Tag Archives: politics

Republican Party Members:

Republicans to Blame For Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Crisis

Republican Party Members:

Republican Party Members:

By: Joe Suszczynski

Congress thankfully opened the government back up by voting to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, which did not let the country go into default. However this averted crisis should only get so much praise as funding for the government is only extended to January 15, 2014 along with the debt ceiling being extended to February, 7, 2014. The government is essentially doing what college student normally does when writing a term paper: puts it off and keeps procrastinating on when to start and complete it.

The insane part about all of this is that this whole government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis could have been avoided. Yes, the crisis was averted, which is great and I’m happy that we did not default, but that it is not the point. America did not need to be subjected to a government shutdown costing thousands of jobs for honest hardworking people along with coming down to the wire when making an agreement on the debt ceiling. Congress needs to get its head straight, because it’s currently in an orifice where it doesn’t belong.

Republicans should take a lot of the blame for this crisis. Although, it should be noted that 87 Republicans in the House and 27 Republicans in the Senate voted for the deal. They should get some credit because they played ball and put the country ahead of their politics. However 18 senators and 144 members of congress voted against the bill, all of whom are of the Republican Party. There was not one Democrat, in either house, who voted against this bill. Counting both houses 162 Republicans would have rather have the country default than voting yes on the bill.

That is an utterly despicable and unpatriotic thing to do. It is unpatriotic to let your country be financially destroyed because of your own personal politics being clouded of what needs to be done for the sake of the people you represent.

The problem with the Republican Party is a small sect within the party itself, the Tea Party, is causing all the issues in both Houses. You’d think that a small part of a bigger party would not be a problem, but it is.

After his 21 hour charade of a filibuster Senator Ted Cruz, a prominent member of the Tea Party Republicans, is still out to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. According to an aide, Cruz does not rule out another chance of a government shutdown in the future. I hope that he isn’t serious about not ruling out another government shutdown. The government shutdown cost America billions of dollars so what would possess the senator to do something like this again when it could create more resentment within Americans?

It is completely asinine to the point where even members of his own party are speaking out against him. Arizona Senator John McCain called Cruz a “wacko-bird.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker criticized Cruz’s filibuster and has said, “I’m just asking the question, is it more important to the senator from Texas and the senator from Utah (Mike Lee) that the people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint?”

Cruz really needs to dial it back now that the government is back open for business and the popularity of Republicans have been going down. Pew Research Center currently has Republican disapproval rating at 72%. That isn’t very reassuring when nearly three quarters of Americans disapprove of the Republicans in congress.

It is time for the Republicans to stop obstructing the government and start working with it because if they don’t and keep staying the course then their popularity will go down and will potentially cost them seats in the House and Senate in future elections.

The modern Republican Party has been around over 150 years now and has boasted some great presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, but as of today they are beginning to show some signs of instability. The Tea Party has been driving the Republican base more and more to the right where even moderate Republicans cannot get elected. The moderates have either been thrown out of office or forced to keep moving right on the issues at hand.

The fringe elements of a political party should not be the place to set up the base of the party because it is so extreme there would not be any room for any type of compromise, which is essential to running a multi-party government. Republicans need to start moving and advocating more centrist or center-right positions in order to gain any favorability with the American people.

If the Republicans keep moving too far to the right, they just might fall off the cliff and the party will be no more.

Letter To The Editor Graphic

Letter To The Editor: Government Shutdown Harms Americans

To the Editor,

At 12:00 AM October 1st the Federal Government “shut down”. The federal Government’s fiscal year runs from October 1st to September 30th, and this year Congress could not agree on a budget, primarily due to the partisan divide on the issue of Obamacare. With no budget for the next fiscal year, federally run programs and jobs have been halted. House Republicans insist on passing any new spending bill that includes provisions to defund, derail or otherwise chip away at Obamacare. Senate Democrats are just as insistent that the spending bill will not.

As Congress continues to be stuck in a stalemate; the American People Suffer. Over 800,000 people are not going into work today, while millions of others are, and are not sure of whether or not they will get paid. Congress has agreed that the Military will get paid for their work along with other “essential” staff, including Congress themselves.

This argument has to end. The fact that Congress cannot agree and will not compromise is utterly unacceptable. To quote a former United States President, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. Abraham Lincoln was correct; these childish antics have to stop. Regardless of whether or not Republicans in the House believe what they are fighting for is just, they simply cannot win this debate. This shut down is weakening our economy, our political system and our image as the greatest democracy in the world. I encourage Americans to write letters to their elected representatives and remind them that they were elected for a reason, that reason being to better America.

Austin Swan, SGA Commuter Senator.

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Taxes, Education Focal Points At First Mayoral Debate

By Taylor Skirvin and Eric Stadalnik

New Britain- Republican Mayoral candidate and CCSU graduate Erin Stewart continued to sell her youth as the right answer for the city during the first debate at Trinity on Main Saturday afternoon.

 

Stressing that the current administration’s tax hikes and wasteful spending was not sustainable for the future, the twenty-six year old GOP nominee asserted that the city needs change and deserves better than incumbent Tim O’Brien.

 

I’m different, I’m not a politician, but I’m sick of seeing our city leaders mismanage our future,” said Stewart. “With Mayor Erin Stewart, you’ll always get straight talk; I’m a New Britain girl.”

 

Stewart, a lifelong New Britain resident, believes that the city government has not been working for the people over the past two years while showing fiscal irresponsibility leading to debt growth.

 

In contrast, Mayor O’Brien feels that the future is bright for New Britain. According to the Democratic nominee, the deficits and social shortcomings left for him when he took office two years ago have been fixed under his administration.

 

There is so much possibility that New Britain has for a better tomorrow. We have accomplished, in my administration, so much in such a short period of time and we have such great possibilities to build in the future,” said O’Brien.

 

A surplus of $2.9 million in the general fund was announced this past week which O’Brien restated at the debate. The extra money was said to come from payroll reductions and department reconfiguration while not raising taxes, although many audience members jeered the Mayor when he made the statement and Stewart brought her car taxes to refute his claim. Along with the surplus, O’Brien proclaimed that he continues to create jobs in the city as well as supporting local businesses.

 

A city partnership with CCSU was also discussed in regards to helping the development of downtown New Britain, from moving programs to the Technology and Business Development facility to being a major stop on the CT Fastrak when it is operational.

 

I have made a very strong effort to make sure that our city’s arts are properly funded, turning around years of underfunding to be able to make sure that our city is going to be able to have the quality education that our kids deserve and that our city economy will need,” said O’Brien.

 

Stewart agreed with her opponent in regards to the importance of education as she has been serving on the New Britain Board of Education shortly after finishing school. She believes that she and her fellow B.O.E. members have made substantial changes to quality of life of students.

 

Although young, Stewart has been around politics much of her life, having been a legislative aide at the Capitol, and growing up with a father in politics. The eight years prior to O’Brien’s term as Mayor, Stewart’s father Tim Stewart was mayor of New Britain.

 

A second Mayoral debate is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st at 7:00 P.M. at New Britain High School but O’Brien has turned down a third debate sponsored by the Citizen Property Owners Association, a group that has been highly critical of the Mayor’s policies over the last two years.

 

An additional debate is being discussed though, according to the Hartford Courant, which would take place at CCSU, jointly sponsored by campus Republicans and Democrats.

 

Thankful For The Debates

By Jonathan Stankiewicz

Two weeks ago my editor wrote about “a need for less debate” when it comes to the GOP and their debate schedule. He has a point in many respects, but I don’t agree with him.

Keep in mind that I am an independent and that I love the debates.

What I do agree with is the media frenzy over the presidential election that has started earlier and earlier. Having GOP debates a year and a half before we vote for our next president seems a bit irresponsible, but it may have a purpose.

We should be weeding out the people we don’t want running our country. Two weeks ago in Las Vegas, the country saw it’s most exciting debate yet.

The debates are being overshadowed by Herman Cain’s situation, where women and others are coming forward about sexual harassment allegations against Cain from his time spent at National Restaurant Association. Cain, who is currently at the top of the recent polls, is calling the claims “baseless” and has and will continue to campaign.

As Proch said in his column, the debates will be, on average, every 10 days until March once they start up again this week on November 5th. Yes, the bickering will start up again. Yes, the finger pointing will start up again. I can’t wait.

The bickering helps bring out the worst in people. That will only help voters decide for themselves who it is they will choose a year from now.

Many have asked what must other countries must be thinking when they see the quality of Republican candidates. I say, ‘Who cares?’ Isn’t this why we are having all of these televised debates? Let’s see who has what it takes to act under pressure amongst a group of people who are fighting for the same job. We need to have them prove themselves now.

When we look at previous campaign years, the number of debates is less than what we have had.

“By this point in 2007, Republican candidates had participated in 10 debates, two more than have been held in 2011. (For Democrats, there had been 13.),” said Dylan Stableford and Chris Moody from The Cutline on Yahoo! “Right now, there are 13 more debates scheduled for the Republican presidential primaries, for a total of 21. There were a total of 26 Democratic primary debates and 21 for the Republicans in the 2007-2008 presidential election cycle.”

The debates also allow for certain candidates to have a national voice that otherwise couldn’t. The last presidential election had Mike Huckabee, who America liked so much he now has his own show on Fox News. And this year we have the likes of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul to voice their opinions. Their ideas may appeal to some people that agree with them and not the top tier candidates this time around.

Ultimately, all of this is fodder for Obama. All our current president has to do is sit back and watch what’s unfolding in front of him. The race has gotten too combative for some and if Obama is taking notes from the debates he should already be one step ahead of the Republican candidates. Right?

Republicans have the ability to take over the presidential campaign soon enough. Obama’s rating is steady, but below the 50-percent mark. And hopefully with a chance to spice up the upcoming debates even more, Republicans may try to find the most electable among them.

Editor’s Column: AAA Politics

By Nicholas Proch

“A little to the left. Too far. Your left. That’s not left.”

Sweat is beading down both of our foreheads. I, standing in my khaki pants and button down shirt, have now become a dictator from the other side of my car.

The person I’m yelling instructions to is clad in dark blue scrubs and a yellow reflective work vest. We’re standing in the sun in the parking lot of Hebrew High School of New England.

The glass and steel box that is a Jeep Wrangler is a statement of simplicity in a vehicle. The only thing they didn’t skimp on was the door locking mechanisms.

Over an hour earlier, I was late for teaching my second class at HHNE. I decided to put my cell phone in the glove box, so I would not be one of those administrators whose phone rings after they expect you to not have one yourself.

In the process of putting my phone in the glove box, something that I never do, my subconscious was overly concerned with getting to my class on time. It also may have also gotten confused about what my hands were doing.

The usual process of getting out of a vehicle is as follows. Park. Turn the car off. Take the keys out of the ignition. Put said keys in your pocket or bag. Lock the doors. Shut the doors. Walk away.

Somewhere in that process I got distracted. Possibly by the aggravating schedule I keep or just the simple fact that I threw my brain a curveball by reaching for the glove box. Sorry for adding an extra step and throwing us so far off course!

As I walked away from the car I realized I didn’t have my keys in my pocket. I also remember that I had locked my trunk the previous night when I went to the movies. My trunk is always unlocked, but I thought it would be foolish to let it sit unlocked in the Loews’ parking lot in Plainville for several hours.

I told myself I would deal with my car afterwards. So here we are, back to the parking lot with the burly Latino man from the American Automotive Association, or AAA (Triple-A).

As he worked to get the door open for me, I stood there and thought about how ridiculous it was that this was even happening. It also occurred to me that this is just another example of what we should be doing as a country.

AAA was founded in 1902. It got its start because of a demand for service and repair on the nation’s growing road infrastructure. It was created due to the fact that roads and streets were literally damaging cars. The association was formed as a club. This club would take care of its members and help them get to their destinations safely. They provided, and still do, maps, road side services, driver training and the list goes on.

What struck me was the fact that we did this without waiting for the government to do so. The painful stretch of time that we now call the ‘Obama Administration’ has turned us into dependent lumps. We are waiting to be saved. There was once a time when Americans would take it upon themselves to fix a problem.

Because of AAA, and their vast amounts of members behind them, the departments of transportation around the country had to listen to the voice of the motorist. It’s time we did that with politics. We may have been founded on this basis, but we certainly have lost it.

“You’re really close. Just a little to the left.”

Click.

“You got it!”

At this point, this service agent and I were now jubilant and yelling. It may have taken a half hour, but victories like this make you really appreciate a system that works.

Higher Ed Deal Aims to Preserve University Missions

By Matt Clyburn

A deal to reorganize the governance of Connecticut’s higher education institutions was reached yesterday after a week of discussions between the Office of Policy and Management and Higher Education Chairperson Roberta B. Willis.

The agreement contains many elements proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy during his budget announcements in February, including the creation of a single Board of Regents overseeing the four Connecticut state universities, twelve community colleges and Charter Oak State College.

The agreement also calls for the creation of an advisory commission reporting to the Board of Regents. The commission would design and implement a strategic plan for the state’s higher education system, including the University of Connecticut.

A press release from Malloy’s office stressed that state universities, community colleges and Charter Oak would remain separate entities with distinct missions. Each of the three groups will have a “lead individual” serving on the Board of Regents, presumably to advocate for policy and governance policies while a member of the body.

“I’m pleased that we were able to tie up loose ends and formalize this proposal on behalf of our state’s students who choose to attend our community colleges, regional universities and Charter Oak,” said Mark Ojakian, deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management in a statement. “In the end, it’s the students who win. By flattening our administrations costs and overhead, we can direct more money to our student and classroom instruction.”

“This proposal will help make these schools more functional to those who attend them,” Ojakian said.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Laura Tordenti spoke to the SGA senate about the agreement at their meeting last week, saying that the plan will be in place by July 1.

“I think that Central will continue to thrive with the reorganization,” Tordenti said.

In the statement from the governor’s office, Rep. Willis of the Higher Education Committee said that she was originally concerned about the individual institutions’ missions.

“They serve a critical and defined need in our communities, one that must be maintained even as we seek efficiencies and savings,” Willis said.

“The commitment to a strategic plan is important,” Willis added. “The Advisory Commission will have an ongoing and permanent role, needed for us to be able to adjust to changing needs in Connecticut and responsive to student needs and workforce development needs in the state that our higher education system can address.”

Back in February, Malloy called for an annual report from the Board of Regents that identifies retention and graduation rates, resource allocation figures, cost-benefit analyses and an “affordability index” tied to Connecticut’s average family household income. The report is expected to include information related to enrollment and completion figures sorted by program of study, credit transferability across institutions and employment outcome data provided by the Department of Labor.

Rep. Willis said that more specifics need to be worked out, but that the plan is based on a need for change and improvement.

“In the end, we can improve student learning, help close the achievement gap, prepare student for 21st century jobs our state will need to move us forward, and make higher education more efficient and effective.

If passed out of the General Assembly, the plan would take effect in tandem with implementation of the state budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

[Updated May 2]

Budget Agreement Will Affect Students’ Wallets

By Matt Clyburn

After 17 town hall meetings with the public and weeks of negotiations in Hartford, Governor Dannel Malloy reached a $40.2 billion budget deal last Wednesday with Democratic leaders in the Connecticut General Assembly.

The deal will raise taxes on income, retail sales, corporations, gasoline, alcohol, cigarettes and inheritance. Though the plan excludes proposals to raise various sales taxes and impose taxes on haircuts and car washes, the state plans to raise nearly $10 million in a new “Amazon Tax” that levies a tax on purchases made over the Internet.

The budget agreement succeeded in raising the tax on retail sales, including shoes and clothing under $50, from 6 percent to 6.35 percent. The new tax rate will also apply to over-the-counter drugs, cosmetic surgery, pet grooming, limousine rides, valet parking at Bradley International Airport, manicures and pedicures. Gasoline and diesel fuel taxes will be increased by three cents per gallon.

Democrats rejected Malloy’s proposal to eliminate the annual “sales-tax-free week” in August meant to ease the tax burden on families with students returning to school. Car sales over $50,000 and jewelry sales more than $5,000 will be subject to a higher seven percent sales tax.

Malloy’s original proposal would have charged the 6.35 percent rate on the first $50,000 of a vehicle purchase and seven percent on the amount exceeding that level. Now, a car retailing at $50,000 would cost $53,500 after taxes.

Deal-hunting shoppers were concerned about a proposal that would have charged sales tax on the full value of an item discounted by coupons. Under the proposal, a coupon applying a 10 percent discount to a $100 item would still be charged $6.35 in taxes, rather than $5.72 on the discounted $90 total. The deal reached Wednesday will avoid the coupon tax.

Many Republicans criticized the plan for raising taxes during a down economy, but were hopeful that the governor would be able to strike a deal for $2 billion in concessions with state workers. Democrats have been in negotiations with the state employee unions for several weeks but no deal has been reached.

“We are willing to work with all representatives of good intentions to resolve the state’s problems – Republicans and Democrats,” Malloy said in a recent statement.

Malloy said that he listened to Republicans and members of the public in improving the budget he presented in February.

“[The budget] asks more of our wealthiest residents who can afford it, it softens the tax burden on the middle class, while maintaining funding for schools,” said Democratic leader Rep. Chris Donovan in a statement at the capitol Wednesday.

Republican State Sen. John McKinney was not as enthusiastic, saying that a $2 billion hole in the budget left by the assumed savings from state employees might be unconstitutional.

“If they want to pass a budget and the governor wants to sign a budget prior to getting concessions, what happens if those concessions don’t come?” McKinney said.

“We are pleased to see that the budget has seen some improvements, such as asking the very rich to pay more of their share, as opposed to other ideas, like eliminating the property tax credit, that further hurt struggling working and middle class families,” said the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) in a statement.

“We will continue our discussions with the governor to see if common ground can be found between him and those struggling middle class families who happen to work for the state,” SEBAC said.

The budget and appropriations committees passed the budget deal on Thursday and Malloy asked the General Assembly to vote on the agreement as soon as possible.

“I want a vote as soon as we can get it,” Malloy said in a statement Monday. “If as soon as we get it is tomorrow, I’ll take it…if the soonest we can get it is next week, I’ll take that. One way or another, we need a vote.”

With Marijuana Legislation on Table, CCSU NORML Plans Second 4/20 Event

By Nick Rosa

With Governor Dannel Malloy backing bills for marijuana reform in Connecticut and April 20 (4/20) right around the corner, there is much to talk about.

Ever since the bill to allow medical marijuana in Connecticut was introduced in 2007 by the state legislature, it has been in and out of discussion. The 2007 bill to legalize medical marijuana was passed by the legislature, but former Governor Jodi Rell vetoed it.

Another bill has been proposed by Malloy to go along with the previously proposed medical marijuana bill. The proposed decriminalization bill would reduce penalties for people who have less than a half ounce of marijuana. They would be charged with an infraction, equivalent to a parking ticket, and would be charged with a $100 fine. On Tuesday the judiciary committee passed the decriminalization bill.

“I think the bills are good, for one thing it’s a step in the right direction. People will realize marijuana isn’t really that bad, it’s been relatively hyped up by the government and people in power per se. Decriminalization hopefully will get rid of imprisoning non-violent offenders,” said Larry Vitko, president of the CCSU chapter of the National Organization for Reforming Marijuana Laws.

Vitko also said he is against the medical bill because of certain fallacies in the debate, but overall supports it as a step in the right direction for legalization.

The medical marijuana bill would require patients to register with the Department of Consumer Protection and also have their physician certify that there is a medical need for marijuana. Another proposal would allow patients to grow their own marijuana for medical use since no dispensaries will be placed in Connecticut.

If Connecticut passes the bill for medical marijuana it will become the sixteenth state to allow it, and if the decriminalization bill passes Connecticut will be the fourteenth state to have marijuana decriminalized.

The new decriminalization bill would work with Malloy’s efforts to reduce Connecticut’s prison population, which will help save the state millions of dollars. A report in 2009 by the Capitol’s Office of Fiscal Analysis said that there were 9,928 marijuana arrests in 2007. A third of those arrests were of possession of less than an ounce.

According to the report, the decriminalization bill could help the state save up to $11 million and generate $320,000 annually in revenue from fines.

At a hearing earlier in March, Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said, “Our state should not encourage illegal drug possession and use; however, possession of small amounts of illicit substances and related paraphernalia for personal use should not leave a person with a life-long criminal record.”

Malloy and Looney both agree that incarcerating small time offenders isn’t good for Connecticut and marijuana prohibition isn’t working.

With April 20 right around the corner and the new legislature still up in the air, Vitko and the other members of CCSU’s NORML chapter are putting together a daylong event in the student center circle on campus as a follow-up to last year’s event.

“This is our headline event, the 4/20 event, and last time I checked we have eight bands coming to play from 12 to 8 p.m.,” said Vitko. “During the event we will be handing out different educational pamphlets and different things to raise awareness about marijuana and try to educate the public on this issue. Most people don’t know really know all the facts, to be fair it’s kind of hard to know all the facts since we have been shielded from them our whole lives.”

The music festival, which has CCSU NORML working with booking group The Arc Agency, will feature local bands and others from the northeast including (The) Tony Castles, Jacobi Wichita and Deadhorse. Before next week’s event Vitko is getting advertisement ready and trying to get some radio time to get the message across. The event will be have marijuana awareness to help the young voters realize what these bills are and what they will do for Connecticut.

“There’s going to be education, fundraising, a little bit of everything,” Vitko said. “I expect some decent turnout no matter what and last year there was a phenomenal turnout but I hope this year will be better.”

NORML wanted to do something different this year to get awareness out there, so Vitko did just that.

“The big difference is the bands because the Central radio station played last year and we didn’t really agree with it, they really didn’t play our requests, they just kind of played their own music and wasn’t really music you’d play on 4/20, so we’re just going to play some bands and should bring in a bigger crowd,” said Vitko.

Malloy Addresses Budget Concerns at New Britain Town Hall

By Matt Clyburn

Governor Dannel Malloy made an appearance in New Britain last Tuesday for the fifteenth of 17 town hall-style meetings with the public.

Malloy hoped to gather views and opinions from the public that might improve his plan that calls for $1.5 billion in tax increases, but said that none were innovative enough to solve the projected deficit of more than $3 billion.

“I [have] yet to find somebody who says, you know, that they actually have a way better,” Malloy said.

The governor spent some time at the beginning of the town hall describing features of the budget plan.

“No borrowing of money to cover operating expenses, it’s not good policy, in fact it’s horrendous policy,” Malloy said after acknowledging the unbalanced budget former Governor Jodi Rell gave to his administration in February.

“These types of forums are the heart and soul of American democracy,” New Britain Mayor Tim Stewart said in his introduction of the governor. “I think the governor deserves recognition for taking his message directly to the people.”

Stewart recently lost an election to CCSU alumna Theresa Gerratana in a bid to represent New Britain, Berlin and parts of Farmington in the State Senate. The unsuccessful run came to a close less than a week after Malloy’s budget announcement.

Stewart now faces his own budget shortfalls as the Hardware City’s mayor, though Malloy said last week that he will not pass the state’s financial difficulties on to municipalities.

“We also refuse to balance our budget on the backs of New Britain or other communities by passing cuts in the state expenditure,” Malloy said.

Malloy compared the state to the deep cuts taking place in New York and New Jersey, saying that Connecticut is already too dependent on high property taxes.

“How would our balancing the budget [by raising property taxes] help this community, or for that matter any community in Connecticut?” Malloy said. “We are more dependent on property taxes than any other state in the nation.”

Malloy faced a skeptical audience in New Britain that challenged the governor on issues ranging from government policy to health care.

“I think that you have put a lot of creative thinking in the decisions you’re making related to the budget, but I don’t think that there has been a lot of critical thinking,” one resident said.

Another resident and state employee expressed concerns about the ability to pay in the face or tax increases and concessions.

“I actually believe this is the right framework,” Malloy said. “I know how difficult it is for you and your child in college…I know how difficult it is for me to face people like you.”

Malloy said that there will not be a ‘one size fits all’ budget solution.

“What I think we’re trying to do is find the right way, but if you have a specific cut you want me to be aware…we’ll be happy to take a look at it,” Malloy said.  “I don’t think there’s a perfect way to do it.”

“This is the package. The rudiments are there. We just have to find our way as a state to get there,” Malloy said. “If we do, then ultimately we’ll begin the process of building confidence in our state for the first time in many years.”

Bathroom Politics

By Matt Clyburn

It’s difficult to put into words just how much I despise public bathrooms. It doesn’t take someone living with obsessive compulsive disorder like myself to tell you that these places are both literal and metaphorical repositories of human waste.

A quick trip to the bathroom, for me, quickly becomes a hellish journey to the psychiatrist’s office. It will take more than a few minutes to run through the rituals that’ll make this place clean enough to perform a decidedly unclean act.

Finally, I sit down. What a pleasure to have time to enjoy the scriptures that have been etched into the stall by my forefathers – truly biblical statements that highlight the wise and philosophical thoughts of modern humanity.

Toilet paper and trash litter the floors; everything is wet, no one knows why.

I spent most of my first two decades either resisting or working up the courage to enter public bathrooms. Now that I’ve embraced them as a necessary evil, it occurs to me that my avoidance of such a place is quite backwards.

The cleanest and most upstanding among us avoid these places like the plague, yet society’s figurative fecal matter will go in and trash the place – giving both the venue and its inhabitants a bad name while making the situation worse for the rest of us.

If only people like me controlled the turf in the public bathroom, if only we didn’t resist, we just might make a better place for everyone. Our resistance to serve as leaders and standard-bearers is precisely what qualifies us to participate in the process.

While I’ve been fighting my own private battle with public restrooms, I’ve also walked among the public as a political science student, an engaged employee of a great company in Hartford and an active member of my hometown community.

Despite encouragement from the people that see me embrace each of these roles, I spend a lot of time either resisting or working up the courage to enter the public policy and political arena. It occurs to me that, much like public bathrooms, my avoidance of the situation is quite backwards.

The cleanest and most upstanding among us avoid Washington like the plague, yet society’s figurative fecal matter will go in and trash the place – giving both the venue and its inhabitants a bad name while making the situation worse for the rest of us.

If only people like me controlled the turf in the political arena, if only we didn’t resist, we just might make a better place for everyone. Our resistance to serve as leaders and standard-bearers may be precisely what qualifies us to participate in the process.

If my observation is correct, then we must stop leaving public policy to those that would just as soon turn our nation’s capital into a toilet.