By Tim O’Brien
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) held a forum, with State Senator Terry Gerratana (D-6) on August 31st in the New Britain Public Library to highlight the growing threats to our democracy from big money politics and voter suppression.
“Too many Americans feel as though their voices simply aren’t being heard in our democracy,” said Esty, in her message inviting the public to join her at the forum. “It’s easy to see why: the obliteration of campaign finance limits, deeply misguided rules treating corporations as if they were living, breathing ‘people,’ and discriminatory voter ID laws have dangerously diminished the power of voters to control their government.”
Also joining the forum were Cheri Quickmire of Common Cause and a representative from the Connecticut League of Women Voters.
Both big money politics and voter suppression have been growing problems nationwide, as opponents of democracy try to keep everyday people from having a voice. They have both also been a huge problem locally in New Britain.
Voter suppression has been an unsubtly racist tool used by some politicians to rig the outcomes of elections by making it hard or impossible for many people to vote. And nationally notorious voter suppression tactics, including voter list purges and threatened polling place closures, are real and present dangers to democracy right here in New Britain, in addition to nationwide.
National politics have become so awash in money from wealthy individuals and corporations that that the voices of everyday people are mattering less and less where the decisions are being made – and our nation is teetering on the edge of losing democracy altogether. The harm to democracy of big money from wealthy individuals has also, unfortunately, been on display right here in New Britain, except that it costs wealthy individuals less money to buy the outcome of our city elections then those on the national stage.
Congresswoman Esty, as well as Sen. Gerratana, should be applauded for courageously taking on those who would rather that our elections are cheated and bought than based upon the will of the people.
Tim O’Brien is Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the New Britain Independent, and is a Columnist for the Independent. He is the former Mayor of New Britain, and also served as State Representative for parts of New Britain and Newington and was a New Britain City Alderman. The views expressed here are the opinion of the author and are not necessarily the views of the New Britain Independent Newspaper, Inc.