My little joke got out of hand

Last modified: 3/24/2011 12:00:00 AM
Well, I've put my foot in my mouth and I'll have to live with it. Since that conversation I had with Sharon Omand got splashed around, I haven't had much peace. She called me up a week or so ago to ask for a favorable vote on funding the state unit which helps the mentally impaired people.

With my little wife Arlene in the hospital, and after talking to several people who almost demanded that I vote for their pet projects, even though I hadn't read the bill, the committee recommendations, or the Republican steering pink sheet, I was in a lousy mood. So I got somewhat fresh with Omand. I recommended doing away with most of these people who could no longer do useful work and save the money we'd been spending on them. Of course, anyone should know that this was impossible in this day and age and I must be kidding, but she took me seriously.

We talked about the population explosion and the fact that some of these things might come true when the food and water was pushed to the limit, years from now. She asked me leading questions, which I answered as crazily as I could. So she said 'You're a lot like Hitler,' or something like that. I tried to say 'He wasn't all bad - the Autobahn and the Volkswagen.'

That got broken off as she asked, 'What can we do with these people?' or something like that.

I replied with that which got me in a lot of trouble: 'We could rent some land in Siberia from Russia and send them all up there.'

She said, 'You're just like Hitler' and then hung up.

So I thought, 'Well, that's that,' not realizing that she was a political activist and got her week's pay from the money we were talking about. Omand right off started to spread all this foolishness around with the politicos.

Now I know about these things but do not really advocate them. The only thing I would like to see done along these lines is to find some way to reduce the thievery in the next generation. If anyone can figure this out, I'd support it. I certainly don't want my little wife to be whisked away from under my arm. And if I was driving a bus and they filled it up with homeless people and told me to dump them off at some abandoned logging camp in the North Woods, I would absolutely refuse to do it, even if it cost me my job.

However, when the words of our conversation got bandied about, people took them literally and got to hate me and believe that I was some sort of SOB. Of course, this was titillating news and the internet jumped right onto it. One of our boys, Tommy, called up from Jacksonville, Fla., and said he'd seen it and 'we don't need this.'

National news

People started calling me up. Most wanted to give me hell. One fella talked for 20 minutes and called me lots of unprintable names. He also suggested that I step out in front of a bus.

I got a call from a lady in Missouri who, after she calmed down, chatted quite pleasantly with me. She said she was 51 and her children were grown up. She would like to come to New England this summer with her husband. I told her if she does get up here to look us up and we'll buy her a cup of coffee. She actually gave me her phone number.

A guy from Clearwater, Fla., who was a banged-up Vietnam veteran called. So disabled, he had to use a wheelchair. An interesting man to talk to.

Just a while ago, a man from Wisconsin called. I guess he read between the lines on that stuff about me and he supported me. Said he had worked with the governor down there and they were going through a process a lot like we're going through up here. He said he went down to the capitol to look at the demonstrations and that the Tea Party people didn't impress him.

A lady who lives near here and has been a close friend for years stopped by. She has had political experience and told me that with what has been printed in the media and the scuttlebutt about me I was all washed up politically and should resign right off.

I guess she's right, but through my whole life I've never liked to back away from my problems. Some of the phone callers have asked me also.

An apology, resignation

Some reporter said I refused to apologize. I don't know how they got that, because no one has asked me to apologize. So I didn't have anyone to refuse.

So I'll say now, if anyone has suffered at all from this, I'm very sorry.

As any thinking person should know, all that I said to that girl was farcical because it is apparent that it would be absolutely impossible to put into practice any of those terrible things.

However, if we do not have a full-scale nuclear war and the earth becomes teeming with humans, some of these things may actually become routine, and the world will accept them just as this country has silently accepted approximately 20 million abortions so far in the 21st century.

I wrote the above on Sunday and on Monday resigned from the House. I still don't have a clue what caused me to spout off like that, thinking I was talking to one girl but really talking to the world.

In real life I wouldn't advocate these things at all.

I hope some good will come of all this - perhaps making people more aware of the pain and suffering all around us.

(Martin Harty is a former Republican state representative from Barrington.)

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