Letter: Smith defends Slossberg as advocate for social justice

Editor's Note: The following statement was issued Friday by Milford Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith.

To the Editor:

I was deeply disappointed by the intellectual dishonesty displayed by both Senator Looney and Senator Duff in a statement they released regarding Senator Slossberg’s recent comments to the UConn Democrats and her reference to an offensive word appearing in children’s books. One cannot avoid thinking their criticism is not entirely objective, given Slossberg recently voted against their budget. A fact they will not soon forget.

Further, Looney and Duff are elected leaders in the State Senate and they should act like leaders. Rather than pile on and encourage irresponsible and inaccurate assessments of what happened, they should have offered thoughtful, constructive and honest comments in support of Slossberg.  They did not.

Elected “leaders” are not always leaders, in the true sense of the word. In this case a leader would have released a statement in which he stated clearly and unambiguously that context does matter and that Senator Slossberg’s reference to the word, in the context in which it was used, was very different than her using the word as her own personal language or self-expression.

If we cannot have an intelligent and mature discussion about race, culture, history and policy among thought leaders without misplaced hysteria and feigned outrage then we will never be able to move our society beyond the racism, bigotry and hatred we still find ourselves confronting now. Senator Slossberg is, and has always been, a tireless advocate for social justice and equality. Both Looney and Duff know that to be true. It is unfortunate that they passed on an opportunity to show leadership.

Richard Smith