by Charles A. Monagan
Nov 1, 2011
07:43 AM
On Connecticut

Two Connecticuts

 

A report was released last week that showed Bridgeport, and by extension Fairfield County, has the greatest income disparity in America. The report comes as no surprise at all to anyone who's been to downtown Bridgeport and nearby Westport or Fairfield. In fact, it's been well documented that Connecticut as a whole is a place of economic extremes.

But this week, Connecticut has become a place of even starker extremes: those who have power and those who don't. There are people who woke up this morning in Bridgeport tenements who were able to turn on a light, switch on a TV, cook some eggs and take a hot shower. At the same time, there were neighborhoods of minimansions in suburban Southbury or Simsbury that sat cold and dark, with no estimation of when power might be restored. For a few days anyway, the idea of rich and poor has been turned on its head - the haves and have-nots look a whole lot different than they usually do.

It reminds us that there are many measuring sticks beyond money by which to categorize people's fortunes, or the way they feel about life or themselves. There are those who are in good health and those who aren't, for example, or those who are young and those whose time is running out. Some of us are blessed with friends and family, others feel lonely almost all the time. 

This is not to suggest that the grinding daily hardships of poverty can be compared with a temporary power outage. But riches don't always have to be measured in gold; sometimes, as during this memorable week in Connecticut, they can be measured in kilowatt hours.

Two Connecticuts

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