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A small group of angry, egocentric individuals are in control

To The Daily Sun,

I am sitting in the living room of my house enjoying the sunshine while reading the thoughts of Asimov, Plato, Lincoln and Thatcher, reflecting upon losing an election for the local school board, attending the Tilton Town Meeting as a member of the community and Budget Committee, attending the Tilton-Northfield Fire District meeting as a member of the community and Budget Committee, and attending the SAU 59 School District meeting as a member of the community. I would like to share some of these thoughts on what I see as the state of democracy and civic duty in our small communities of Tilton, Northfield, and Sanbornton.

I watched and participated in an election for a school board member. I was met with resistance by a select group of individuals who created a closed caste system of electable individuals. This was completed initially by determining who best fit their needs at the detriment of the needs of the community they are supposed to be serving, then they created this closed caste system by choosing a candidate who would be submissive to their control of the school district and manipulated the amount of votes being cast.

I subsequently learned, at a town/fire district/school district meeting process, that it was being controlled by this same small group of angry, egocentric individuals who were intentionally feeding their own self-worth by creating situations that would create a situation of anger and fear. It was interesting to watch these individuals cluster at meetings to contemplate, map their strategies and tactics, to spew forth their anger and self-serving agendas in an attempt to bully and corrupt the democratic process.

What was interesting was to hear them proffer their righteous duty to protect their constituents utilizing their own filters of a need of ego supplement, a need to be wanted by someone, and a need to be considered important by others while delivering ideas that were crippling to the needs of their constituents. Their presentations were truly heartfelt on their part, that they were aiding in meeting the needs of the constituents of their towns separately and collectively. This small group has utilized its limited knowledge of the political workings of the communities involved to reward their friends and punish those who have ideas contrary to their close-minded and self-aggrandizing behavior by fixing elections through the use of favors. This reminds me of following quotes:

— "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" ― Isaac Asimov

— "Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters." ― Abraham Lincoln

— "Consensus: The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: 'I stand for consensus?" ― Margaret Thatcher

— "In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill... we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one." ― Plato

— "Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses." ― Plato

We, the electorate, need to regain control of our democracy before groups, such as the above, remove the democratic process totally from our communities and destroy the strong positive progress that our school system is making. It is our civic duty as representatives of the community to serve the interests of the community not our individual needs to be wanted and important. We need to take the election process seriously and elect representatives that will serve the needs of the community and not their own needs whether they are to belong or feel superior or other needs fulfill their human existence.

I call for the voters of the towns involved to call for an independent review of the process, an accountability for these actions, and a process that will protect our democracy from actions such as these.

I will end with the following:

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." ― Plato

Wayne Brock

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This Trump stuff really started with Reagan's support of Goldwater

To The Daily Sun,

The people who are supporting Donald Trump are those same people who often claim they "hate" President Obama. President Obama has not "created" the Trump phenomena, racism has. Hate and racism are unreasonable. They have no basis in logic or fact. Their only basis is fear. Fear from conservatives that somehow, a successful black man as president is something to be afraid of. Because — let's be honest — he has not threatened the Constitution. Of all the presidents in the past 60 years, President Obama probably understands the Constitution better than anyone other than the SCOTUS. He has not advocated taking away anyone's guns. He isn't fomenting civil war or martial law. He's not Muslim, and even if he was, who really cares? Christians do. Conservative Christians care. They believe that the United States is a God-fearing, white-Christian country, founded by white Christians for white Christians. And no one other than a white Christian should ever be president.

But let's go back further. Where did it all really start? Two words. Ronald Reagan. President Reagan's support of Barry Goldwater in 1964 called for a return to "solid conservative principles." No Medicare. No Medicaid. A God-based government. Do you remember how he sidled up to George Wallace's racist supporters in 1980 to thank them for their commitment? And when he became president, he invited the Jerry Falwells, Pat Robertsons, Bill Grahams, and Christian Coalitions into the White House and said, "We stand with you." His "aww shucks" personality hid an agenda to move the United States away from the liberal policies of Jimmy Carter and even from the progressive policies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. His economics — "trickle down" — were the worst kind of drivel and he funded his tax cuts for the rich by gutting IRS tax codes that supported the middle class.

Do any of you remember three- and five-year income averaging for people who had gotten a serious pay raise? Like I did when I left the military? Do you remember credit card interest deductions? Sales tax deductions? How about when Reagan eliminated the FCC's Fairness Doctrine in 1987 that required the holders of broadcast licenses both to present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. That's right — Ronald Reagan gave birth to Fox News.
It took eight years of Bill Clinton economics in order to recover from eight years of Reaganomics and four years of Bush hybrid economics. The United States came very close to a financial precipice toward the end of the Reagan years, while that administration broke the law by selling weapons to Iran to funnel money to Nicaragua. Don't you remember?

Then we got eight more years of "Reaganomics Lite" in the guise of George W. Bush with his wars in Iran and Afghanistan based on more lies that cost the United States tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives. The deregulation of banks caused the mortgage crisis that almost led us into a second Great Depression. Please tell me you can remember back that far??

Then we elected a man born of a white Christian woman and a black Muslim man who was here on a student Visa. And with that the wheels came off the bus. The ignorant and racist conservative Christians who supported George W. Bush now had someone to blame. He was black. He was different. He had a funny name. And he was liberal. And his policies helped to pull us back from the fiscal brink and actually started to grow the economy. And God forbid that some black Muslim-like man of questionable birth should be given credit for saving all our backsides after George W. Bush's nonsensical economic failures ruined the job market and the financial markets.

And yet even in the midst of all this economic turmoil, our economy was still preferable to Mexico or many other countries ... and so immigrants kept on coming — legal and illegal. And to maintain the United States as the place that opened its arm to the world, President Obama got blamed for the loss of all the jobs that our lazy and entitled fannies wouldn't consider: McDonalds and Burger King and office cleaners and garbage men and landscapers. The kinds of jobs I held as a teenager.

And all that hate and all that frustration and the associated anger based on a loss of power and a fear of the unknown and white privilege drove the Tea Party and the Christian right to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Donald Trump — a bullying, racist, bigoted, misogynist, morally bankrupt, lying, self-aggrandizing, crude and loathsome piece of offal. Donald Trump — now the true standard-bearer for the modern Republican Party. That Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Ike.

So don't blame President Obama. Look in the mirror and blame yourself and those dark places in your soul where the dirt and filth accumulate; where all those things you allowed to slide by in conversations reside; where your own fears hide. Look there and see why Trump is winning. And be ashamed.

And know why I am constantly editorializing about guns or #BlackLivesMatter or partisan politics. Because when you silence your voice of reason and compassion and don't speak up? You are as guilty as if you pulled the trigger, or wore that sheet, or spit on that Vietnam vet. And in the end? You'll get exactly what you deserve. And I pray hard that it's not a country that is the laughingstock of the world.

Alan Vervaeke

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