Chris Powell: A little satire might defeat sanctimony in Connecticut

Published on Saturday, 26 August 2017 20:20
Written by Chris Powell


Because Connecticut is almost two months late with a state budget, schools are laying off teachers and social-service organizations are neglecting the disabled. But last week Governor Malloy and other elected officials in Connecticut found time to attend a couple of “vigils” against “hate and bigotry.”

So boo to hate and bigotry, and hooray for being against them. But now what exactly are we supposed to do about them besides strike sanctimonious poses and proclaim our righteousness?

Are we supposed to outlaw expressions of hate and bigotry and maybe knock down Confederate war memorials? That is, should we repeal the First Amendment, whose enforcement by a court, at the behest of the civil liberties union, guaranteed the right of the neo-Nazis to march through Charlottesville the other day, just as the First Amendment and the courts guaranteed their right to march through Skokie, Illinois, in 1978?

Should there be national denunciations of every expression of hate or bigotry anywhere, no matter how ineffective such expressions are, despite the benefit of publicity to the crazies? Or, since many of the crazies are looking to brawl in the street, is it better to ignore them, lest someone be killed, as someone was killed in Charlottesville?

In any case the political left is far better than the political right at sanctimonious propaganda. This is especially true in Connecticut, which, with the political left in complete control, is not just a “sanctuary” state but a sanctimony state. It could use some political balance, and there are many opportunities for satire here.

For example, now that Confederate statuary is starting to come down in the South and Yale University is removing John C. Calhoun’s name from a residential building because he supported slavery, why not hold a “vigil” complete with candles on the New Haven Green calling for the renaming of the university itself, since its founding donor, Elihu Yale, was a slave trader? After all, American Heritage magazine reported in 1999 that Yale’s founding owed far more to Jeremiah Dummer, a clergyman and agent for the Massachusetts colony who raised money for the school and who solicited the donation that came from Yale himself. But, the magazine added, the school’s trustees didn’t like the sound of “Dummer College.”

How about a candlelight “vigil” at a group home in Hartford calling for money to be taken from state employee raises and excessive paid leaves and diverted to care for the disabled?

How about a candlelight “vigil” at state police headquarters in Middletown calling for disclosure of the report of the investigation of the three troopers who inadvertently recorded themselves fabricating the arrest of an innocent man in 2015?

In Connecticut a little satire from the right, being so unusual, might be more effective than the usual sanctimony from the left, which is getting tedious. So hey, hey, ho, ho - sanctimony has got to go!

But anyone who criticizes government administration in Connecticut, or the lack of it, must be ready to be accused of hating or at least being mean to government employees. It’s their way of changing the subject when mere dissembling isn’t enough, as the husband of a state employee dissembled in a letter on this page last week.

Relying on the state employee unions’ talking points memo, he declared it remarkable that because of the unions’ new “concessions” agreement, 30 percent of the state budget deficit will be closed by only 2 percent of the state’s population.

But that’s not remarkable at all. For that 2 percent of the population is paid a third of the state budget.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Column on Saturday, 26 August 2017 20:20. Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2017 20:22.