To the Editor:
The world of politics is sadly becoming more and more a battleground, and not only of ideas, but of actions. This is a dangerous trend, where new precedents of discourse are being set. There was a time where institutions like statehouses, capitol buildings, and courthouses, let alone statues and monuments, were revered and respected.
Today, civil discourse, the cornerstone of functioning democracies, has been swallowed whole by the insatiable hunger of those in government who now concentrate on using their power to divide and manipulate constituencies – rather than good policy that protects the rights of all individuals.
Progressive Democrats, through rhetoric and legislation, continue to divide people by class, gender, race, and every other category imaginable. Invariably, one group is characterized as oppressed and the other as oppressor (e.g. employers vs. employees, housing providers vs. tenants, consumers vs. corporations). Inequities exist, and they are not the norm, at least not until progressive government officials begin un-leveling the playing field in the name of ‘equity.’
They have mastered the art of victimhood and class warfare and we are paying the price as a culture and a country.
When you sow seeds of discontent among segments of the population, what do you suppose the result is? We are seeing this result today in uncivil, and at times violent, outbursts like the Antifa riots in recent years or even recent events in Chicago.
The Left now wraps nearly every debate in their ubiquitous, dividing-line issues of race, gender and/or LGBTQ+ rights to move their agenda while discouraging debate. Reasonable people who might oppose certain policies will not speak out for fear of being maligned, canceled, fired from their job, or even harassed or assaulted. This trend is particularly evident in the legislature, where many bad policies move freely with little or no opposition as a result.
I see this as a dangerous force ripping at the fabric of our national identity and am often the lone voice challenging these divisive and toxic ideas at our State Capitol.
Using the tactics I’ve described, the advocates of progressivism, socialism, and even communism continue to grow bolder. Many measures are advancing in legislatures across our country, and here in Connecticut, that divide us by creating new inequities and ‘special rights.’ At the same time, fewer people are speaking out in favor of protecting individual freedom and true civil rights that regard us as equally entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as well as equal protection under the rule of law.
That’s just wrong. America is the land of equal rights, where each of us is subject to equal application under the law. Sadly, I must report that fewer and fewer people in our state government believe this.
This state of affairs is clearly illustrated by the tragic events in Tennessee last month. After a transgender individual murdered six innocent people, Democrat lawmakers immediately pivoted to ‘gun control.’ Their proposals to ban certain weapons and restrict access only impact those of us who use firearms lawfully and to exercise our right of self-protection. Criminals who engage in robberies and violence are unaffected. They simply do not care to obey these laws, and neither will deranged lunatics bent on mass murder.
Common sense dictates that we should concentrate on school security, mental health, illegal gun trafficking, and crime overall. However, sadly, each of these events becomes an opportunity to further divide Americans about gun rights using emotion and misinformation. Worse, it is seen as a fundraising opportunity for the most unscrupulous of politicians.
Following the tragedy in Nashville, three Democrat lawmakers in the Tennessee state house interrupted unrelated legislative proceedings, marching to the well of the house, holding signs and using a bullhorn, and shut down the discussion and debate. This was a flagrant violation of the House rules and a direct affront to our uniquely American legislative process.
These were individuals duly elected to represent their constituents in a deliberative body of equals. That is how our system works. No one should understand that better than they and yet, they chose to ignore the rights of every other lawmaker and their constituents by preventing their respective voices from being heard. Possibly worse, their utter disrespect and disregard for those who disagree with them, including the other duly elected colleagues they serve with, was on full display during the debate over their expulsion.
Despite the clarity of this incident, partisan Democrats across the country and many other misguided individuals have attempted to transform it into an issue of race following the expulsion of two of the three lawmakers at fault. The third, a white female, narrowly escaped expulsion because she merely stood with the others and didn’t actively protest. Ultimately, all were reinstated due to the breakdown of our society’s respect for equal treatment, fairness, or justice.
I can tell you that if I rose in a hearing room, or on the Senate floor, in Hartford with a bullhorn to disrupt the orderly conduct of the people’s business, I would expect to be in a lot of trouble. I would also expect expulsion to be a very real consequence.
While this story has garnered national attention and interest, its underlying theme applies to what’s happening across our country and state. Those that would undermine our American culture of fairness and equality have become bolder by the day, and we must have the courage to stand up and make our voices heard.
State Sen. Rob Sampson
Sampson, a Republican, lives in Wolcott and represents Wolcott, Prospect, Southington, and Waterbury in the State Senate.