What I saw last Thursday was a lesson in hate and intolerance of people in their community that have different ideas. As I said when I spoke, I am not a Free Stater, but I know what it’s like to live in a state where my wife and I finally said: “We have to get out of here.”
I didn’t know about the Free State Project, and I wouldn’t have joined them for my own reasons, but we came here on our own in 2007 for the second time. We only came from Maine, but other stories were more compelling that evening. Maine has a sales and income tax, where NH has neither. We received a yellow paper from the State of Maine one day called a Use Tax Amnesty Letter. NH residents will not understand this, and you should be thankful.
Use Tax is when you buy something out of state such as on eBay (at the time, Amazon wasn’t big), or you buy a refrigerator or a package of balloons in NH and didn’t pay tax on it. Maine expects it’s residents to keep track of it and send in 5.5% sales tax for every purchase.
The letter was only a phishing campaign to get people to pay up 2 of the last 3 years of tax, forgiving the smallest year. At that point, a feeling came over me and it felt like something tightening on my neck. Some of us can actually feel oppression – it’s a physical thing, not just an emotional one. We moved 2 hours away to New Boston within 3 months.
That night, we heard from someone from China, South Africa, and Seattle, among other places. I can’t hold a candle to their stories. Depending on what news channel you watch, you may not know that whites are having their farms confiscated in S. Africa because they are white. This person came here and somehow they need to be “outed” by Granite State Progress. They feel that your community needs to be warned about them.
The Chinese woman talked about how happy she is to be in a free country, and especially NH citing the state motto, “Live Free or Die.” But rather than a welcome committee, this meeting resembled the Salem Witch Trials. I saw tears from some after they sat down and it was clear to me that this was only a political smear campaign against a class of people. This presentation clearly hurt these people.
The audience had mostly members of the local Democratic party, and I think they own it. They, the party of inclusion and tolerance, are the opposite of that and endorse character assassination in our sleepy little town. Unless there is a public apology for this divisive presentation, I have to say that New Boston became just another town like any other and is not exceptional because of how we treat our fellow residents. All that talk about how quaint, close-knit and New Englandy it is, doesn’t overcome the hate that bubbles under the surface when it comes to newcomers.
Anyone who supported this or whose head bobbed to the affirmative during that meeting should look in the mirror and reflect on what that would feel like if you happened to check a box before you moved to a state that is more free than where you came from. Maybe it would invoke a feeling of empathy. Also consider if a Free Stater put on a presentation of how your local State Reps are evil and can’t be trusted with anything because they are working hard to legislate less freedom to you. I think it would be a less civil meeting.
The presentation included many stories based on rumors and hearsay and showcased some Free State members that both sides agreed were bad apples, who were shunned by their own. Every group has bad actors, just like Dems, Republicans, and any other group under the sun, but Zandra Rice Hawkins (also a transplant from out of state) made sure the audience knew the connection of the bad apples and the FSP and held onto that. She also didn’t consent to being videotaped. How Interesting.
The host also made it clear that they maintain a database of who is and who is not a Free Stater.
I remember one time when I asked a local Democrat leader if he thought I was one, and he was so sure that I was not. But how? This database also has quotes from Free Staters, and I bet now it will probably contain quotes from non-Free Staters too.
Maybe there is a Free Stater Sympathizer database. For as vindictive as Granite State Progress is, it would not be a surprise. This presentation reminded me of the slanderous websites of two of our past State Representatives. Their domain names, meaning their real names spelled out, were purchased by someone in California that seemed to care quite a bit about those two tiny little $100/year seats.
No one in the local Democratic Party seems to know about it, but their own flier had similarities in it, which I had in my hand that night and the local Democratic Party Treasurer argued that what I saw in black and white on that flier meant something different to him. It was exactly the same term I saw plastered across Keith Ammon’s photo on this website. Secessionist. A word I have never heard him use, and we are close friends.
Keith Ammon spoke and the host quickly found a quote that Mr. Ammon said in the past and read it aloud to the group. A smear? If not, it was definitely not meant to allow Mr. Ammon to make his point without a rebuttal from the host. She treated everyone the same in that respect. She knew a lot about some of the people that spoke. One woman, not a Free Stater, spoke about similarities between the FSP and why she is here. As she sat down, Zandra Rice Hawkins asked her to tell the story about her son’s “Robin Hood” experience to which the woman was delighted to talk about her kid.
That was the bait. He was one of the ones that put quarters in the meters in Keene to save people from parking tickets. She told the story and sat down. Zandra then said that it was harassment of meter maids and some quit over it and she said the town sued the individuals involved. The woman jumped up and said, “They won in the Supreme Court!” No matter – Host rebuttal of someone speaking after they sat down was par for the course.
We were told that Free Staters sometimes open-carry firearms. I don’t like that myself, but it’s legal and it has always been that way. She said that Murphy’s Taproom is a Free State hangout. I’ve been there and it seemed like a nice place – I had no idea I could be surrounded by people that moved here for the same reason I did. I didn’t see any open carry, but I’ve seen it in other places before such as an ice cream stand before.
She said that sometimes Free Staters ask town clerks if anyone ran for a local office just before the closing period and they ACTUALLY PUT THEIR NAME IN FOR LOCAL ELECTIONS. Are you kidding me? This happens all the time – it happened last year for a school board seat, but she was a likable person and a townie so that was okay, right? She really is a good person, I’m just pointing out that it’s not unusual and she is an asset to the school board. So, it’s better for the seat to go empty than for “those people” to volunteer their services?
Zandra said that Free Staters SLASH BUDGETS! Uh oh, I support that too! Throw me overboard and see if the Devil keeps me afloat. Are you coming on horses with torches or pitchforks?
Kaleb Jacob is a small business owner and the Chairman of the New Boston Taxpayer’s Association.