I find I get into a lot more interesting conversations with grocery store employees now that Connecticut has a ban on plastic bags.
It came up on two occasions just the other day, at lunch when a young woman apologetically told me it was going to cost me an extra dime to put my sandwich into a bag, and later on when at the grocery store I asked the person at checkout whether the bag I’d brought along was going to accommodate all the stuff I’d dumped on the conveyor.
I’ve had a checkered experience when it comes to getting along with the plastic-free program. I have a half dozen bags near the door at home, and an average of three of them in the car at any given moment, but the battleground is in the mind and — let’s put this kindly — I’m not the most organized person. So if I don’t remember to bring the bag with me into the grocery, all is for naught.
So I’m at the counter and she says, oh yeah, no problem. And then, because there are times when I just can’t help myself, I tell her about how I’d read that in Southington the thought was that people had voted Republican because of plastic bags.
Interestingly, she seemed to know instantly what I was getting at. And my guess is that you’ve had conversations, perhaps many of them, like this: when you don’t have to use even so many words to agree about government getting too much into your business, into everybody’s business.
“I don’t know why I stay here,” she said.
And my reply was one of those observations that just come out:
“Because it’s beautiful.”
“Oh, yes,” she agreed. “I love it here.”
That’s the dilemma. Connecticut is a jewel. If it was junk, we could just pack our bags. Put it in the rearview mirror.
I came up with a weird syllogism the other day. A syllogism goes like this: Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Socrates is mortal. You get the idea.
My syllogism goes like this: If you don’t like Trump, you can’t have plastic bags.
That’s a double negative. So let’s put it more frighteningly: If you don’t like Trump, you get tolls.
So I had thought, considering the momentum that had been momentuming, that Republicans would make gains in the state legislature in the election before the one we just had. It had been trending that way, and my figuring was that it was good, for the simple reason that having all the power in the hands of one party is not good.
But then Trump came along and ruined everything. People didn’t want to show support for Trump, the reasoning goes, so the GOP got plastered in the state elections.
So we’re back to all the power in the hands of one party — and you get ... tolls, maybe, and no plastic bags. (I should like to take advantage of this opportunity to point out that I am entirely in support of banning plastic bags — I’m for saving the planet as much as the next tree hugger — but you and I can recycle until we’re blue in the face and it won’t make any difference until the big-shot culprits, as in corporations, get on board).
So now comes Southington, where every Republican candidate won.
“The Republicans were wise tying the local election to the state issues,” Cheryl Lounsbury, a Republican who used to be on the Town Council, told the Record-Journal. “The Republicans tied it to the state and I think people are getting more and more upset with the state.”
And, yes, this includes plastic bags. “People are just fed up,” said Lounsbury.
How this bodes for the next election, which is a presidential election, is beyond me. But Chris Palmieri, Democratic Town Council chairman, made an observation that is not at all good for Democrats: “Knocking on doors, and even at the polls, people were bringing up a lot of distaste with the state Democrats or federal Democrats,” he said. “I think people are upset with tolls in the state and the impeachment hearings at the federal level. We’re trying to say, at a local level, we’re very different.”
That’s a tall order, like local or state Republicans trying to distance themselves from Trump.
And I have a feeling we’re going to be talking a lot more about this in the year to come, perhaps even at the grocery store checkout.
Reach Jeffery Kurz at 203-317-2213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.