I am a big fan of elderhood and I believe that elders have much to offer our society.
But. I am also very well aware that people of all ages can be afflicted by foolishness.
Here is the very unwise counsel that Martin Harty, a newly elected member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, recently offered to one of his constituents…
“The world population has gotten too big and the world is being inherited by too many defective people,”told one of his constituents. “I mean all the defective people, the drug addicts, mentally ill, the retarded — all of them.”
Asked what should be done with those people, Harty said, “I believe if we had a Siberia we should send them to this and they would all freeze and die and we will be rid of them.”
Martin Harty is 91 years old and I don’t mind saying that his words are those of a fool.
There is, after all, “no fool like an old fool.”
Interestingly, in an example of “reverse” ageism, his counterparts in the Assembly have been reluctant to condemn Harty’s rather extreme, churlish and shallow views on the value of human life.
Now for a scrap of good news. Hardy recently had this to say about the experience of being “new” to the Assembly.
I’m a New Hampshire Republican representative. Got slid in during the Republican landslide last fall. So far I really don’t know what I’m doing. The whole process is so alien to anything else. A new Rep really needs a coach along with him at first but there is no room for anyone to sit with him, and no way they could holler at him in a committee meeting.
Am learning the hard way. Little by little. I think that a few of the other first time reps must be in the same boat with me. We’re all sort of bluffing it out. The few votes I’ve made so far I really didn’t know what I was voting for or against. Just looked at the people around me and went along with them.
There is so much pomp and circumstance connected with the legislature. You have to separate the real doings from all the fluff. People who obviously are making very generous salaries come and go as witnesses before the various committees with tidbits of usually self-serving information. You wonder where the money is coming from to pay these people.
Yes, slowly if I keep my health, I’ll master this trade and hopefully be of some use to the state. I like to write about things and applied for this job mostly to have the opportunity to write about politics from the inside. They say the pen is mightier than the sword but you’ve still got to get your scribbling read by the people.
The next step in this fine fellow’s development would be for him to offer to others all of the compassion and understanding he seems to have— for himself.