Governor Lincoln Chafee promised a new era of leadership that would end divisiveness and bring unity to the state.
During his inaugural address he suggested the need to reaffirm Roger Williams’ vision of a “civil state” ... a vibrant, diverse community that is free of political, cultural and ethnic division. It seemed to be a good beginning until the new Governor declared his priorities to be two of the most divisive social issues of our time, immigration and homosexual marriage. And then rather than maintain the courage of his convictions, Chafee suggested that these were issues of economic development.
Rhode Island is now in a morass of double-digit unemployment, increasing home foreclosures, rising homelessness and poverty, and massive budget deficits. Businesses are fleeing the state while others are simply going out of business. The young people of our state face a failing public education system. Citizens daily look upon the decaying infrastructure of buildings and roads. Cynicism towards government and distrust of politicians abound. Yet the priority of our new Governor seems to be focused solely upon stoking the flames of divisiveness and discord.
Ignoring the hard realities of economic decline facing our state by promoting the distraction of social issues does nothing to advance the common good of our citizens or help to create Roger Williams’ “civil state.”
It seems Mr. Chafee is focused upon “the lively experiment” of homosexual marriage and immigration rather than the real problems facing ordinary Rhode Islanders. Trust Chafee was the slogan of his campaign. So far he hasn’t given us much to trust.