For a long time I have started each year by listing a bunch of geekish laws being proposed by New Hampshire’s massive state legislature, a listing done partly for information and partly for fun.
I’m not doing it this year, however, because we have more serious things to think about.
The Granite State has become part of the effort by most of the Republican Party (including many so-called libertarians) to dismantle functioning democracy and turn America into a one-party state under big man rule. I know this sounds ridiculously over the top, but as a non-political guy I have come to the reluctant conclusion that it’s true. Heck, an increasing number of Republicans aren’t even trying to hide this goal any more. Parallels to Italy in the 1920s are sobering.
If you’re a geek, you know this is bad. Innovation works best under the free-for-all of a political system where checks and balances don’t let anybody have too much control. Eroding that system would throttle the intellectual freedom that geeks hold dear.
So don’t worry much about the latest legislative hope for ranked-choice voting or open-source software or digital asset management. Instead, start looking into why many of our state legislators are taking instruction from the national GOP to file dozens of bills to limit certain people’s ability to vote or to throw baseless doubt on an election system that has worked fine for a century, even as they gerrymander themselves into long-term control.
You can see all proposed bills, called LSRs, at this site. Search the list for “voting” or “election” or “ballot” and see what you think. Maybe you, too, will reluctantly decide that you now have to pay attention to state politics.
You can find contact information for your state representative here, and your state senator here. And don’t forget your school board, city council, or that obscure post of Supervisor of the Checklist, who determines which local residents can actually vote on election day. They all matter.
Political science IS a science, David Brooks, and thank you for seeing how important the bills in our state legislature are to our state’s overwell well-being. Vigilance about election laws is the only thing that will preserve our democracy.
Thank you. I hope people take your thoughts and plea to become involved to heart….
Thank you David Brooks!
This is the biggest problem to overcome, if we don’t protect the right to vote nothing else will happen.
I am surprised that in our independent minded state our legislators are blindly following along.
this is just so much leftist propaganda. I am disappointed in the Granite geek, previously a man of science, becoming little more than a political operative for the left, a political hack for the Democratic Party. You can and should do better.
David, you are absolutely correct. Unlike you, I am a bit political and lean left but I’ve always had friends on both sides of the political divide. We could (and hopefully still can) disagree on specific issues/policies but still buy each other a beer and share our common love for America and democracy. I don’t recognize today’s “all or nothing” attitude from the right. And yes, looking at history it smacks of Italy and even the Nazi rise in Germany. Wish we had more than just two parties to reduce the risk of this assault on democracy.
The Geek is right on about this.
Truth, facts, and democracy mean nothing to today’s Republican party activists.
Thom is among the worst offenders of anti-democratic fascist operatives.
Thank you for taking this seriously. The radicalization of the Republican Party is frightening on both our state and national levels. I agree that there are some events that are mirroring what happened in Italy that led to the rise of Mussolini.
Thank you for this perspective. A lot to think about.
If science is not trusted, if we are able to believe only the stories that fit into our own view of the world, if we make decisions based on rumors, if we have no understanding of math or probabilities, if we look to a demagogue to save us rather than trusting the strength of our laws, if we don’t speak out, if we don’t pay attention, then democracy is doomed. Yes, this is Europe in the 1920s all over again, with climate change added for good measure.
You are absolutely right.
Thank you, David Brooks, for speaking out. As you note, science doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We need to stay vigilant in protecting the conditions that enable it. Foremost among these is a respect for truth.