I saw an editorial cartoon recently that for me, perfectly captured the plight of this nation at this year’s political crossroads. The drawing had opposing, side-by-side panels: on the left Democrats were together to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. One of the signs read, “Us!”
The right-side panel showed Republicans supporting Trump. The sign in that crowd read, “Me!”
Local Republican candidates Logan, DeBarba, Streicker, and Southworth have yet to explain how fealty to their running mate, Donald Trump – and today’s “me first” Republican party – reflects the best interests of Woodbridge and its residents.
Consider their qualifications. In 2016 George Logan emerged from the executive suite of a utility company to consistently tow the Republican line in Hartford, with unilateral support for restrictive public policy. Both Dan DeBarba and Margaret Streicker still spend their professional energies in New York, with no public service record in Connecticut whatsoever. Mike Southworth has had to publicly apologize for a years-long trail of repugnant, misogynist social media posts.
How can voters realistically expect these candidates to represent the pressing needs of Woodbridge families?
The Democratic slate features Jorge Cabrera, who spends every day helping hardworking Connecticut families, Mary Welander, who serves Orange residents on its Board of Education and in two other leadership positions, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who has worked effectively, and with distinction, on behalf of this district for decades, and Senator James Maroney, previously a state Representative, who works professionally helping students prepare for college.
Beyond their failure to bridge this qualifications gap, the Republican candidates remain unwilling to condemn the excesses of their running mate, Donald Trump. Their silence makes them complicit; they must therefore be held accountable.
Some Democrats think the worst feature of these Trump years has been converting the Oval Office into an ATM, through which Trump and his family reap huge financial rewards. Others think the worst thing is Trump’s blatant, almost boastful immorality: his admitted assaults on women, his incessant lying, and his ongoing failure – still, after all these months – to protect Americans from the worst pandemic in 100 years.
In some circles people are outraged by Trump’s determination to concentrate wealth among the already wealthy with contemptable tax cuts for billionaires and jaw-dropping, coronavirus relief giveaways to corporations.
None of this seems to bother Logan, DeBarba, Streicker, nor Southworth, however. They remain eager to sell this current Republican brand with no questions asked. I, therefore, question their suitably to serve.
I believe some of the worst of all Trump’s crimes are committed against the very nature of this nation. I condemn Trump’s utter contempt for the government he leads, the people it serves, and laws of the land. I’m ashamed of how he devalues the United States on the world stage, mocking allies and dealing amicably with dictators. I cringe at how Trump makes hate fashionable, literally dividing Americans by race, religion, economic standing, immigration status, gender, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and language spoken – contradicting the very name of this nation.
I believe Democrats will reverse these destructive trends undermining American society. I believe Democratic candidates Cabrera, Welander, DeLauro, and Maroney will help restore civility, trust, reason, and predictability to this state and to this nation.
Perhaps U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-5) put it best last week, the day after her virtual campaign event was hacked and terrorized by racists and their hateful invective. “I am tired, completely and utterly tired. No, actually I’m exhausted,” Rep. Hayes wrote. “It does not mean that I am broken, or that I will give up. It does not mean that I do not love my country or recognize that one person does not speak for the majority.” And then Rep. Hayes quoted Edmund Burke, ‘“the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good people to do nothing.’”
This week, Woodbridge voters can act decisively to restore logic, reason, stability, and decency to this state and this nation, and put to rest the bombast of these past four years. A vote for the entire Democratic slate is a vote for “us” – to improve conditions for all.
By Laurence Grotheer
Laurence Grotheer is the current chairman of the Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee. His experience includes more than 20 years in state and municipal government working professionally, in appointed positions, and in elected office.