To The Daily Sun,
Rep. Raymond Howard Jr. has exhibited a disturbing progression over the years from bizarre but harmless proposals (such as his sponsorship of a costly bill to have state legislators paid in silver dollars) to truly alarming fringe behavior. At the end of 2020, he was a co-signer of a manifesto declaring himself and others to no longer be citizens of the state of New Hampshire. (Note, however, that he did not give up his seat in the state legislature of the state he no longer belonged to).
More recently, when Howard’s leader Mike Sylvia, head of the beleaguered Belknap County delegation, sponsored a constitutional amendment seeking to have New Hampshire secede from the U.S., many of us wondered if Ray Howard would join in this secessionist movement. As it turns out, Rep. Howard’s letter of Oct. 25, makes it clear that he has indeed endorsed the Free State movement declaration of independence. No more social security, no Medicare, no federal highways, no U.S. passports, and so on.
When Rep. Howard stated, in his condescending and erroneous letter, that “all 50 states are independent sovereign countries,” he was not only wrong (not that he offered any support for that fallacy), but dead wrong. As in, over half a million, and maybe up to 750,000 dead, in the Civil War. When the South seceded from the nation, it was a fatally serious movement with wounds that may never heal. The Confederate troops surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, ending the fiction of a divisible nation. Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt the final blow to the secessionist fantasy, when it declared in the case of Texas v. White (1869) that Texas (through its admission to the U.S. in 1845) had become part of an “indestructible union, composed of indestructible states.”
A look back in history, to the founding of the nation, provides additional support to the notion of “one nation.” New Hampshire ratified the Articles of Confederation (“The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union”) in 1778. The U.S. Constitution, drafted in 1787 and ratified by New Hampshire in 1788, opened with the line “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union...”, showing the intent to strengthen the union, not weaken it. A splinter group in New York state wanted to reserve the right to withdraw from the union, but Alexander Hamilton quoted a letter from James Madison declaring that “the Constitution requires an adoption in toto, and forever,” resulting in the New York contingent withdrawing its objection and ratifying the Constitution without right of secession. In fact, no state reserved the right to secede.
Do the people of Alton, Barnstead, and Gilmanton, who reside in Rep. Howard’s district, want to be represented by a legislator who not only does not consider himself a citizen of the state of New Hampshire, but now does not want New Hampshire to be part of the U.S.?