CHRIS POWELL: Yellow taints everything in democracy

Published on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:44
Written by Chris Powell

Journal Inquirer

Members of Congress who oppose stronger gun laws are, Governor Malloy says, “yellow-bellied” and “more afraid of the National Rifle Association than of their children getting killed.”

Repugnant as the NRA may be, the governor and others railing against the organization and gun manufacturers are mistaken. For congressmen who oppose stronger gun laws are afraid not of the NRA but of their own constituents -- the estimated 55 million people who own guns and seem largely skeptical of more restrictions.

That’s too many people for politicians like the governor to want to vilify or even argue with, so they blame gun violence on the NRA and gun makers instead.

The political influence of gun owners isn’t surprising. It is only part of democracy.

Indeed, while gun owners may be considered a special interest, they are not on government’s payroll and they are not even half as influential in Connecticut as other special interests.

So what if 55 million gun owners determine national gun policy? After all, a mere 200,000 or so state and municipal employees determine state government employee labor policy in Connecticut. A few hundred mom-and-pop liquor stores determine liquor pricing policy. And two tiny, reconstituted Indian tribes that operate gambling casinos determine casino policy.

If politicians who forfeit gun policy to 55 million gun owners are “yellow-bellied,” what is the belly color of politicians who forfeit government employee labor policy to the unions, liquor pricing policy to the liquor stores, and casino policy to the casino Indian tribes?

What is the belly color of a governor who rails against guns even after awarding a $30 million subsidy to a national retailer of “assault rifles” for opening a store in crime-ridden Bridgeport, the city with the largest delegation at the state convention of the governor’s party?

There’s as much yellow in politics in Connecticut as in Washington, but maybe more self-righteousness and hypocrisy up here.

Posturing on harassment

Democratic leaders in the General Assembly want state law to require nearly everyone who works in the state to undergo sexual harassment “training.” Republican legislative leaders resent that the Democrats did not invite them to strike the same pose simultaneously.

But except for the political posturing the Democrats’ proposal is not necessary, for the sexual harassment and assault problem is not that people can’t distinguish right from wrong but rather that power and sexual desire corrupt people and that harassed and assaulted people have been slow to complain.

Because of a few recent, well-publicized, and outrageous cases, this is changing fast. The solution is more publicity and contemporaneous complaints, not pretending that people don’t know any better.

Merrill shields illegals

The proposal by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill to curtail public access to voter registration data was prompted by President Trump’s quickly disbanded commission to investigate his undocumented suspicion of election fraud.

The commission asked states to provide it only with voter data that was already public under state law. Merrill refused, claiming falsely that the request was an invasion of privacy. She thereby broke Connecticut’s freedom-of-information law, which she was sworn to uphold.

But elections have no integrity when those who vote cannot be identified.

Merrill’s legislation will succeed only in making it harder to determine whether illegal immigrants are voting in Connecticut, a “sanctuary state” that issues identification documents to illegals.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:44. Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:46.