http://www.fosters.com/news/20170629/silver-lining-of-political-divisiveness The recent political divisiveness in our country has had in some ways a powerful and positive impact on our citizens. It has raised awareness regarding critical issues including but not limited to religious, racial and gender discrimination, election fraud, unsustainable energy, access to clean water, the effect that industrial wind, fracking, water extraction and oil spills have had on the environment. Communities are becoming aware of the potential health risks for those that are exposed to these industrial projects. Many citizens have come to the realization that their concerns are being marginalized due to political gain and corporate greed that disregard the will of the people. As a result of these concerns being ignored, people have attended town meetings and have contacted their legislators. They have expressed their concerns in the hopes that change will come about.
People have exercised their rights by taking to the streets to engage in peaceful resistance and protest, challenging both the government and corporations. Social media has also been an active conduit for citizens to have their voices heard however it has not brought about any definitive change.
In the state of New Hampshire, several communities have recognized that it takes more. They have gone one step further. In order to affect systemic change, they have democratically enacted Rights Based Ordinances to assert the unalienable right to local self government to protect the health, safety and welfare of people and the ecosystems.
The term “democracy” is derived from the Greeks and means “rule by the people”. Currently, people’s fundamental rights are being denied by the claimed rights of corporations and preemptive measures carried out by the state and federal agencies on behalf of corporations. According to the New Hampshire’s State Constitution (Bill of Rights, Article 10), the state is charged with protecting the rights of its citizens. This includes local self government. When these constitutional rights are denied, reforming the old or establishing a new government is our duty. It is lawful and should be encouraged.
New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) is a nonprofit organization whose members are working towards elevating the rights of communities with a state constitutional amendment. The NH Community Rights Amendment is a proposed amendment that would empower people and their local government throughout the entire state with the authority to enact local laws that protect the rights of the people, communities and ecosystems at the municipal level. Elevating the rights of local government and protecting the rights of its citizens and environment over the claimed rights of corporations is essential for a viable, sustainable future in our state.