Thursday, Dec. 28: An Affront to Our Democracy

Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Growth, No; Fairness, Yes

Over and over during the debate about the tax bill that passed last week, I heard about how much the economy would grow and how good that would be.

Everyone seems to believe that growth is a good thing. Grow the economy. Grow the economy. The larger the growth percentage, the better off we are.

I disagree. We collectively have enough stuff. Growth should be no larger than the population growth. What we need is not more, but a fairer distribution, more to the workers and less to the stockholders. More to those who need and less to those who already have.

Stephen Neirman

East Thetford

An Affront to Democracy

It is time for a serious discussion of the latest Republican effort to bar students from voting in New Hampshire. HB 372 is coming up for a vote in early January, and as of now it appears to have sufficient GOP support to pass. It is a terrible bill, apparently creating a new form of poll tax applicable to college students who are “domiciled” in New Hampshire but who do not choose to get driver’s licenses or car registrations here. The bill requires students to be “residents” if they want to vote, and to get a license and register their car within 60 days of becoming a “resident.” The fees incident to those auto-related actions constitute the poll tax, because they are imposed by the state incident to exercising the right to vote.

This is almost certainly unconstitutional, but it is much, much worse than that. Voting, some Republicans like to say, is a “privilege” here in New Hampshire. It is not. It is at least a “right,” and many of us would say it is a “duty.” Republican legislators are trying to block our students from exercising their right to vote by scaring them off with fees. The GOP’s motive is simple: Young people don’t vote for Republicans.

If young people liked the political offerings of the GOP, does anyone think the effort to disenfranchise them would be galloping through the Legislature? Intimidating student voters is only a good idea if the political party doing it can’t earn positive support by putting forward attractive ideas.

Why should we be concerned? First, our status as the first-in-the-nation primary state won’t last long if younger voters are shut out. Second, we are an aging population. Our young people are leaving and not coming back. As a state we do very little to support the the University of New Hampshire. By forcing students out of the polling places, Republicans will only accelerate the process of their departure. It’s time we put a stop to this terrible travesty.

It’s time to make the GOP learn that, in a democracy, they must “win” the votes of the people, not disenfranchise the voters.

Peter Hoe Burling

Former House Democratic Leader, state senator and member of the Democratic National Committee


Dubious Sources for Information 

There seems to be a common characteristic to the letters to the editor of this newspaper. Most writers appear to be greatly under the influence of the corporate mainstream media. That's a shame. It's also a mystery to me. The mass media is fake news — left, right and center. It's no more than public relations for the agenda of corporate and political interests; the war-mongers who rule the earth. It boggles the mind that such corrupt official sources could still be regarded as reliable. Please turn off your televisions. Think for yourselves. 

Neil Meliment


A Useful Comparison to Our North 

I will respond to Anthony Stimson's most recent piece of snark (“Of Intelligence and Guns,” Dec. 21) in which, as usual, he regards all — and I mean all — who have differing opinions from his as either unstable or imbecilic.

Last fall, I was at a hunting lodge in New Brunswick (you see, having owned several guns at a time since I got my first at 9, I advocate no exhaustive ban). The owner of the lodge, whose success for generations has clearly depended upon revenue from moose, bear, deer and bird hunting, asked me on the second night, "Why do you people need guns designed to kill lots of people at a time?"

This was the night of the hideous Las Vegas shooting, which, by the way, would scarcely have been affected had any number of "good people with guns" been on hand.

I had no answer. You can own guns in Canada: they have to be under lock and key in one part of your dwelling, the ammunition ditto in another. Outrageous! An infringement of freedom! But Mr. Stimson and others might want to compare murder rates of our northern neighbor to ours. But hey, I'm just a stupid guy. What do I know?

Sydney Lea

Newbury, Vt.