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Local official: Jahana Hayes’ platform is concerning

July 27, 2018 By Todd Peterson
Local official: Jahana Hayes’ platform is concerning

Washington's Todd Peterson argues Jahana Hayes' platform makes her a concerning candidate for Congress.

This election cycle has been taking on an insurgent theme, with socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being the latest example. Here in the 5th Congressional District, we have similar story percolating with the candidacy of Jahana Hayes. Ms. Hayes is the charismatic outsider taking on the seasoned insider, former Simsbury Mayor Mary Glassman.

Ms. Hayes’ claim to fame is being named National Teacher of the Year, a considerable honor. Seeing as today’s Democrat Party has become the home of intersectionality, her being an African-American woman has given her a leg up on her opponent despite Ms. Glassman’s heftier political resume.

Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut’s self-appointed political kingmaker, has championed Ms. Hayes in part because New England has no congressional representatives of color. This strikes me as tokenism at its core, but that’s about all a feckless pol like Mr. Murphy can muster these days.

Aside from her career as an educator, Ms. Hayes can’t really point to anything in her background that would stand out as a qualification for serving in the U.S. Congress.

She started her advertising on a somewhat bellicose note, saying that people that “look like her” don’t serve in Congress, even though watching more than six consecutive minutes of CNN or MSNBC would indicate otherwise. This is a rather curious tack, given that Chris Murphy has introduced his political donors to Ms. Hayes – you might call this a “yuge” favor. The consummate outsider is grafted to the consummate insider.

Ms. Hayes tells us that having no political resume is her greatest strength. To those of us who try to learn what candidates actually stand for, what do we go on other than platitudes, clichés, and a telegenic smile?

Once you read past those platitudes and clichés on Ms. Hayes’ campaign site, there are red flags.

Voters can find the following plank of the platform on her website: “I support … “No Fly, No Buy,” which bans the purchase of firearms by people on the FBI’s terror watch list and no-fly list.”

Although this is boilerplate for the Institutional Left these days, there’s plenty to be concerned about with this platitude.

As of 2015, there were 1.1 million names on the Terror watch list. Less than 10,000 American citizens were included on the list.

Non-U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign holders of valid visas are already prohibited from legally buying a firearm.

An L.A. Times (!) editorial weighed in on this with the following:

“One problem is that the people on the no-fly list (as well as the broader terror watch list form which it is drawn) have not been convicted of doing anything wrong. They are merely suspected of having terror connections. And the United States doesn’t generally punish or penalize people unless and until they have been charged and convicted of a crime. In this case, the government would be infringing on a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”

That column ended with, “That leaves us with about 10,000 American citizens (and some legal residents) who, under the proposed law, would be barred from legally buying a firearm in the U.S. That gives us pause.”

As well it should.

Mark Joseph Stern of the online Slate Magazine correctly noted the following: “It [the Supreme Court] has also ruled that the right to bear arms is a “fundamental right” under the 14th Amendment as a component of the “liberty” protected by the due process clause…  If the government can revoke your right to access firearms simply because it has decided to place you on a secret, notoriously inaccurate list, it could presumably restrict your other rights in a similar manner.”

I hasten to remind Ms. Hayes and her supporters that civil rights icon John Lewis, who serves in the House of Representatives that she seeks election to, wound up on that list, along with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and journalist Steve Hayes.

It’s curious that Ms. Hayes is apparently comfortable with selectively eliminating due process under the law to score some cheap political points, when her husband is a police detective and she made a career of teaching at-risk students in an urban school.

While we’re on the subject of denial of Constitutional rights for political gain I’ll pose a few more questions:

  • How about applying the no-fly list or any other instrument to abridging a citizen’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure?
  • Perhaps the Sixth Amendment right to retain competent legal counsel would be low hanging fruit.
  • Maybe the Eighth Amendment protection against excessive bail, fines, or cruel and unusual punishment is expendable.
  • Or why not be bold and take the First Amendment on. Can sanctioning people for practicing their religion, exercising freedom of assembly, or curbing citizen’s rights to petition their government for redress of grievances be on the table under the “right” circumstances?

Before anyone rolls their eyes at the mention of these possibilities, I’ll remind them that once callow careerists in positions of power start pulling at the threads of our civic and political fabric, we can’t be surprised at what ultimately unravels.

Jahana Hayes has made her political candidacy a commodity. In many ways it’s a very sellable commodity. My concern here is that someone who made her living as a social studies teacher can be so willing to take the congressional oath of office beginning with the words “I, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” after running on a platform that regards constitutional rights as expendable given whatever conditional ethics are in vogue at the moment.

Todd Peterson is a lifelong resident of Washington Depot. A paralegal by trade, he also serves as Secretary of the Washington Republican Town Committee and is a commissioner on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Op-eds represent the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the editorial views of Reclaim Connecticut. If you’re interested in submitting an op-ed to Reclaim Connecticut, contact Andrew Lautz (alautz@reclaimct.com).