Reckless Republicans are about to destroy N.H.
The 2011 session of the New Hampshire Legislature is under way. Under the hapless leadership of Speaker William O'Brien, the New Hampshire House is acting so recklessly that natural allies like Charlie Arlinghaus of the conservative Josiah Bartlett Center, the editors of the Union Leader, and former Speaker Donna Sytek are questioning the speaker's decisions.First, there was the adoption of a rule to permit guns to be carried in the State House, including the House floor. This is not an exercise of Second Amendment rights; it is gun mania run amok. The Second Amendment is what allows responsible citizens to own and use firearms. Inviting every emotionally unstable person with a bone to pick to enter the State House packing heat is stupid, and endangers the safety of legislators, state employees and visitors. Being the state that permits guns on the floor of the House does nothing to make our state more attractive to business.Then there is the unconstitutional effort to remove Rep. Mike Brunelle because he works for the Democratic Party. When Democratic leader Terie Norelli responded with a letter, asking for basic procedural information about the hearing process, and pointing out the lack of any constitutional authority for removal, O'Brien responded with outrage, issuing a press statement accusing Norelli of trying to create a media circus.The hypocrisy is stunning. While the motion to remove Brunelle was being made by Rep. Phil Greazzo, a member of O'Brien's leadership, that same leadership team was circulating a prepared press release touting the effort. O'Brien has only himself to blame for the overwhelming negative press he is receiving.Meanwhile, there is the constitutional amendment proposed by Rep. Al Baldasaro, the man who falsely claimed the state of New Hampshire sold babies to homosexuals, and Rep. Dan Itse.Their amendment would change the oath of office for elected officials in New Hampshire, which is to bear faith and true allegiance to the United States and the state of New Hampshire. They would delete the reference to the United States. Are they next going to try to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from the schools? Eliminate the Fourth of July as state holiday? Secede from the Union?Since Baldasaro and Itse are part of O'Brien's team, they must have conferred with him first. If they did not, then he should tell them now to stop acting like radical ideologues and start taking care of the real business of the people of New Hampshire.Let's not forget Rep. Jordan Ulery. He introduced a bill that would only permit multilingual signs in retail stores if the signs also are in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. He believes that business will not want to go the expense of printing signs in multiple languages, so all signs in New Hampshire which are in a language other than English will be removed. This bill imposes a burden on small businesses, will force national chains like Home Depot to special-order signs, and flies in the face of New Hampshire's dynamic immigrant tradition. Greek coffee houses in Manchester will have to stop advertising in Greek. Mom-and-pop stores near Canada will be forced to take down their tourist-friendly signs in French, or else pay for new signs. What about New Hampshire Motor Speedway? The Canadian national anthem, part of which is in French, is sung at every race as a recognition of, and a courtesy to, the thousands of Canadians who come to the races at Loudon each year. Would Ulery ban that?Ulery's reason for the bill? "When you establish a ghetto, you're leaving yourself open to what happened to the Jews in Eastern Europe because you're setting yourself up to be different." The Holocaust did not occur because of ghettos. Hitler was a murdering, evil, vicious anti-Semite, who targeted Jews, whether they lived in the Warsaw ghetto or in the neighborhoods of Berlin and Paris. Hitler and his thugs killed Jews, gays, the physically handicapped, Gypsies, the mentally ill, Jehovah's Witnesses, prisoners of war and anyone who dared to disagree with him. Nor were ghettos voluntary, as Ulery insinuates; they first were established by anti-Semitic rulers in the 16th century. Ulery's ignorance is sad and appalling.New Hampshire deserves thoughtful, sensible legislators who will make our great state even greater. Instead, we have Speaker O'Brien and his out-of-control majority. They are about to destroy the New Hampshire we love.Manchester attorney Kathy Sullivan is a former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.