The American

The name American is much more then the designation of people of a common nation. This grand identity of a person’s proper allegiance and of embraced affinity should also render (by its very utterance) the attendance of one who embodies an unwavering loyalty to the noble promises of human liberty.

From time to time it may appear the American has lost his way. Yet, liberty will never loose her way. The steadfast standing that fights off the bondage of any oppressor’s yoke is found deep in the very make-up of those designed for liberty by an almighty God.

In these days of so much turmoil it will be the American who - having done all there is to do - will still stand. The American will stand for freedom; we will stand for justice; and we will stand for dignity for all oppressed people. Life, liberty and all other decent dreams need not be achieved through violent ends. Rather, the durability of these ends is best garnered by following truthful, revered and peaceable paths.

Without any fear or trepidation, as is befitting the high ideal of such a nation, as we collect ourselves from the tumult of a world seemingly in chaos, let it be our resolve to right ourselves as we continue on our eternal course towards Godly pursuits. By confronting all social, economic and political exploitation, with truth; void of greed; by saying no to what is wrong and yes to what is right, we will find the strength that is intended in the American name.

An answer for Chip

I was recently asked by Chip Marce, “What is your plan for actually improving the state of education in New Hampshire, rather than simply spending more money on it.”

 A proper answer on my part must begin with me making it clear that I have no specific plan per se; rather I see a critical need to reform our methods and increase our commitment to education.  I will address the need to act momentarily, but first I must strongly state that without more financial resources (spending) allocated to education no meaningful reform is possible.  Therefore, I am for spending more on education as one of the tools available.  Second, it is of paramount importance that we realize that without a proper (not adequate) educated populace the United States of America  cannot survive as a nation committed to the ideals which produces the hope - and subsequent fulfillment - to pursue and enjoy what has been historically described as “The American Dream.”

Like many, I have been a witness to the social and cultural changes in our world since the early 1950s.  Certain facts, along with the myriad of pressing issues and the explosive advancements in science and technology can seem overwhelming.  At the same time we can take a look at antiquity and recent history to find the help we need to mold the future.  I will not attempt to link all of that to this particular answer at this time, except to say that I have always found the most difficult task of any decision maker is to identify the right questions to ask.

For me, I have found that there are just two primary questions to ask that will lead into meaningful debates which can lead to meaningful civic action.  One of those question is, “How committed are we to providing a proper education to our grandchildren?” (Please note I have carefully included precise words in this question.  Any changes or modification of it makes it a question I am not asking.)

What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright.” – Samuel Gompers, early 20th century labor leader

I include Gompers quote since I personally embrace his views as stated.  In Coos County New Hampshire some people have come to celebrate the construction of federal and state prisons while in Conway there is a significant push to shutdown and abandon existing elementary schools.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population, but we have more than 25% of the world’s prison population.  There are more people in prison in America than there are in all of China’s prison.   The American human population is 316 million. China’s human population is 1.3 billion.  At the same time our nations ranking, as it pertains to education, which at one time was the envy of the industrialize world, now is embarrassingly low.  It certainly seems that perhaps we should try to flip the order of these two things – more schoolhouses and less jails.

It is clear something needs to be done.  Again, I do not have specifics to a plan.  Yet, it seems to me that we should be more demanding that a rigorous curriculum be provided.  We should look at the fact that proper education includes preschool.  I believe we should revisit compulsory attendance for student over the age of 16.  We should encourage home scholars.  There should be a renaissance in a liberal arts education, (i.e. Philosophy, poetry, music, and the fines arts - the humanities if you will).  Exact history must be taught.  Our state and federal constitutions should be taught, as should civics.

More professional development is needed.  We need to make good teachers better; we need to make excellent teachers superior; we need to separate from bad teachers who cannot or will not improve in their profession.  We need to recognize that not all students learn in the same way, or at the same rate.

As a society we have allowed social scientist to do the work that is the prerogative of the normative scientist. We need more parental involvement as together we teach our children well in regards to virtue (not values) essential to the human race.  These would be such positive attributes as, self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty. loyalty and faith.  We should seek a virtuous society – not simply a virtual society.  To this end logic and ethics should be taught, not so much on how one should act (that would be teaching social graces). Rather, logic and ethics courses should explain the different ethical models, while the steps of logic can assist individuals on why they may choose one ethical way over another.

I conclude this brief answer by stating, in New Hampshire there exists an inordinate reliance on local property taxes to pay for public education.  This is not sustainable.  Worse, it pits two age groups against each other - the children and the seniors.  How sad is that?  The seniors have age and knowledge (and hopefully wisdom and compassion), as well as money.  The Children?  Well all they have is their future and hopefully the love and commitment of a society wishing to leave them a world that is better than the one that was left to us.  We shall see.

Political avarice

Many large corporations are economic/political gangs.  They are most often owned by individuals, other corporations, pension funds and other entities who hire corporate bosses (CEOs and Board of Directors) to make profits and increase corporate wealth.  It is impossible to survive as a constitutional republic unless the masses of workers come to the realization that the same compulsion that inspires a man or a woman to become a practicing capitalist will often drive such a person to “buy” and control the politics of the land by filling the many seats of government with like-minded individuals and other sympathizers.

Over the years the successes of the Business Party, in both the Federal Government and the New Hampshire Government, has resulted in corporations and banks obtaining dominance over most key political decisions.  It is little wonder that labor, and the once vibrant middle class, that existed in America’s recent past and is remembered in nostalgic terms today, have such a minor influence on the decisions that are made by the United States Congress, Presidency  as well as the New Hampshire’s legislative and executive branches.

Noam Chomsky is right, In the US, there is basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies…

At this time it is fairly obvious that the assertion by the New Hampshire Constitution, specifically, Part 1, Article 10, which reads in part, “Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men” directs us to take action.  The fact of the matter is large amounts of corporate money is paid to politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, while the cash strapped majority of people cannot even begin to participate in this “cash for access” racket.

There are of course decent civic minded elected officials who cannot be bought.  However, when push comes to shove they are in the minority and when big money people want their way – they will get it.

Why is this so critical?  Well one reason stems from a basic truth of politics.  In order to have influence, you first need access.  A large monetary contribution, especially passing through the hands of party bosses, buys extreme access.

Have you ever wondered what a $500 contribution to be part of a private reception to meet and greet a candidate who might become the Governor or a Congressman gets you?  At the very least you become known as a source of future campaign contributions and you will not be quickly forgotten by the beneficiary of your “generosity”.  In certain circumstances it will gain you access to that Governor or that Congressman.  Once you have access you can than exert influence.  The return on that $500 can be significant.

The reality is the vast majority of people can not afford to gain access to their elected public servants through monetary means.  The result is that the role of government, which is suppose to be acting in a manner that is for the common benefit, protection and security of the whole community, becomes perverted by the actions of this particular “class of men”.

It needs to be mentioned that the working class, labor (including many small businessmen, professionals, artisans, organized labor, retirees and low wage earners) cannot begin to participate in the pay to play politics with the wealthy.  This limits our access and thereby hinders our ability to influence public policy in a meaningful way.

To borrow heavily from Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense, the pamphlet that inspired Thomas Jefferson as he wrote the Declaration of Independence, “it is preferable and desired that I give no offence.  Yet, I am inclined to believe that all those who espouse (the corporate practice of buying political influence) may be included in the following descriptions: Special interest who are not to be trusted; weak men who cannot see; prejudiced men who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the (soulless free market with its oppressive and harmful features than they do of the whole community.)  It is the last group by its misguided deliberations that will cause more calamity to the people, than all the other three.

The political state of affairs and the reality of the critical times we are in leave the people with few options.  Yet, it is clear that the first thing we can do and the thing we must do is reject the status quo of partisan politicians as it pertains to their unseemly affair with corporate money and the wealthy.  The way to separate the power of the money brokers and the party bosses is to refuse to participate in their electioneering methods.  It is essential that we begin to take back our government.  We must declare our independence from the Business Party and their partisan hirelings – not by looking to any third party, rather embracing once again our independence from contemporary usurpers who often conduct themselves in the mode of 1776 England’s King George and his aristocrats.

Our independence and reliance on the unchecked avarice (wicked greed) and the oppression and pain it causes people is waiting for we the people to claim what rightfully belongs to us – that being our government.  Politically, we must free ourselves from the grip of the few who have the most wealth.  We must reform our government from the current plutocracy and reinvigorate our constitutional republic.  We have it within our power to do so.

It is time to elect Independents, who refuse to accept corporate dollars and big donations in exchange for corporate access and inappropriate corporate influence.  Candidates for public office must wean themselves from influence peddlers - and the people must insist that they do so.  Only then will we begin to be able to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

“PEOPLE ABOVE POLITICS”

I am a candidate for the NH House of Representatives for Carroll County District 2, which includes Chatham, Conway. Eaton, and Hales Location.  Thanks to the support of scores of registered voters in the district, I have gained a spot on the General Election Ballot in November by means of nomination papers as I will be running as an Independent, not beholden to either the Republican or Democratic Parties.

I realize this is a difficult path to victory, but after much reflection, consultation and prayer I also realize this is my attempt to enter this particular political arena in good conscience.  As an independent, I will not be beholden to any ideology, special interest or political boss.  When elected I will be 100% free of such crippling influences and therefore able to represent the people.  My campaign motto is “People Above Politics.”

In order to be able to best serve in good conscience I will not seek or accept campaign contributions from any political action committee, union organization or corporate and business concern.  In fact, I will not accept any campaign contribution from any individual in excess of $25.  It is past time to rid all special interest money as the driving force that determines our state’s policy.  I cannot be bought, my vote cannot be bought. Our liberties, our freedoms, the dreams of our children, as well as the current and future well being our senior citizens are not for sale.

I oppose the insidious new gasoline tax.  This tax is regressive and greatly hurts those least able to pay it.  Worse than being another new tax, the gasoline tax has created additional increase in prices on other necessities such as groceries, milk and bread.  The impact of this so-called gasoline tax is the adoption of what is really a tax on gasoline and on food.  I look forward to having discussions on this issue during the campaign.

The state needs to do more to meet its financial obligation to public education.  Year after year we hear from politicians that they support education.  Now is the time for the state to put the money behind its words.  The property taxpayer is beyond tapped out.  We are beginning to see people on fixed incomes having to dip into their personal savings and reserves in order to pay their property tax.  This is a critical issue: property tax relief is possible, and it must be forthcoming.  It requires that the Legislature realize that in order to maintain our American way of life, to ensure that the pursuit of the American Dream is available for future generations, we must invest more in our public schools.  The days when the state believes it is fulfilling their charge by heaping one unfunded state mandate in top of another are over.  If the state mandates a program – the state should pay for that program.

I fully support the 2nd Amendment and will oppose infringements on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.  Gun control laws in other parts of the country have not and do not work.  In New Hampshire we have thousands of men and women who enjoy hunting and fishing, gun collectors, and those who take responsibility for their own personal protection.  We should not be expected to surrender our constitutional rights as a reaction to the evil and tragic actions of murderers and thieves.

We need to get serious when it comes to our crumbling programs that deal with mental health issues.  New Hampshire needs to build more mental health facilities and provide more beds to help those in need of mental health treatment.

In conclusion,  It was thirty years ago this year that I announced I was a candidate for the N.H. State Senate.  I was  32 year old medieval studies major at Plymouth State, attending classes during the day and working as a custodian during the night.  To the surprise of the establishment I won the Republican primary against the incumbent and went on to be elected twice to the Senate.  Since leaving the Senate I have remained active in public service as a member of school boards, as a selectman, a library trustee, and as a member of the State’s Traffic Safety Commission and Public Employee Labor Relations Board.  I have the experience, the drive and the passion and skill sets to represent all the people in the NH House of Representatives.  I would be honored to have your support and your votes.  Thank you.

 

On Rudeness, Extinction and Shattered Windows

Have you ever pondered the days of old

when men and angels would visit?

When men of a certain city.

long ago destroyed,

insisted on pulling such beings into a world

that was not their own.

A way of life so foreign and so threatening

that their only remaining escape to safety was

made by destroying the city. (Selah)

Why must there be zoos?

The very idea that creatures are better off

in arenas of existence

familiar to the stronger

warps the minds and hearts of those

designed for liberty. (Selah)

in the public zoo

the keeper could not feed her

the last tiger died. (Selah)

Tigers, pandas and the black rhino may seem lost

but the cost is not just,

for when the last one goes

she stops and looks sadly back

and cries for the final shattering

of the windows.

copyright - 1983 by Mark Hounsell

 

Freedom of Thought and The Freedom of Speech

Our Constitutional Right of Freedom of Speech is in actuality a Civil Right. Thomas Paine describes civil rights as rights  that grow out of a Natural Right, meaning unalienable as in God-given.  Freedom of Speech is so very vital it is one to die for.  The right to express freely through speech, art,  music, poetry, writing, dance and all other means that reveal many of the thoughts we do have as individuals, is what allows societies the ability to reform and grow for the betterment of both the individual and the society.  The paramount right we each have is the freedom of our own thoughts, but thought itself is practically meaningless without the Freedom of Speech (expression).

Freedom of Thought is what is necessary to exercise Freedom of Speech.  Without thought speech is often garbled.  With deep thought speech can be enlightening, helpful, healing and purposeful.  It can also be irritating, malicious and deceitful and hurtful.

In his letter to the people of the ancient Greek city of Philippi Paul wrote, "...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are  pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Neither, Thomas Paine nor the Apostle Paul believed for a moment that no thought should be given to lies, dishonesty, injustice, impurity, the ugly things of the world, or even bad news.  Rather, Paine would argue that to speak and write about things that are amiss in society gives rise to the revolutionary practice of returning to the natural rights of man where individuals established societies in order to better preserve and enhance the rights of man.  (See Part I, Article 10 of the NH State Constitution)

Similarly, Paul urges the adherence to the emerging Christian faith to think on the things Jesus thought on (the Godly) in order to recognize the ungodly.  Paul's reasoning is that In order for the believer to do what Jesus did, which we are told was all about going about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed. (Acts 10:38), one needed, among other things, to meditate and embrace good thoughts.

Thomas Paine, a Deist and a critic of organized religion including Christianity, and Paul, who was committed to the divinity of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, were both warriors in the cause of every individual finding happiness and purpose.  Paine through reason, Paul through faith.

We all are allowed to think as we might.  However, without the conjoined twin of speech we will not be able to get rid of stinking thinking and will be doomed to think amiss, or worse to think in accordance with some government or ecclesiastic order's dogma, doctrine, or law.  Without Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought we will be cursed to return to  medieval habits of ignorance, fear and death.  With Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Speech we will be able to begin the world over again - where needed.

A NH Constitutional Right

Part 1, Article 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution,Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.”