(This op-ed ran as an exclusive in NH Journal, an Inside Sources publication, on Oct. 30, 2020.)
It hasn’t been two years since the people of New Hampshire overwhelmingly passed a Constitutional Amendment that prohibits “governmental intrusion into private or personal information,” and our government has already violated it twice this year.
Just this week, the NH Lodging and Restaurants Association recommended that all restaurants become agents of the state and start collecting customers’ personal information for the government. The government took the bait and created another edict that enforces this request. It’s bad enough when government oversteps its bounds, but it’s even worse when corporations join forces with government to crush individual liberties, especially when there is no equivalent benefit for the public.
The board of directors that runs NHLRA—Is it the NH Liberty Restriction Association?— includes several large corporations and only a handful of local restaurants. What do large utilities such as Eversource and Sprague Energy have to do with eating out in the State of New Hampshire? It appears, based on recent suggestions, that the goal of this organization is to force small local establishments out of business by adding additional regulations on top of those already in place. We invite people to call 603-228-9585, ext. 17, to ask NHLRA CEO Mr. Mike Somers to stop being a shill for Big Brother. Granite Staters should be able to support their favorite local eateries without having their personal lives and livelihoods threatened by contact tracing efforts. Should people really be locked up at home for two weeks because they dined across the room from someone who might have COVID-19?
The threat here is that government acting on this suggestion has turned businesses already struggling into desperate “COVID-police” informants who will make sure everyone gets in line just so they can stay afloat. Frankly, it astounds me that businesses would even consider giving into the demands put in place under this usurped government authority. We’ve all heard horror stories of families that had to remain in lockdown for an additional 14 days because of a possible contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. How many people will face two weeks of solitary confinement for simply enjoying a night out on the town? How many children will be excluded from their schooling? How many families will face two weeks without sports games? How many Moms or Dads will go two weeks without a paycheck?
Has anyone noticed that New Hampshire has experienced fewer than an average of one new hospitalization per day since July 1? In fact, the COVID-19 epidemic officially ended around the Fourth of July in New Hampshire. And instead of seeing the logical relaxation of government restrictions, the emergency orders keep piling up—every 21 days. Do you remember, “Just two weeks to flatten the curve?”
Behind all of this has been a longtime goal of other corporate interests to push their vaccinations on the whole population, whether or not they are actually effective. In the backdrop of COVID-19, the state has created a public vaccine registry that still lacks an opt-out provision, even though it will go live in January. With Article 2B passing with over 80 percent of the People’s support last election, such a registry shouldn’t even exist unless patients opt-in. What ramifications for this overreach will there be once a COVID-19 vaccine is available? Will those of us who refuse this vaccine be restricted from restaurants and grocery stores or even going in to work? Our way of life is now seriously at risk, and not too many people realize how permanent this takeover could be.
We’ve seen government edict after edict roll out while our elected Legislature has stood by silently and let it happen. Not since before the founding of our country have we had government power so utterly intrusive and destructive affecting our way of life, and citizens need to wake up to the fact that the current government overreach has gone on long enough. This escalation won’t end until the people push back en masse, and they have that opportunity coming up this Tuesday.
At ReopenNH, we have shifted focus to become RebuildNH, and we’ve endorsed a slate of 120 candidates who once elected will push back against the harmful, life-crushing regulations that government has forced on all of us without showing evidence of a public good. Government has done enough damage. We are hopeful that the People will regain their voice in the conversation and eliminate the illogical, unscientific, and unlawful edicts that have robbed us of our liberty.
Freedom is not safe, and it can even be messy, but it can never be compromised. It is the cure we need to start rebuilding our state.
Andrew J. Manuse and JR Hoell, both former N.H. State Representatives, are chairman and treasurer respectively of RebuildNH, which was formerly known as ReopenNH.