To the Editor:
Nov. 8, election day in Connecticut is upon us.
On that day we will either continue doing what we’ve always done, and getting what we’ve always gotten by voting for the lesser of two evils or we will be courageous and vote the unusual and unexpected. Polls are trying to predict who will win. They are making those predictions from what we have always done and that is vote along party lines and in fear of voting for a third party.
I’m looking for a real shift in government in Connecticut and so I am voting the unexpected.
Win or lose I just can’t in good conscious continue to vote people into power who care nothing about the issues that impact my life and those around me. I can no longer vote for those who avoid me like the plague. In the last few days we will constantly hear, “No vote, No voice”. Great mantra yet the reality is if we don’t vote for the one who has a vested interest in our lives we won’t really have a voice in decision making about how we should live in Connecticut.
I look at the candidates and wonder who can tell me the price of a loaf of bread or dozen of eggs, book of stamps, cost of taking a train to the State Capitol and how much is child care so parents can work. I also wonder if they know the highest funded state agency is Department of Corrections whose budget rose from 13 million dollars in 1968 to over half a billion dollars in 2022 even though several prisons have closed. I wonder if they know how many millions in lawsuits are paid for medical malpractice within DOC. I wonder if they know about death on the inside including countless suicides. I wonder if they have been inside one of the cages many are housed. I wonder if they toured Garner facility in Newtown where over 400 people with serious mental illness languish in a cage for most of the day. Mental illness created or exacerbated by the trauma caused by incarceration. I wonder if they know countless people leave prison broken in spirit and with shattered minds leading to a lifetime of serious mental illness or addiction. I wonder if they have any idea that many incarcerated people work all day for less than a dollar a day and Correctional Enterprises of Connecticut profits from cheap labor. I wonder if they know that almost half of those being caged in Connecticut are there simply there because they can’t afford bail. I wonder if they are aware that when people say “defund the police” it is actually a cry for help. It is a plea asking that instead of investing millions in policing and caging certain communities to invest in those communities in a meaningful way so all of us can thrive.
Not only do I wonder if they know, I wonder if they care.
For as long as I can remember we’ve been told voting for a third party will split the vote of the top candidates. We were told it was bad thing so we were always held captive to the top two candidates. Many of us remain conditioned in that way and so the top Republican and top Democrat simply take our votes for granted. What we weren’t told is if enough of us voted for a third-party candidate there is a chance of actually getting what we want, someone who is not part of the status quo. We might actually get someone who can actually relate to our experience, one who will invite us to play a role in decision making and to whom we are not invisible. Someone who actually agrees police need to be held accountable for the harm they cause and corrections should not be destructive and punitive and instead rehabilitative and restorative. What a refreshing thought. Hmm.
It’s time to fight for a true democracy instead of telling ourselves we actually one. The fact one candidate filed a lawsuit to keep another viable candidate off the ballot is telling in itself. It’s time, even on a national level, to stop allowing career politicians to govern us when we are invisible to them. I look forward to waking up on No 9 with leadership that actually cares about the voters and their concerns.
West Haven, CT