On Election Day our friends at the Barrington Taxpayers Association pre-arranged, with the powers that be, setting up a table at the Town Hall with their BTA materials displayed.
And as often happens in small towns, an anonymous someone complained to the Moderator about the taxpayer organizations materials and after 90 minutes of display were told by the Moderator to cover these three lines of their sign:
* Less Spending = Lower Taxes
* Property Tax Reform
* Limited Government
This happens to be the purpose of the registered NH Non-profit. It exemplifies their political PHILOSOPHY as I have borrowed below from a definition web site (Wikipedia):
“Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown—if ever.”
Now, having the Barrington Taxpayers cover this part of their display would be like having the Barrington Historical Commission, if there is one, cover language in a similar town hall display expressing a desire to save historical buildings from destruction.
The BTA did not express support for or against any specific spending, oppose or support any specific property tax, or any specific method to limit government. They were just saying who they were and in what they believed.
Had the BTA taken a position opposing the purchase by the BHC of, for instance, “The Smith Farm” we would have no quarrel.
Maybe the Barrington Moderator took the right of an anonymous someone to express opposition to an opponent’s philosophy, someone who doesn’t understand the subtle but clear difference between a citizens right to free speech and a campaign for or against an issue, a bit too far.
Chalk this one up to the sad old town moderator motto: “The taxpayer group is always wrong – act first and think later.”
The Barrington Moderator owes Barrington Taxpayers an apology and change in policy.
(Hint, Mr. Moderator: policy is different than philosophy.)