Fear and Change


Fear and Change

No matter what we do, we have to adapt to the changes of our time. This is a picture of our granddaughter proudly wearing a mask I made this spring. We were on zoom when she saw me showing her mom kids’ masks I was sewing and she said, “I want one!” How well we weather the storms we face comes down to attitude, reason and perseverance. Each of these has been under assault lately and our state and country are suffering because of it.

We’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now. As I type, I’m logged in and listening to clean energy leaders of New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine at the Local Energy Solutions Conference. The discussions center on what moves are needed to adequately address greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as quickly as possible. All these serious and good people are working together, not because of a conspiracy theory of get-rich-quick-scientists, but because we are already seeing the effects of global warming, and it’s going to be costly.

If ever there was a worse time for an assault on truth, I can’t think of one.

In New Hampshire, the vast majority of people understand that facing up to climate-change requires our government to take immediate and effective action, in league with every other responsible New England state. However, monied interests have gained sufficient toe-hold in New Hampshire that they can still get energy policy vetoed, even on the most straight-forward bipartisan fixes like: energy efficiency investment, local, sustainable, renewable biomass, or paying small generators and municipalities for their excess power through net metering. New Hampshire has the only Governor not joining the regional Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), even though the transportation sector is 44% of NH’s emissions and we need a plan now if we are to meet our goals. We’re living in a time when our health and our environment are definitely under threat and yet any talk of action that helps us improve our lot is spun as radical. When I was young, we called this ‘self-defeating’ behavior.

The fear-mongering rhetoric against people stepping up to lead has reached new lows and it’s a growing cause for concern for anyone trying to get things done on behalf of New Hampshire. Our all-volunteer legislature only works if we elect people of good faith who are not part of an outside NH agenda, or an in-state cult that stalls progress as a matter of ideology. But, we continue to give our votes to people who ‘seem nice’ and unfortunately, its a bit more complex in 2020!

This slide from civility has coarsened with the outrageous messaging from President Trump about how democrats want to wreck our country and it’s been co-opted all the way down to local, town-party politics. Democrats make up over half of the people in the country, so how is it helpful to make this us vs. them? Hollis Republicans should understand that repetition of party dogma doesn’t make it so. Democrats did not propose an income tax that would grow government and affect the New Hampshire Advantage. Paid Family Medical Leave was insurance, like workers compensation insurance, it solved a problem of a large percentage of the NH workforce being without any paid leave for illness and yet our opponents have no problem misrepresenting this to the public. This was the bill they chose to weaponize to gain back power and with amplification from out-of-state groups like (Koch Industries’ backed) Americans For Prosperity, it seems to be working just fine for them.

The Republican party wants you to vote for them because those who fail to follow Trump are (pick a label) radical, socialist, communist, Marxists, pedophiles? – insert any horrible, scary adjective. Remember the caravans you had to fear right up until after the 2018 midterm? The only problem? There is no truth to it. These are alternative facts promoted through repetition until the masses know what they believe; it’s deceptive, it’s purposeful and it’s dangerous. Political power by any means necessary – like wrapping oneself in nationalism and patriotism – has been said to be the last refuge of scoundrels; it is behavior that should not be rewarded. But I don’t get to decide. You do.

In the week before the 2020 election, I am here to state for the record, unequivocally, that I am none of these things radical things. I’m a wife, mom, grandma, sister, friend, project management professional, science & climate protector, community leader, volunteer, and a proud product of public education (with firm working class roots). I am first and foremost, a loyal American who grew up in a time when we understood our history (like the epic battle against fascism) and the value of American leadership and exceptionalism on the world stage. 

I’m also a Hollis, New Hampshire resident who considers herself a Democrat because I believe in championing the needs of working people over the greed agenda of the swamp. This decision comes from my observation of policies over the decades that have widened the wealth gap in favor of the ultra-rich, by making society less stable and people less secure. In a time of great change, the fastest road to ruin is to give the keys to people who believe it is their duty to stop us from taking any action on issues that demand our response. On climate change, we really are running out of time to take meaningful action. New Hampshire has always taken its responsibility to protect the environment and sustain the health of the people and the economy seriously. Just because we’re facing great change, doesn’t mean we abandon those principles.

The official platform of the Republican party this cycle is nothing; they produced no party platform for you to object to or agree with. They are not telling you what they stand for, although anyone with eyes can see; so, why should you vote for them? They are betting on the culture war they created to do the trick. At this point, the argument seems to be that progress itself is the enemy. Well, that might work if we could halt time; but time marches on and it still comes with opportunity costs. Are we afraid the fixes we pick might be less than perfect? Well, they always are – because that is how progress is made: 1) change required, 2) fix proposed, 3) fear of change, 4) new-way defined, 5) solution that works. We are in the chaos that comes with change, but we must work together to get to the other side of it.

We need to display the courage to face the times in which we live and that means voting for people who move us forward. Progress may sound scary, but, inaction on many of our security issues, including climate change, is our most costly and perilous course. As anyone with a house understands, the cost of inattention only increases the longer problems are ignored. Ignoring the inevitable is not the New Hampshire way.

Finally, if anyone is trying to make us fearful of an entire group of people in our community, recognize this as a divide and conquer strategy. Those who keep us fighting are working an agenda whether they know it or not. Our Hollis friends and family and the people who make up our wonderful town are not the vile things that are being said in the name of politics. The detriment of the distrust being sewn in Hollis and in communities all over this country is truly unAmerican.

FDR had it right, ‘We have nothing to fear, but fear itself’.

I hope I can count on your support November 3rd. Let’s Keep Good Going!