The dystopia that we are now living screams “how can we do things differently?” Here in New Hampshire, we have been successful in electing local legislators who work for justice, and it is comforting to know they are there in Concord and that there are so many individuals and groups working tirelessly and effectively for just causes. But the system is fixed, as we witness in committee hearing after committee hearing with outcomes, for the most part, benefiting big donors rather than constituents.
Forced pregnancies becoming the norm nationwide, a Supreme Court justice whose closest friend and donor proudly displays a signed copy of Mein Kampf, a Democratic president facilitating continued fossil fuel extraction and continuing the immigration policies of the former guy, and black lives still tragically being taken, all beg the aforementioned question.
Tennessee legislators of color are expelled for supporting students protesting the accessibility of assault weapons that made possible yet another mass shooting, while a congressman keeps his seat after being elected based on a laundry list of pathological lies. The US military budget is astronomical, while our communities can’t provide mental health care, affordable housing, clean water, or the infrastructure for mitigating or recovering from extreme weather events and natural catastrophes.
Here in NH, extremists are rearing their ugly heads everywhere with racist graffiti, intimidating legislators and school boards, clients at health clinics, and participants in story hours. New Hampshire has a Commissioner of Education hellbent on decimating our public schools. We have communities whose water supplies remain contaminated with carcinogens, yet the Governor and his clan manage to find funds for border “protection” for New Hampshire.
How did we get to a place where outrages like these are normalized, and priorities are so skewed?
Is it possible to rebuild communities that are safe and sound from the ground up? There are no easy answers for those of us asking how to create, with vision, communities that flourish with good will and begin to restore the health of the planet. NH towns have worked over the years with the New Hampshire Community Rights Network, NHCRN to implement “out of the box” strategies. There are numerous examples that we need to consider of municipalities around the country and world that have taken on the work of demilitarizing policing, providing access to mental health services, building community-based energy systems, protecting and addressing marginalized and unhoused populations, and halting environmental assaults.
Please consider partnering with the New Hampshire Community Rights Network, nhcommunityrights.org, in exploring alternatives and parallel strategies as we all move forward with our work.
Diane St. Germain
Board Member, NHCRN