Op-Ed: We’re On A Frightening Path of Injustice

By Andrew J. Manuse

Science and experience has demonstrated that governments worldwide overreacted to the COVID-19 threat and perpetuated misleading information to manipulate the public and consolidate power. Despite these revelations, Gov. Chris Sununu is poised to extend his no longer “State of Emergency” order yet again next week so he may continue acting as the state’s new supreme autocrat.

In His Excellency’s mercy, Sununu has now allowed you to have a workout class with others and stay-six-feet apart, but you can’t use the rowing machine by yourself that was already six-feet apart from everything else before COVID hit. You can eat outdoors under a tent if the restaurant owner is lucky enough to have the space, but you can’t eat indoors in a large banquet hall with the same distance between tables. Your hair stylist can see three clients back-to-back for one hour each, but Gov-forbid you have one appointment that lasts three hours. And these are just some of the arbitrary dictates. 

Ultimately, Gov. Sununu is personally responsible for flattening the New Hampshire economy, and more people are going to directly suffer because of it. As of last count in April, unemployment was at 16.3 percent and rising. He has destroyed businesses, relationships, and livelihoods by changing the narrative and keeping us all at home months after his original objective was met. Hospitals have been at less than 10 percent capacity this entire time. We had the supplies. We had the staff. We were ready to handle the outbreak that never came. And now, hospitals have had to furlough workers, leaving public health in peril.

At the same time, His Excellency and the bureaucrats who oversee licensed residential care facilities have grossly mismanaged our most vulnerable population, doing little to protect the elderly. Three-quarters of the deaths from this virus have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These are our moms and dads, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and our friends. Because of Gov. Sununu’s tremendous incompetence, we failed them.

The problem is this: We have entrusted the whole of government in the hands of one ineffective, incompetent man and his appointed team of attendants. In the height of our fear, we were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to manage what appeared to be a real emergency. Now, in a time where the facts have contradicted all of the original fears, there is verifiably no health emergency and the only people perpetuating the fear narrative are those who personally benefit from it. This form of government can only be described as one approaching a dictatorship.

The hard truth for authoritarians like Sununu is that they have no legitimate power outside that which has been granted to them by the People. The authority of the government exists because of the consent of the governed. And this consent is enshrined in our state constitution—a constitution designed to protect the minority that cannot be suspended or abrogated, no matter the circumstances. 

But beyond this compact, a just government requires, among other things, rule of law and recourse for the People. If the government has no bounds beyond that which pleases the leader, and the People have no recourse against his arbitrary dictates, the People will soon come to realize that the government has become unjust and the rule of law no longer applies.

How much oppression are the People willing to put up with? For those businesses who defy orders, Sununu might ask officials to take licenses away. But if the businesses are already going against unlawful orders, why would they not continue to operate without a license? What’s next, fine them? Will business owners even show up in court when the edicts have no constitutional basis? And what happens if they don’t show up in court? Does the governor send men with guns to imprison them?

We have already seen people reopen their businesses and do with them what they choose, and customers who are willing to patronize them. We’ve seen churches reopen with more than 10 people. At some point, I hope police officers tasked with enforcing His Excellency’s orders will also recognize the excess of those actions, honor their oath of office, and tell the governor to enforce his own edicts. With these acts of defiance, the People show the governor that he lacks authority to do what he’s doing. 

The governor has two choices right now, and only one of them leads us back to the liberty we once celebrated on July 4 every year: 1) Allow the emergency orders and the State of Emergency to expire, apologize for his overstep, and let everyone slowly get back to normal, or 2) Continue down the road of injustice and face the necessary consequences of that path. There is no in-between.

Andrew J. Manuse is chairman of ReOpenNH.com, an organization devoted to getting New Hampshire back to work via a petition drive and coordinated demonstrations against arbitrary government power.

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32 Responses

  1. NH has a death rate of .00017 for a population of 1.3 mil, most of those were in Long Term Care facilities and you have our ENTIRE STATE on lockdown?

    Families are being destroyed, businesses permanently closing and children robbed of learning and lifetime memories.

    What is REALLY going on here Governor? We the people who voted for you deserve answers, this isn’t about “health and safety” anymore, the numbers don’t justify your extreme actions and the citizens of the great state of NH are starting to realize this.

    YOU OWE US OUR LIVES BACK!

  2. We want our state and our liberty back. This overreach is unconstitutional and just plain evil. This is Sununu pushing his personal agenda. We are not going to sit back and take it. These orders need to expire or the consequences could be very dire and we won’t be on the losing end. This is wrong on so many levels that it actually breaks my heart that you care so little about the people who have entrusted you. I think you should apologize and step down.

  3. Please open the rmv for all services. Please open schools in the fall with athletics and extracurriculars (let parents decide between remote and in person). Please open the beaches for all activity. Live free or die means something.

  4. Governor – How can you justify violating our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms? With any virus – you should isolate the sick not the healthy, and now with less the 1% of the population effected by this virus – How can you justify these UNLAWFUL orders for the Greater Good? How is less then 1% be considered the Greater Good?
    You have also forgotten that you work for US not the other way around. Government exists to protect the people and not your self-centered, self absorbed, self serving, and your self serving wallet, or your friends wallet.
    You formed a Educational Task Force, 70% of this task force does not believe in the Public Education System and has an agenda of homeschooling kids. How can you justify this? Public Education is a vital part of our communities and social learning. You are violating our children’s Constitutional Rights and Freedoms and jeopardizing our children’s future on so many levels.
    You need to end all orders and let us get back to living our lives as normal. There is no need or excuses for what you have done to our state, our communities, our right violations and the future of our children.
    If you truly care about this state you will cancel ALL ORDERS and let everyone get back to work and back to living.

  5. It is time to stop moving the goal post. The goal was to flatten the curve. End the destruction of the economy and physical and mental health.
    Please end this state of emergency.
    Those at risk can protect themselves and the rest of us can develop herd immunity.

  6. Open the state immediately and apologize to NH residents for your missteps. Governor you have forgotten that you are a public servant working for us NOT ruling over NH residents! We want the state opened immediately and discussions on how WE will rescue our economy and small businesses. The apology and opening should have happened as soon as the science started to become clear that the threat to most was extremely low. You have betrayed the people who voted you into office. Open the state immediately!

  7. Governor,

    Please take a better balanced assessment and stop ruining our states economy.

    Please do not extend the emergency or stay at home orders. As a Republican please protect our rights and freedom that this state represents and you were elected to uphold.

    Thanks you Bill

  8. Please reopen NH; the emergency is over and sanity should now rule .

    We are officially behind NY , riddle me that Batman

  9. Governor Sununu, please reopen our state and remove the mask. We are done with being pawns in your game of cover up.
    Thank you!

  10. Quarantine those at risk. The numbers are so low, that there is no risk to the public. Hysteria only begets more hysteria, and this is what has happened. Psychologists predicted all of the behavior that we are seeing.
    Far too many Other types of casualties. If people want to take a risk, that is up to them. You are adulting the adults and that’s unacceptable.

  11. Open NH now. This is enough. Politicians continue to go on power trips and leave the people they represent in poverty.

  12. This may seem like a quibble, but I noticed this: “….We have entrusted the whole of government in the hands of one ineffective, incompetent man….” implies that competence weighs in the measure of a dictatorship. You are subliminally conceding that things would be better with an effective authoritarian in charge. Central planning doesn’t work; the history of the 20th century is one long real world test proving that. A virus doesn’t change that.

    1. It’s a fair point, but the meaning you are insinuating was certainly not intended. It just points out that Gov. Sununu is not only acting like an authoritarian, but he’s also an incompetent one. It was meant to prove the point that we need a balance of powers to make sure that incompetence does not doom the state’s policies. The wisdom of our founders put lawmaking authority in a citizen Legislature made up of 400 House members and 24 Senators, and gave the governor the opportunity to choose how to enforce the laws made by the Legislature, not to make his own laws, and the court the ability to rule on how the law applies in individual situations. This balance of powers brings the reason and stability we’ve been calling for all along. We need to return to it. A Republic is the best form of government to ever exist and it brings the most prosperity and solves the most problems by leaving it to the People themselves to come up with solutions through their own ingenuity and private investment.

      1. Andrew, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I agree with everything you wrote. I’m particularly sensitive because I catch myself so often implicitly granting the premise of a collectivist/left wing/progressive argument, and then trying to argue liberty on their ground.

  13. 100% agree. Open NH. We are state #41 in the country for amount of deaths…. open the state. Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.

  14. Gov. Sununu: The closure of this state was never needed, you just followed along.
    Stop with all the grandstanding for the news stations and do what you’re paid to do. Make decisions that are in the BEST interests of the ENTIRE population of NH.
    I voted for you, but I will be rethinking that when election time comes.

  15. Statewide lockdowns were meant to be a short-term way to avoid a projected surge of hospital patients when our health care system was not equipped or ready to handle it; it was never intended to reduce the risk of infection to 0. We met the goal; we had the shutdown, flattened the curve, and gave health care systems time to build up their stores of supplies and reorganize their facilities and processes to handle the projected potential surge. In addition to our state’s improved healthcare resource status, the overall situation has changed as we’ve gathered more accurate data. We now know the initial estimates of hospitalization and mortality rates were inflated. Statistics reported at the Senate COVID-19 roundtable “How New Information Should Drive Policy” on May 6th calculated a U.S. death rate of 0.02% and 0.007% for NH – orders of magnitude lower than that originally projected and used to justify the extreme lockdown measures and public messaging.
    Unfortunately, nonstop public information campaigns detailing the worst case scenarios instilled such fear and panic that people are afraid to question their state and local government officials’ justification to impose a seemingly never-ending list of restrictions, rules, and mandates limiting our rights and controlling our behavior.
    People have lost their jobs, their businesses, and many cannot pay their bills. People are going through their savings, accessing their retirement accounts, and although stimulus checks may help some in the short-term, they are not a viable long-term solution and will do nothing for those who have lost everything when this is over. To make matters worse, local governments are joining in and adding new, arbitrary restrictions of their own. All together, we are being told we cannot use our beaches, parks, athletic fields and playgrounds; in certain places, we are not allowed to go outside without a mask; we can’t go our gyms; we can now be cited/fined/arrested for violating any of the new rules they think up, and while all taxes and fees are still being assessed, many of the things we pay for are no longer available to us.
    So, my questions are these: After we met our goals and the overall outlook is much less grim than originally thought, why is the government ignoring any positive news and implementing even more restrictions? Why is the government still imposing restrictions on outdoor activities? Why are people being encouraged to shame and tattle on their neighbors? Why isn’t the state opening and allowing businesses and patrons to determine what level of risk they are comfortable with? The new restrictions for businesses that are being allowed to open are so onerous that many will not be able to make enough money to continue to operate; from a customer/consumer standpoint the restrictions and rules have made things so miserable that fewer people will patronize those places of business that do try to open. Open the state.

  16. NH has a C19 death rate of 17 per 100,000, MA is ~6 times higher at 96, YET I can go to Salisbury beach and take a seat and enjoy the day without being harassed by small town Rye cops. Basically the parking restrictions make it impossible for anyone but Rye residents to use the beach, much of which is state beach that we all pay for…what is the logic or science behind this? Oh wait a minute, Chief Walsh can write an unlimited number of parking tickets and pad his budget at the expense of people that have the audacity to lay on the beach. Now my favorite Irish bar Ri Ras has closed down for good in Portsmouth, this has got to end!

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Indefinite ReopenNH Protest

ReopenNH proclaims a new Declaration of Independence that invites every free person in the State of New Hampshire to protest the governor’s unlawful orders by ignoring them flatly and turning any busybody away with emphasis.

How do I participate?
Post a ReopenNH notice in your business window. If a government official attempts to shut you down, peaceably throw them out. That’s how liberty works.

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