The late Tom Petty unwittingly vocalized lyrics aptly prophetic of the current perspective of Connecticut’s ruling emperor Ned Lamont. “It’s good to be king just for a while / To be there in velvet, to give them a smile / It’s good to get high and never come down / It’s good to be king of your own little town.”
I can’t blame the governor for seizing power from a docile, Democrat-controlled legislature eagerly willing to roll over for a gentle political belly rub while the outnumbered and impotent Republican leadership weakly feigns opposition, resulting in the vexatious simulated white noise that fades harmlessly into our subconscious. Connecticut’s long-standing one-party rule has quickly become a one-person rule and the citizens have been cast as the Serfs.
Absolute power is intoxicating and it’s easy to envision the governor sitting on his velveteen throne, barking executive orders to his scurrying minions. Apparently, democracy in the Nutmeg State is old fashion as recently the governor commented on his expanded powers saying, “Having everything up for a vote by 151 people is not the way to go.” Clearly Connecticut is the newest benefactor of a benevolent dictator. One person effectively governing while exercising absolute political power − but perceived to do so with a regard for benefit of the population.
Remember, it’s campaign season, and the well-insulated Lamont, with no election burdens until 2022, can give cover to his Democrat companions who might otherwise feel the wrath of businesses whose savings accounts have run dry − the byproduct of the governor’s multiple executive decisions.
Maybe the majority of the state senators and representatives are skittish about returning to the capital, fearing interactions and debates in close proximity will possibly lead to a COVID-19 outbreak. If that’s the case, should we be comfortable sending kids back to school? Seems a bit hypocritical that children and teachers should simply tough it out, but our elected leadership appears too fragile to return. If kids can sit in classrooms, politicians can vote on issues. Swearing an oath of representation to the people of this state isn’t about the prestige of getting some fancy license plate, it’s about demanding your constituents have a voice.
Put a mask on and go back to work!
Much like King Arthur wielded Excalibur, Lamont brandishes his mighty Bic pen and to date has signed 73 executive orders under the Emergency Powers Act. These orders commenced in March, with the governor’s civil preparedness and public health declaration, which included limiting the size of gatherings to 250 people; waiving the 180-day school year requirement; clarifying nursing home visitation restriction; authorizing DMV to extend renewal deadlines, and relaxing attendance rules for police academy trainees.
His latest came Sept. 1, extending to Feb. 9 Connecticut’s states of civil preparedness and public health emergencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In between, he has ordered the closing of large indoor shopping malls; places of public amusement; bars, and restaurants. He suspended fingerprinting availability at police departments, closed gyms, canceled classes at all public schools, derailed the state economy, and directed the Secretary of the State to move forward on absentee ballots for the Aug. 11 primary.
Connecticut has documented 53,000 COVID cases during the pandemic, resulting in nearly 4,500 deaths. Most of the deaths occurred early, many affecting the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. There is an underlying consensus that Lamont’s response has been nearly infallible. Yet Connecticut ranks fourth-worst behind New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts in deaths per 100,000 people. Maybe In cases of mass consequence, it would seem prudent to surround yourself with elected leadership with the ability to quantify the needs of the state residents, thus increasing the potential for workable safe solutions for everyone.
Evaluating success in a pandemic is tricky and many of the governor’s actions were deemed prudent and warranted at the time. Drawing them out for another five months, however, may have explosive ramifications.
One individual’s vision of right and wrong now handicaps the state’s ability to consider all factors when making decisions. Are you comfortable with one person making every determination on government, business, religion, health care, and education as it pertains to the viral outbreak?
The legislature is completely neutered. The governor’s choices will in many ways determine the direction of your life for the next five months and beyond.
Maybe we all would be better served if he returned the power to the people. What a regal move that would be.
Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides “Stimulating Talk” with a conservative bent.