The Mistakes of Aught-six
"Grampa,” my inquisitive great-granddaughter asked, “the teacher told us that New Hampshire used to be special but now it is not. Is that true?” “I am afraid so,” I said as I pulled her onto my lap. “What happened?” “The war in Iraq messed it up.” “But we won the war in Iraq.” “Yes, but before we won it people thought that we had lost it.” She shrugged her shoulders and raised her hands, palms up. “Huh? How could that mess up New Hampshire?” “Back in aught-six the war was not going well, we had made lots of mistakes. People got disgusted and voted out nearly everyone in Washington and Concord. The new people in office got all giddy and started messing with everything. “The next thing you know we got a seatbelt law, a smoking ban, regulations on builders and contractors. We got civil unions, almost got marriage of anyone to anyone, or anything.” “What do mean about the marriage, Grampa?” “Ummm, well…ll, errrr, your mother can explain that, uhhh, where was I?” “The new people were messing with everything.” “Oh, yeah. They even made it illegal for a little one like you to let a balloon go.” “Uh oh, I did that on my birthday. Are they going to arrest me, Grampa?” She looked down, twisting her hands in her lap. “I’m a criminal, aren’t I?” A tear welled up in the corners of her eyes. I hugged her, “No sweetie, you are not a criminal. They repealed that silly law in aught-nine.” She looked up at me. “So these people messed with everything and New Hampshire had lots of new rules and laws. Did that do it, Grampa? Did that make New Hampshire like everyone else?” “Yes and no.” She scrunched her eyebrows together. “I don’t understand.” “Well, besides all the new laws and regulations they spent a lot of money, more than ever before. Do you know where the government gets money to spend?” “Daddy says it comes from him.” “Well, it comes from every mommy and daddy, grampas too. Since they spent more they took more from people. Of course, they tried to hide what they were doing because people do not like giving money to the government.” “How did they hide it?” “Oh, they raised a little here and a little there. But the big one was for the schools and they set the courts up to take the blame for that. Property taxes shot up and people got upset. Do you know what the Legislature did then?” “Noooo.” “They tried to make it look like they were giving people property tax relief and they implemented a sales tax. With that money spigot open the Legislature spent even more and New Hampshire became like everyone else. That’s how it happened.” “Can we fix it and make it nice again?” “We tried when we ran that bunch out in aught-eight but it was too late. Can’t put that genie back in the bottle.” “Oh, goody. Tell me a genie story, Grampa.” “Well, let’s see. Once upon a time there was this genie that packed ivory-handled pistols, long ago, before gun control ...” NH Most people think John Bachman is retired but he insists he’s a professional hobbyist. Ask him about garlic farming, umpiring, reproduction dial covers, electronics and even writing at firstname.lastname@example.org.