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A too-calm Joe Courtney, in the time of Trump

One positive thing that has come from the installation of Donald Trump as our president is the new political activism that he has engendered.

Democrats across the country have stirred awake and seem to be warming to a new role as opposition party.

Voters not happy with Trump's sloppy execution of a scary agenda, from robbing people's health care to give billionaires tax cuts to rolling back the clock on environmental protection, have found new voice in protest.

One successful tool in this new activism is the town meeting, which Washington politicians traditionally have used as feel-good meetings with constituents when back home. This year, many of them have gotten big doses of blowback instead.

I tuned in this week to a telephone town meeting with our own Rep. Joe Courtney, since I missed a recent live session he held in Norwich.

I came away disappointed, not with the positions the Democrat representing the 2nd District has staked out, all squarely in opposition to the new Trumpism of Washington.

The congressman's calm diligence, his even-mannered consideration of the issues, his bent toward bipartisanship, which have been the hallmark of his successful terms in Washington, this time struck me as being a bit shy of the task at hand.

It seemed like being warned to use smoke detectors and to never store oily rags inside, while a huge fire rages all around us.

Indeed, as the callers to the town hall meeting, pre-screened, laid out their many anxieties in the time of Trump, from fears about Medicaid to climate change and flood risks, Courtney responded with soothing retorts.

The congressman, competent as ever, showed a broad knowledge of the issues, specific legislation, proposals being aired in Washington and the things that make his district tick. He said he checks the job posting site for Electric Boat every day.

In answering questions, Courtney was the reassurer in chief for his district, promising to "bird dog" specific issues and to be "watching like a hawk." He promised to watch like a hawk several times.

He also promised a lot of bipartisanship.

I am not sure about the others listening, but I didn't appreciate all the talk of bipartisanship and accommodation. I want to hear a loud voice from the new party of no.

I know that Courtney's calm bipartisanship has been a winning formula for the district, which can see new submarine jobs being created well into the distant future.

But these are not ordinary times.

We have a president who is cozying up to an autocrat in Russia while insulting our Democratic allies in Europe. He is working for middle America only in his rhetoric while crafting a new gilded age for the very, very rich, including the billionaires who surround him in his cabinet.

He lied about his predecessor wiretapping him, while his White House tried to blame our closest allies of helping.

I don't want to hear my congressman talk about bipartisanship anymore. I don't want a hawk watching. I want him to swoop down and attack.

I'm even a little tired of hearing about submarine-building jobs.

I want our congressman to start yelling fire and better help all his constituents see through the ruses of a reality TV president and understand exactly what Trump and his shameless GOP enablers are doing to hard-working, everyday Americans.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


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