.

CASA needs more volunteers

Court-appointed special advocates are volunteers who help abused and neglected children in New Hampshire courts. I became a CASA five years ago, and it has become the most meaningful and rewarding activity I have found in my retirement. I have always enjoyed working with children, and the promise of working with families in need of help was attractive to me.

My responsibility is for the best interests of the children in a case. I meet with my children at least once a month and attend the family’s court hearings every three months. I prepare written reports for the court that feature updates on the children’s well-being, plus my recommendations. I have consistently been gratified that the judges in my cases have actively sought my opinions and valued my recommendations.

One of my recent cases involved a 10-year-old girl from an Upper Valley town. Her mother was unable to care for her safely, so she was placed under protective services in a foster home. Subsequently, her grandmother moved to town and the girl was placed with her.

From my visits over the course of more than a year, I watched as the girl thrived in the care of her grandmother. I was pleased when the judge accepted my recommendation to grant guardianship to the grandmother while the mother continued her efforts to rebuild her life and rejoin the family.

CASA needs more volunteers. Its goal to represent children in every abuse and neglect case in the state. The opioid epidemic has made that goal a challenge. My work requires five to 10 hours a month for visits and paperwork, with a few additional hours during the first months of a case. I have been greatly rewarded for that time with the relationships I have built. To learn more, register for the upcoming virtual information session on Oct. 27, focused on the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee and Upper Valley Regions, at www.casanh.org/infosessions. If you register and are unable to attend, you will be sent a recording of the session to view at your convenience.

MICHAEL HARRIS

Etna

Claremont should create an arts and culture commission

I’ve been meeting with voters every day to talk about building a Claremont that works for all of us. Often when I talk to someone they mention the Pleasant Street revitalization project, and ask my thoughts. My answer is always the same: I think it’s great for Claremont, but the work doesn’t stop there. The way I see it, Pleasant Street revitalization is just the beginning, because it’s what we do after that really matters.

We launched the revitalization effort to bring new life into our downtown, to invite new business and create space for community.

But we need a multi-faceted approach to achieve that goal. If I am elected to the City Council, I would like to spearhead the formation of an arts and culture commission to continue to build on the progress we are making downtown and help us achieve our ultimate vision.

Other municipalities in New Hampshire have received thousands of dollars in grant funding to collaborate with local artists and beautify their outdoor downtown spaces. It’s time for Claremont to lean into our local art community. With assets like the Claremont MakerSpace and farmers markets, we have a real opportunity to create a vibrant downtown and bolster our creative economy.

By cultivating the aesthetic, artistic and cultural appeal of our public spaces to residents, businesses, visitors and other interested parties, we can increase community and economic development. All while promoting public art by local artists.

Building a Claremont that works for all of us includes fostering a forward-thinking, leading community, and establishing an arts and culture commission does just that.

MATT MOOSHIAN

Claremont

The writer is a candidate for an at-large seat on the Claremont City Council.

Shedding no tears for the unvaccinated

The government is responsible for creating and enforcing the rules of society and public service, such as public safety, health and welfare. Laws have been designed and enforced to protect us. For example, we are not allowed to drink and drive, poison our rivers or air, and more. Freedom is not free. Accessing your right to freedom is offset by accessing my right to freedom. (You can’t randomly kill me, and I can’t randomly kill you.)

I have taken the liberty and tinkered with New Hampshire’s state motto to better reflect reality: “Live free and die.” Yes, people have a right to be free, but do not expect those of us who are vaccinated to shed a tear while those who are not gasp for their last breath of air in a lonely hospital bed.

We are saving our tears for the overworked heath care workers, the at-risk groups of children under 12 and the elderly — those individuals who the unvaccinated could infect and possibly kill due to their self-satisfying right to be free (versus the selflessness to protect the public good). Everyone deserves to be safe.

DOREEN CHAMBERS

Williamstown, Vt.

Group is working to promote a common culture

It’s been a rough couple of years for us all in society. We’re more divided than ever. Controversies bubble up on social media and bubble out into reality, resulting in family members who won’t speak to each other, terminated friendships and uncomfortable workplaces.

As we struggle with issues vital to our society, maybe you’ve seen some attempts at fixing things that don’t seem right to you. Maybe you feel like you’ve been passed over for a promotion because of what you look like. Maybe your children have come home from school and told you that they feel bad because of what they look like. Perhaps you’ve been told to go to a training at work that didn’t feel right to you. Maybe you’ve felt that you’re a unique person, that you’re much more than the group people put you in, but you’ve been afraid to say so.

The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing civil rights and liberties for all Americans, and promoting a common culture based on fairness, understanding and humanity.

To learn more, please reach out to the organization at fairforall.org.

KATIE PARENT

Springfield, N.H.

Armchair experts fall for lies

In my opinion, the armchair hypocrites who believe nobody can do anything right and are incompetent should be talking about their own political party. Donald Trump and his administration of fools and crooks were incompetent.

Sure, by pulling out of Afghanistan we left millions of dollars in equipment behind. Some of it was destroyed. Removing all that junk would have cost millions. Besides, leaving a few vehicles to the Taliban makes it easier to hit them with a rocket. I guess some people think vehicles are more important than human life.

That 20-year conflict was costing U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars a day. Add this up and see what our children will be paying. Corruption was chewing up most of the money — brought on by our own corrupt politicians, both Democrat and Republican, and most of all by large corporations that sell arms not only to the United States but to our enemies. American greed.

Remember when Republican George W. Bush was president? Billions of dollars in cash was sent to Iraq for construction, but it disappeared.

President Joe Biden and his administration are doing a great job but are criticized by armchair experts. If Trump were in charge of the proceedings in Afghanistan, he would be at the table collecting fees from the people. Stop watching news filled with leftover Trump supporters and liars on Russia’s sister propaganda news network. The trouble is, Trump lied so much many think it’s the truth.

ROBERT POLLARD

Enfield




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