Wishing For a More Civil Campaign
To the Editor:
I had hoped that our local politics might be above the level of the national political contest. That is why I am particularly distressed by the campaign literature I received today. A mailing from the McCabe 2020 campaign proclaims, “Tony Hwang is a nice guy, but his record in Hartford shows he’s wrong on the issues: He voted to allow guns in parks and playgrounds.…” There is a reference to House Bill 5539 and a website, www.tonyfacts.org (which I highly doubt has Senator Hwang’s approval). I thought it odd that Senator Hwang would want guns is Dickinson Park or the Sandy Hook Elementary School playground so I decided to look up the text of House Bill 5539. Thankfully, the text of the bill is short and to the point; I suggest that you search for it yourself. The title of the bill is “AN ACT CONCERNING FIREARMS IN STATE PARKS.” In essence, the bill allows permitted owners to carry handguns in state parks.
There is no mention of town parks or playgrounds. To be fair, www.tonyfacts.org correctly mentions only state parks and not other parks or playgrounds. However, the campaign mailing statement itself is not slant or spin, it is just plain false or at best deceptive. I would also note that as far as I can tell, HB 5539 was not voted on by the legislature but instead “died in chamber.” The bill was sponsored by the Judiciary Committee in which I assume Senator Hwang has a seat. Why should we allow handguns is state parks? That is a good question, but I doubt that the reasoning behind the sponsorship of HB 5539 is quite so simple as implied.
Joseph de Maistre once said, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” It took me five minutes to find the text of HB 5539 and read it. I went to the source, not an analysis or a synopsis, but the actual text. I made my own judgement and found the facts to be somewhat less alarming than at first glance. If one candidate distorts facts to support their position it puts tremendous pressure on the opposition to respond in kind. If a vigilant electorate calls out such disinformation, the drive for the lower political ground will be blunted and we might hope to see a return to a more civil political process.
I am pleased to see more substantive issues in campaign literature rather than the standard unsupported platitudes of lower taxes, better education, support our seniors etc. Really, what politician admits to supporting higher taxes or worse education? I understand the pressure for political spin and inflammatory statements, nonetheless, in the future I sincerely hope to see a more honest, fact-based comparison of the candidates.
Yun Kee Chung
2 Crows Nest Lane, Sandy Hook October 13, 2020