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To the Editor,
They say that all politics is local. No time more than this week have I seen evidence of this mantra.
Senseless gun violence stories aside, I’ve rarely teared up at a news story. The space shuttle Challenger was one. A story in the mid ‘80s about a small child successfully rescued from a well shaft after days of being trapped was another. I’m sure there have been others in the past.
This week, I found myself tearing up at another story, one about 50 migrants being shipped from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard … by the governor of Florida, no less.
The border story has been in the news for years. Since the Reagan administration, congress and presidents have failed to improve the process for people arriving at our border to legally enter the US. A large portion of these folks are migrants, fleeing oppressive regimes and risking death or jail simply by wanting freedom.
Recently, the governors of Texas and Arizona (two border states) have been busing migrants to other states and areas like NYC and Washington, DC. It was a misguided publicity stunt done at taxpayer expense to curry favor with their base of voters. This past week, Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, and never one to miss a news cycle, chartered a plane at Florida taxpayer expense, had the plane flown to Texas, picked up 50 migrants and flew them to Martha Vineyard of all places, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts and dropped them off, unannounced! In the process, he sent his PR people along for the “ride” to capture the event on video, told the migrants that they were being required to travel, and promised them a place to live, food, and jobs if they complied. All lies, and all at Florida taxpayer expense.
This all from the leader of the state that experienced the Mariel Boat Lift in the early 1980s which transformed the state culturally and economically … all on the backs of migrants who fled communist Cuba. Look it up.
The governor took the path of outrageous behavior over thoughtful political thinking. He did it for “likes and follows” so to speak because that is all a lot of people today care about!
Locally, this week We-Ha.com broke a news story about a potential affordable housing project here in town. Affordable housing projects are difficult to accomplish for many reasons, but the proposed project is a potential winner because it is on a piece of land containing the former Los Imperios lounge which was a constant source of police activity, and the West Hartford Inn. It is an ideal location, walkable to town, with immediate access to public transportation, and at a location that has been a challenge to find a developer for.
Almost immediately after the news story broke, the West Hartford GOP lambasted the plan using outrageous rhetoric, as opposed to thoughtful political argument. They stated on their social medial pages and where the story was posted that we didn’t need “affordable housing slums” in our community while offering no alternative. The comment was echoed by the town GOP party chairperson in other threads.
The GOP has banged the drum of “family values” and being the “party of Christianity” for decades. The problem is they are not backing their words with actions, quite the opposite in fact.
Governor DeSantis likely broke several laws in his abduction and transport-under-false-pretense of 50 innocent migrants. Under a murderous regime in Cuba, what would those migrants think and do today if they were forced to flee for Florida?
The local GOP leadership shrank the size of their tent again this week not only making it clear that they do not want affordable housing and a chance for struggling families in West Hartford, but using discriminatory comments to make their views clear. Following the national lead, local GOP attacks and lambasts those it does not understand or agree with. We witnessed several local GOP leaders leave the party nearly two years ago over just this type of extremism. At some point, reason must trump extremism.
7th District Chair, West Hartford Democratic Town Committee