President Donald Trump insists he is not a racist, but 51 percent of Americans believe he is, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.

Certainly his “send her back” comments about Somalia-born U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and last week’s jabs at U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore did nothing to dispel that image.

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress, has recently been the recipient of vile and racist phone calls and emails – so much so that she is being extra careful about disclosing her plans for public appearances.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who mixed it up verbally with his opponents on the second night of last week’s presidential debates, continues to be the Democrats’ most popular candidate, the Q-poll reported. But author Marianne Williamson, one of 20 Democrats participating in the debates, became the most quotable when she put the blame for the upswing in racism and bigotry squarely on Trump, calling it the “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country.”

One item that the Republicans are not bringing up, however, is U.S. Rep. John Larson’s bill to improve the solvency of the Social Security fund. Neither is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — now nicknamed “Moscow Mitch” —  taking up any  election security bills — including one from U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal that would require candidates or their campaigns to report offers of help from foreign governments.

“The people aren’t in charge of the United States Senate anymore,” observed Sen. Chris Murphy in lamenting the body’;s failure to take action following the latest shooting death — of a six-year-old boy.

The big news last week in Connecticut, of course, was the implementation of the ban on plastic check-out bags that began to phase in on Thursday.

Mary Ann Langton of West Hartford demonstrates how a plastic straw enables her to drink independently.

It is doubtful many fans of getting plastic out of the waste stream have heard the complaints of people like Mary Ann Langton, who has cerebral palsy and opposes the proposed banning of plastic straws.

But speaking of straws, Gov. Ned Lamont apparently experienced his last one just before ordering an administrative review of personnel, staffing and morale problems at two troubled quasi-public agencies — the Connecticut Lottery and Connecticut Port Authority. The governor also launched a major effort to restructure the government’s human resources administration — a centralization plan that officials said could save Connecticut $10 million every year.

More than $3.4 million is at issue in a lawsuit alleging over-billing and false Medicaid claims by Catherine Risigo Wickline —   a member of the state’s Medical Assistance Program Oversight Council. State Attorney General William Tong’s office filed that action, and last week joined Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull in an investigation of marketing claims and practices of JUUL Labs, maker of a popular e-cigarette brand.

There is one real bright spot in the state’s financial picture, at least: the state’s budget reserve has nearly reached a 20-year high.

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Paul SternViewpoints Editor

Paul has more than 40 years of reporting and editing experience at newspapers in New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut. He worked 22 years at the Hartford Courant in various editing roles including as deputy state editor, assistant editor of Northeast Magazine, and as an associate editor at Courant.com. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. A trained chef, he and his wife own and operate a bed and breakfast in an historic home in Mansfield.

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2 Comments

  1. I don’t recall the slave owning Founders of our Nation being called “racist”. Nor Southern Democrats responsible for nearly a century of Jim Crow laws. If President Trump is our most prominent “racist” what are the rest of us ?

    Is there any prominent nation where racism is not a serous problem ? The history of Christian Europe and Muslim North Africa is full of racism and slaughter of innocents.

    What’s truly strange is that America with all its “faults” is the major destination of immigrants. Maybe they know something truly essential about America. Not perfect but much better than most other places.

    In case anyone is noticing America has more middle class Blacks than any other nation and indeed more than the rest of the world. Not too shabby. Always room for improvement. And we did manage to elect a Black President before we’ve elected a woman President. So we’re sexist too. Sigh.

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