As "Obamacare" long has been on the verge of repeal, financial collapse, or sabotage, people in Connecticut are afraid of losing their medical insurance while others are dealing with big premium increases caused by "Obamacare" itself.
But why should people complain about medical insurance when they still have the war in Afghanistan, which is entering its 17th pointless year?
Connecticut's nominally liberal congressional delegation doesn't complain about the war, apparently because the federal budget is full of money for military contractors in the state. Complaints about the war might get in the way of those contracts.
At least the employees of the military contractors have good medical insurance, even if the money spent on the war in one week might provide good insurance for everyone in Connecticut for a year or two.
As Connecticut's state government enters its fourth month without a budget, people here are also afraid that local school systems will be crippled by state government's failure to deliver the usual financial aid, depriving some schools of as much as half their money.
But why should people complain about schools when state employee jobs, salaries, benefits, and pensions have been guaranteed for years to come? What's a little education compared to the security of those who work for the government?
Indeed, since a Superior Court judge and the immediate past executive director of the state school superintendents association have acknowledged that Connecticut's lower education system operates by social promotion rather than academic achievement, and since, according to standardized test results, most of the state's high school seniors never master high school math and English, why not just cancel school for a few years and put the school money into the state employee and teacher pension funds until they are made sound?
Governor Malloy and the Democratic majority in the General Assembly have signified that state government's pension obligations have priority over every other public purpose, so how much is the mere pretense of education really worth?
SLOSSBERG'S BIG MISTAKE: What a mistake was made the other day by state Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford.
She accepted an invitation to address the college Democrats at the University of Connecticut to explain her vote for the Republican state budget, which sharply reduces spending on the state university system. Introducing herself, Slossberg said she began her involvement in public life as a member of a parent-teacher association seeking to remove from elementary school libraries books containing derogatory racial terms. She spoke one of them, the "N word."
Whereupon the college Democrats exploded in outrage, as if the word can't be discussed even in the context of its reprehensibility and as if the students did not understand Slossberg to be repudiating it.
Slossberg immediately apologized for giving offense, but it wasn't enough. The college Democrats distributed a statement about the incident, seeking to embarrass the senator in news reports throughout the state and causing her to issue a written apology as well.
Of course the age at which people should be prepared to discuss derogatory racial and ethnic terms is arguable, but at some point everyone should come across the "N word" in what may be the most profound and moving passage in American literature -- in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, when the title character reflects on whether he should betray his friend, a runaway slave.
Slossberg's mistake wasn't to use the "N word" with those college Democrats. It was to assume they were adults.
Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.