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Issue:“People’s Veto” → Insurrection

by J. Michael Atherton

One plank in the NH Republican platform claims without explanation they, “Support the concept of a people’s veto”. Sounds powerful, but we must ask what it means.

Surely it cannot mean voting where we vote the person out of office as the ultimate veto. If they

are saying they support voting, then good; but it’s an obvious good not limited to Republicans. It’s like feeling proud that you support breathing air. Okay, we all want that, but why brag about

it? They must have something up their sleeve with this veto talk.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

So what do they mean by “people’s veto”? Perhaps they are blowing a dog whistle only insiders can hear. We must listen extra-carefully to hear their message. Since they provide no clarification, let’s try a few ideas.

First, some language clarity: to “veto” means you must stop something from passing. What options do citizens have in the political arena besides, of course, voting? Does it mean writing Letters to the Editor? No, LTEs don’t veto anything. Could they mean holding political signs by the road? No, holding signs cannot veto a thing. Does a people’s veto mean canvassing neighborhoods? No, canvassing stops nothing. What recent example do we have of Republicans trying to stop something from passing?

January 6 comes to mind. The Washington insurrection showed a mob attempting to veto the vote and replace their opinion for the documented will of the nation. Is the NH Republican “dog whistle” sounding support for insurrection? Do Republicans policy makers oppose the peaceful transfer of power in an election that has been repeatedly documented as free and fair? Does the Republican platform see the Constitution as an obstacle to trash using their people’s veto? The logical outcome of their people’s veto is anarchy, a fascist dictatorship, or anarchy that installs a fascist dictator… that almost occurred on January 6.

Insurrection, Jan. 6, 2021 Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Do they tell their members to play by the rules only if they win? When they lose, do the Republicans feel free to shout “people’s veto,” grab a Confederate flag, and storm Congress? This conclusion may seem hyperbolic, but the rest of the NH Republican platform shows nothing but animosity for the government. If you hate something so much, many people feel they have the right to destroy it.

Does the NH Republican party support the January 6 insurrection? Their platform seems to say they do. If the insurrection enacted the people’s veto and they have endorsed the concept of people’s veto in their platform, then how can we trust them to hold any office on any level of government? Republicans must learn to value government. Democrats can teach them.

About the author -

J. Michael Atherton (Mike) has retired from 30 years of teaching philosophy (after 20 years of teaching a variety of subjects from elementary to graduate school). He spent four years in the Peace Corps in Swaziland (now Eswatini), followed by marriage to Cynthia Walter, the birth of their first child, and a PhD all at the University of Chicago. They moved to Southwest Pennsylvania where Cynthia taught ecology and he taught philosophy while they raised two daughters. They moved to Dover in 2019 to be near their two grandsons in Maine. He has consistently found the Dems to be a group that publicly and privately follows their stated values: compassion, honesty, integrity, respect the dignity of all people, expanded freedom, responsible citizenship, promoting civil society, and protecting our environment. And they are great fun to be around. A winning combination!

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