On Wednesday, the rainbow gay pride flag flew at the governor's residence by order Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The flagpole is shaped like a lower case "t" with the American flag at the top. The gay flag flew from one end of the lower crosspiece. On the other end was the official Connecticut Lotto flag that says "Have you played today?"
I'm kidding. For now.
The rainbow flag celebrated a victory for gay marriage in the Supreme Court. Radio host John Rowland took Malloy to task and demanded to know what would have happened if he, in his day, had flown the National Rifle Association or a tea party flag.
Actually, his attitude toward the residence in those days had less to do with flags and more to do with squeezing it like a wet sponge from which money might possibly squirt.
Rowland's impeachment committee investigated one scheme in which the First Family tried to get $32,000 out of the private "Governor's Residence Conservancy Fund." The money was to finance the publication of Patricia Rowland's "Marvelous Max the Mansion Mouse," which has become one of the most popular children's books in evidence rooms. When they were turned down, the Rowlands got the book money, $41,000 in all, out of the pocket of the guy who ran the fund.
At the impeachment hearings, one legislator asked, "Is it a gift? Is it a loan? Is it an investment? Each one of them is a problem."
That legislator was Mike Lawlor. Last Sunday, he got married. At the governor's residence. To a man. No mice attended. It's just odd the way these things move in a circle, no?
Ever since Rick Perry came up from Texas to lure jobs away from us, I've been thinking about why we live where we live. In Texas, taxes are lower. The dollar stretches further. Lawlor would not be getting married. There's a law on the books banning gay marriage.
Last week, Fort Worth state Sen. Wendy Davis became an international sensation when her 13-hour filibuster stopped a bill that would have closed the majority of Texas abortion clinics. (Make sure you catch the Taiwanese animation video that shows Davis in a Superman costume, a fire-breathing Tyrannosaurus stomping an abortion clinic and the ghost of Ann Richards floating creepily in the air.)
Texas air and water are dirty, thanks to the business-friendly stance on regulation. Poor people are unlikely to have health coverage. If your kid dies in the hospital, you probably can't sue. If you get hurt at work, there's no state-regulated workers' comp. High school graduation rates are abysmal. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas to move forward with a voter ID law unfriendly to the poor and minorities.
To some of you reading this, Texas probably sounds like paradise on earth. You want all that stuff, right?
I don't. I'm really happy to live here, where Mike Lawlor got married. Last month, the annual Measure of America study that compounds data on health, longevity, education and income, ranked Connecticut best in the nation.
There was a Texas state rep named Mark Strama who described Texas's problems in terms of a thought experiment by the moral philosopher John Rawls: imagine you were not yet born and didn't know if you'd be rich or poor, healthy or chronically ill, blind or otherwise challenged, gay or straight, white or of color. If you would hesitate to be born in Texas, that indicates your reservations about the justice there.
Maybe you've noticed lately that the people who run Connecticut have been getting, as they say, on my last gay nerve. My questions about their integrity, their respectability, their commitment to justice, and their fitness to govern run deeper than I expected them, too. I might have to fight hard if I want Connecticut to mirror my ideas about rightness. But on balance, this is a good place for someone like me. Worth a fight.
And Strama? He left the Texas legislature last week to go to work for Google Fiber. Which is basically the Matrix. Eventually, this whole debate about states will be moot, and we'll all be Googleplasm. So enjoy it while you can.
Colin McEnroe appears from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays on WNPR-FM (90.5) and blogs at http://courantblogs.com/colin-mcenroe/. He can be reached at Colin@wnpr.org.