Simple relevance remains a big challenge in politics and activism in Connecticut. State government is as insolvent as ever, facing big projected annual deficits and unfunded pension obligations beyond $100 billion. But the state Senate Democratic majority’s agenda for the new session of the General Assembly includes little about saving money or improving efficiency but lots of trivia.
The Senate Democratic agenda would appropriate more money for abortion-provider Planned Parenthood to reimburse money the federal government will no longer give the organization because of its abortion business. It’s as if Planned Parenthood doesn’t have a huge endowment and isn’t in far better financial shape than state government itself.
Also on the Senate Democratic agenda is requiring men’s bathrooms in new government buildings to include diaper-changing stations. A thoughtful touch, to be sure, but an odd one for taking precedence over state government’s many bigger but unaddressed failings, from pensions to poverty.
Over in the House, which also has a big Democratic majority, Speaker Joe Aresimowicz wants to outlaw the use of Indian mascots by high school sports teams. Politically correct, yes, but Indian mascots are not as offensive as the awarding of diplomas to thousands of illiterates graduating from Connecticut high schools every year, an offense that never makes anyone’s agenda at the state Capitol.
The other day at the Waterbury branch of the University of Connecticut, students protested a lunch table serving sandwiches from Chick-fil-A, whose charitable foundation used to support supposedly hateful organizations, like the Salvation Army, that did not endorse same-sex marriage, just as Barack Obama, now a darling of the political left, did not always support it. A few months ago Chick-fil-A’s foundation abjectly surrendered in the culture war, but, fuming with outrage, the UConn students seemed to have missed the story.
Indeed, the students also seem to have missed the endless imperial war in Afghanistan, the Federal Reserve’s subsidies to Wall Street investment banks, and the daily shootings in Connecticut’s cities, among other issues more compelling than chicken sandwiches.
But if state legislators can’t get relevant, how can mere college students be expected to?
Nothing is more important than seeing that children have good parents, and no job is harder than dealing with negligent parents. But that’s what the state Department of Children and Families does, and as reported the other day by the Journal Inquirer’s Will Healey, the industriousness of a DCF social worker, Tanya Cruz of Manchester, recently achieved a miraculous outcome for a bad situation.
For reasons DCF cannot explain because of privacy rules, the department had taken custody of a young boy from his mother and placed him in foster care. No one in authority knew who the boy’s father might be or where he was. But Cruz’s diligent research provided a clue, and more research led her to a man in Belgium.
The man, married with three sons, had no idea he might have a fourth one. But he honorably acknowledged the possibility and volunteered for a paternity test. Confirmed as the father, he wanted the boy to join his family, as did his wife and other sons.
Arranging an international adoption brought more challenges but DCF overcame them and the boy is now doing well in his new home, well loved with blood relatives and with a brighter future than more foster care might have provided.
Maybe someday the boy will reflect on how that DCF social worker saved him. Connecticut should reflect on it now.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut.