Podcast: A Lesson in “Concord 101”

Drum roll, please: I’m happy to participate in a new podcast, Concord 101: How to Engage in Local Government, in which I get to share my enthusiasm about New Hampshire’s State House and all that happens inside. I might even give you some ideas about how to get more involved in state government yourself!

“Concord 101” is produced by Cornerstone, a nonprofit and nonpartisan New Hampshire family policy council. The podcast is a capsule version of a two-hour interactive seminar introduced in the Spring of 2019, in which I’ve worked with Cornerstone’s Neil Hubacker to bring the why and how of civic engagement to interested groups all over the state.

Don’t miss Neil’s podcast segments: Why New Hampshire Citizens Should Engage in Government and How You Can Influence the Lawmaking Process.

Writing is my favorite medium, but the invitation to create this podcast was too good to pass up. I hope you enjoy the result.

N.Y. Is Knee-Deep in Abortion; What About Your State?

It’s almost-but-not-quite old news that New York’s Governor Cuomo signed radical pro-abortion legislation recently, and celebrated in garish fashion. Much has happened in the two weeks since. Abortion-friendly bills are coming up in state houses in Vermont, New Mexico, Virginia, and Rhode Island. In Washington, Senate and House look at legislation to protect children who survive attempted abortion, and the President in the State of the Union Address endorsed that measure.

It’s easy to look at New York and wonder how things got so bad for the right to life. It’s easy to be shocked at the sight of Democratic members of Congress sitting stone-faced as the President endorses protection for born-alive infants. But have you looked at your own state’s laws? Maybe you can’t do anything about the Land of Cuomo or the U.S. Congress, but you can act on what’s happening in your own back yard.

Read more at DaTechGuy blog.

On NY’s Abortion Law: the View from NH

Originally posted at Leaven for the Loaf.

Yes, New York just passed an outrageous abortion law. But remember, New Hampshire got there first: no limitations on abortion, and no protection for children born alive after attempted abortion. We even out-do New York in one way: New Hampshire doesn’t collect any abortion statistics. And therein lies the best way for a Granite Stater to react to the news from New York.

Demand an abortion statistics law. There’s a hearing for one on Thursday, January 24, 2019 – mere hours away, as I publish this – at 11 a.m. in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The bill is HB 158-FN.

My social media feeds are full of upset New Hampshire neighbors, all of them sick at heart over the New York news. Here’s our challenge: get just as upset about New Hampshire’s situation, and then do something about it, starting with the abortion statistics hearing.

If every single one of my distressed friends were to contact the committee members who will consider the statistics bill, they’d make an impression. You can send a message to all twenty-two members of the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee by sending one email to one address: HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us. Simple message: Please vote ought to pass on HB 158-FN, the abortion statistics bill.

If even half of my upset friends took a day off work to attend the hearing and sign the “blue sheet” supporting the bill, they’d make an impression. They’d pack the whole committee room, in fact, and overflow into the hallway all the way down to the elevators. I know it’s hard to take a day off work. I also know it hurts to go to a hearing and see how many abortion advocates make that kind of sacrifice without batting an eyelash.

It’s easy for me to rail about New York politicians. It’s easy to go online and warn that Governor Cuomo’s soul is in peril (not a message from me, but I’ve seen it more than once in my media feed). It’s easy to share photos of New York buildings lit up in pink to “celebrate” the passage of the new abortion law.

How about we take that energy and anger and indignation and grief and put it where it will do some good?

The abortion statistics bill would authorize New Hampshire public health authorities to do what 47 other states already do: collect abortion information in a way that protects patient privacy, and report the numbers to the federal Centers for Disease Control. How many abortions, maternal age, gestational age, incidence of post-abortion complications: New Hampshire public health authorities only know what abortion providers tell them. There’s no reporting law. HB 158-FN would change that.

I am aware that passage is unlikely, given the current makeup of the New Hampshire legislature. This is a modest little test case, though: will we bring the same intensity to this bill that we’re bringing to the online fuss over New York’s lamentable law? Will we write those emails, call those reps, come to the hearing, and eventually show up for the House vote? Will we use social media as intensively to promote HB 158-FN as we use it to criticize New York?

We can try.

More of my posts inspired by the New York legislation are on GraniteGrok and DaTechGuy Blog.

Civics in 2017

Originally published on Da Tech Guy Blog.

Evan McMullin’s independent never-Trump-never-Hillary presidential campaign earned him 700,000 votes along with footnote status in future accounts of the 2016 presidential election. One bewildered supporter tweeted to him afterward, basically asking “what now?” McMullin responded on December 4 with a series of tweets that add up to two things: he’s still not a Trump fan, and he is a great believer in the power of civics.

The president-elect and McMullin seem to have no use for each other. A few of McMullin’s tweeted recommendations, though, apply to every voter vis-a-vis every elected official. They’re about civics and about being a citizen instead of a client. I doubt President-elect Trump would take issue with these three, for example.

  • “Read and learn the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Know that our basic rights are inalienable.”
  • “Identify and follow many credible sources of news. Be very well informed and learn to discern truth from untruth.”
  • “Support journalists, artists, academics, clergy and others who speak truth and who inform.”

McMullin also advised “Hold members of Congress accountable…” I’m partial to that one, coming as I do from a state that just sent a pro-abortion all-Dem delegation to Washington (while electing GOP majorities in our State House; go figure).

Even where McMullin’s December 4 tweets took Trump to task by name, they were grounded in civics: watch every word, decision and action of this Administration….Write, speak, and act when we observe violations of our rights and democracy. 

Call me old-fashioned, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s all essential no matter who’s in the White House or the State House or even the town hall. Maybe the prospect of Donald Trump’s presidency is prompting people to take a fresh look at the things they ought to be doing anyway.