I feel I've been scooped by the good John Hinderaker at Power Line
on a matter pertaining to my beloved state of New Hampshire.
I would be derelict if I did not chime in on the issue. John says:
When I lived in New Hampshire, I enjoyed the perennial battles over the
state's motto, "Live Free Or Die." It was on New Hampshire license
plates then, and still is. The motto has been around for quite a while.
It comes from a quote by New Hampshire's greatest Revolutionary War
hero, Gen. John Stark. Stark reportedly gave a toast in 1809, when poor
health led him to decline an invitation to a reunion of veterans of the
1777 Battle of Bennington: "Live free or die; death is not the worst of
It's been the state motto since 1945. As I pointed out here,
it's really the best state motto. (Although the competition
isn't exactly Olympic-caliber. Maine: "Dirigo", Latin for "I Direct".
Liberals hate "Live Free Or Die." They hated it in the late 60s and early
70s, when I lived in New Hampshire, and they hate it still. The only
difference is that liberals have grown more powerful in the state as
southern New Hampshire increasingly consists of Boston bedroom
Indeed. We even had a case go to the Supremes about it.
(Argued by then Attorney General David Souter, who lost.) So now,
"living free" also includes the right to tape over the motto on your
plates, if you hate it enough. Now that's irony.
So I've enjoyed the latest motto controversy. New Hampshire,
inspired by its more liberal elements--or, more likely, by its real
estate developers--came up with a new
jingle; it doesn't really qualify as a motto: "You're going to love
it here." Feeble, no? Nevertheless, signs displaying the new slogan
were posted along highways entering New Hampshire. The result
This is where John goes off the track a little, unfortunately.
The "You're going to love it here" slogan was the brainchild of
a Portsmouth NH ad agency hired by the
New Hampshire Department of Travel and Tourism.
It's probably not politically motivated, other than by our state's ongoing
effort to get out-of-staters to come in and help fund our state
government. So that, um, we residents don't have to. (And don't think
we don't appreciate it, folks!)
It in no way replaces LFOD, the Official State Motto.
New Hampshire's highway welcome signs haven't, generally, ever had the LFOD motto
(There's one, on I-89 in Lebanon, which remains. My theory is that
it's there to irritate Vermonters, always an amusing activity.)
The welcome signs have pretty much always been bland; the new ones
simply went all the way to total smarmy adspeak.
But, thanks to the utter lameness of the "You're going to love it
here" slogan (as John points out):
The Senate passed a bill Thursday to require the state motto, "Live Free
or Die," on highway welcoming signs. The motto could replace the "love
it" slogan on the beige signs, or, more likely, appear on new signs.
So, bottom line, LFOD fans need not fret. The motto is alive
Amusing side note:
Current news stories have our governor, John Lynch, all for
getting rid of the "generic" slogan; the Concord Monitor, however, recalls
that he thought it was great when it was officially introduced last
summer. Headlines the Monitor: "Lynch liked slogan before he didn't."
(This formulation will undoubtedly be John Kerry's most enduring
(Image, um, borrowed from Fosters Daily Democrat. Thanks
guys. Don't sue me, OK?)