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Letter: In Our Town, If You See Something Say Something

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[Update: The author of this letter would like to be clear that the following information reflects her personal views and is not intended to represent the views of the Town Council.]

To the Editor:

Years ago my young sons came running into the house after school thrilled.

“Guess what mom, the earth is flat.”

Stunned I responded, “No, the earth is Not flat.” 

That was the beginning of an ongoing battle with my kids for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” Whether it was “You know mom, we never landed on the moon” or engaged in discussions of Area 51, we spent a lot of time searching for truth. Without the internet I don’t know how I knew to even listen for “I buried Paul” in Strawberry Fields Forever. 

Conspiracies are exciting. 

Conspiracy theories in the new age excel with the power of the internet. Unfortunately I find myself outnumbered, out-influenced and out-powered in helping my boys sort fact from fiction. It’s a scary realization, as if the internet is Superman’s kryptonite.  

Recently one of our town councilors, gave a thumbs up on a January 6 “Save America Rally” Facebook post posted by a past town councilor. The current town councilor also commented “kickass” along with a thumbs up on a separate “Stop the Steal” rally post as well.

Both these rallies claimed that the election was rigged, a fraud, a lie. The rallies and Facebook posts were a call to action to undo that nonexistent wrong. 

The thumbs up gesture is a mutually understood emoji for approval, praise, and agreement.

Like the “Flat Earthers,” the “Stop the Steal” believers quickly gained traction and followers on the internet. Both are rooted in lies and conspiracies.

Believing the earth is flat, at least as a child, does not hold the same consequences as believing our election process was a fraud, but they both travel the same internet highway at a speed much faster than truth.

Facebook can reinforce our beliefs. I can’t imagine how successful I would have been in defeating the flat earth lie if my sons had seen one of their teachers give a thumbs up on a Facebook post claiming indeed that the earth was flat. 

Who knows better than a teacher? That thumbs up would have tipped the scale in favor of the flat earth lie, in their minds, anyway.

A thumbs up to a dangerous conspiracy or lie by an individual in a leadership position in our town can radicalize members of our community and jeopardize the safety of us all.  As we saw on January 6, there is danger when an elected official, someone in a leadership position, declares a lie to be true.

I don’t like to think about the power a thumbs up could have if given by a member of our Board of Education for a teacher’s Facebook post attending a white supremacy rally, or the influence a police officer’s thumbs up to an Alex Jones rally, claiming Sandy Hook never happened, or the destruction a “kickass” post by our town manager on a rally claiming that our own town’s election was a fraud.

The people in our town and our nation long for unity. We want to feel like one people, indivisible, but in order to have that we must trust each other. A shared belief in our system is necessary to serve our town. Believing an election was stolen by a party is a barrier to trust. What we all believe to be true is stealing is wrong.

The councilor’s Facebook post to concerned residents such as “I’m allowed to wish anyone well I wish. It’s actually an ok thing to do and I don’t need someone’s permission” minimize the danger of supporting lies and conspiracies. 

Defending the posts with “I wish you all put this energy into stopping the riots, torching, looting and cop killing this summer. No, you’d rather focus on 2 words on an old Facebook post. Get a life,” miss the point. People look to leaders to take responsibility for their words and actions, not deflect to an unrelated event with false comparisons. 

In a recent We-Ha.com article our town councilor referred to her posts  as “silly, benign and unrelated.” This response distracts from the very important issue at hand. There is nothing benign about sowing doubt on our electoral process.  There is nothing silly about supporting those who would overthrow a free and fair election simply because the president they wanted told them it was stolen. 

Unreturned phone call, unanswered text, and a Facebook comment on my page: “It’s sad our elections have questionable integrity” lead me to believe there is no common ground for truth here. 

For a short time, on January 6, the future of our  democracy was in the hands of one man. One man that could have chosen a thumbs up to the President, he could have chosen a thumbs up to the lie that at this time he, alone, had the power to right that wrong. Imagine where our country would be if VP Pence acted on that lie? Fortunately VP Pence did the right thing, gave it a thumbs down and sided with fact and truth. 

They say the truth will set you free. Lies, on the other hand, can be deadly. Ask my brother-in-law’s sister whose husband died of Covid because he believed it was a hoax.

While we are entitled to our own opinions we are not entitled to our own facts and a thumbs up tells us what someone believes to be true.

Unity is born in reconciliation, anything less, is just another lie. 

Now back to my sons’ intrigue in the U.S. Department of Justice report on Canadians smuggling aliens into the United States. 

Beth Kerrigan
West Hartford Town Council Member


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  • So here we go again. First West Hartford mayor Shari Cantor and councilor Lee Gold tried to link the capitol event of January 6 to me. Now Beth Kerrigan (once again) continues to stir the pot and spread untruths and slanderous statements. Sigh. It’s getting very old. Every election cycle Beth and her angry posse continually harass me, including taking to the press, with lies and vitriol. She knows these are lies. I guess WH majority party embraces “cancel culture” and would like nothing more than to silence conservative voices. We councilors sit around tables daily solving big town problems, ones that Kerrigan admits are “above her pay grade”, like pension obligation bonds. And this is how the majority party treats their fellow councilors. So Beth, (and Cantor and Gold) what is it that causes you to behave like this? What are you afraid of? I had to listen to you run around in your pink pussy hat screaming “not my President” for 4 years while your party spent 4 years throwing everything at the President to take him down. In actuality, the Russian dossier was funded by Democrats. The hypocrisy and double standards are laughable. I love Democrats calling for unity for our country, when our local ones can’t even unite the council, spewing untruths and fanning political fires. Enough!

  • Never have I been compelled to post any comment on this website until recently. Mary Fey, you and the West Hartford Republicans have my complete and total support. There are many of us in West Hartford that do as well. We are afraid to speak up because of fear of losing our friends, being belittled and as we see in the news, our jobs and therefore our livelihood. What these people are trying to do is exactly how the Soviets silenced their opponents, through character assassination and public shaming. I am a first generation American because of the atrocities the Russian Communists committed in Eastern Europe. I love this country and what it stands for, and I will not run. There are no greener pastures, the USA is the greenest pasture because only in America anyone can find opportunity and better themselves if they work hard for it. I hope others will see through the Democrats mere rhetoric.

  • The problem is that the West Hartford Town Council — both by what it *did* say in a public statements and by what it *didn’t* say — created and nurtured the false innuendo that Mary F. fanned the flames of violence (How did she DO that a day before anyone had a clue it might happen?) THAT was a heavy accusation to make, based on an emoji, and two words with seven letters. And it was also a lie.

    It would have been *nice* if some of the committee members disavowed that lie publicly, instead of murmuring it as an afterthought in the town Council Meeting, as only one or two did.

    And it would have been *nice* if Town council members Wenograd and Kerrigan added ONE MORE SENTENCE to their lectures about lies to the effect that they didn’t believe Mary Fay was supporting violence. But they didn’t, and they let the lie live.

    It would have been *nice* if ONE West Hartford Town Council member made a public statement chiding the Courant for the misleading and sensationalist headline to their news story, which tried to do for Mary Fay what the Atlanta Journal-Consititution did for Richard Jewell. But not a single one did.

    All that talk, and not one person walked back the lie. A lie that could have brought physical harm to a human being.



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