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The International Writers Magazine: New York Politics

New York City Blues
• Dean Borok
A great American parliamentarian is quoted as having declared, “All Politics Is Local”. That being the case, municipal politics is super-local. Mayoral elections are too close to ground level to ignore. That’s why I can’t support the idea of Christine Quinn being elected Mayor of New York City.

The attention of the entire world is constantly focused on New York all the time, and the idea of being represented in world consciousness by a loudmouth bulimic reformed alcoholic (the worst kind) militant lesbian is more than I am prepared to endure on a 24-hour news cycle basis.

What she does on her own time is her own business. They say that Mayor Ed Koch was gay. He got his start in the Greenwich Village Democratic Club, after all. But one look at Koch, who resembled a freakin Muppet, convinced the voter that his sexual orientation was “none of the above”. It’s a long way from Quinn’s attitude of hectoring from every rooftop that “I’m a gay lesbian with a wife!” Are we supposed to listen to this low-marketing identity politics endlessly, every morning on the news channel for years on end?

That’s her base, the homosexual community. If she’s hoping to appeal to other sectors of the population on the basis of the issues, then she has got a huge problem. She has waffled on every other issue like a weather vane, to the extent that nobody knows where she stands on anything anymore. For a long time she criticized the Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, for enforcing the Stop and Frisk policy against young black males, but then she realized that Kelly is very popular and that the issue was hurting her instead, so she did an about-face on Kelly and declared she would retain him, were she to be elected. But that didn't stop her from calling Kelly and screaming at him in front of the press when one of her interns wilted from the summer heat and the ambulance was tardy in arriving. Empty gestures like that are the plat du jour for this broad.

Hey, if you belong to the homosexual subculture that enjoys being dominated by pushy, idiot mother substitutes like Quinn or dominatrix Vogue editor Anna Wintour, be my guest! It’s an Idiot’s Delight. I frankly believe that New York City is too important to be governed by the stunted pre-adolescent sexuality (as diagnosed by Sigmund Freud) exemplified by Quinn and Anthony Weiner, who has lent a whole new dimension to campaign advertising by wiggling his digit for all of humanity to appreciate on the World Wide Web.

I actually intend to vote for Weiner, who is as useless an appendage as can be imagined, just to stick it up the butt of the freakin mass media, which has erupted in rage against him. I recall this woman telling me “I feel sorry for his wife”. Don’t feel bad, lady. Weiner’s wife was certainly treated to an advance showing of the same lamentable exposition, which induced her to marry him. Maybe the guy’s got something there: I once exposed myself to an East Side socialite at a drunken party, and we ended up dating for a couple of years.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be another case where the Republican candidate, whom I anticipate to be Joe Lhota, to clear the table. After the Manhattan sandbox crew finishes playing out its psychodrama reality show version of “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, the Republicans will sweep the four outer boroughs, where the issues are a little more clearly defined (more money), by presenting a realistic candidate who competently ran the transit system and served as deputy mayor under Giuliani for several years.

I’m not celebrating. For a hugely Democratic city like New York to regularly cough up Republican hairballs is an indication of the emotional dysfunction of its ruling classes, about which I have been incessantly complaining for years. What is keeping New York afloat? Not brainpower. More like inertia. They readjusted the school achievement tests, and now it turns out that only a quarter of graduation students are anywhere near literate. Practically every company I ever worked for in this city has since gone under. I recall lamenting on so many occasions, “How is this company surviving?”, and now I got my answer – it’s not! Incompetence, nepotism, thievery and self-indulgence to the vanishing point are all massive tears in the hull of a ship which is being guided into an iceberg in any event. Just go down to Mexico’s Yucutan Peninsula to see how many cities which were built to last for eternity are now extinct.

Nevertheless, investment keeps pouring in. We’re going to have a new world-class soccer team, the New York City Football Club; the Barkley Center in Brooklyn has attracted the NBA Nets team, Rolling Stones concerts, boxing, the Islanders hockey team, etc.; Coney Island is experiencing resurgence with all new Italian-engineered rides and equipment. Foreign investment is pouring in like crazy because of New York’s dynamic marketing promotion. If these foreigners enjoyed a vivid appreciation of New Yorkers’ true psychological state, they wouldn’t be so eager to invest, believe-you-me!

The only problem is – there are no jobs. Since Obama put the lid on corporate stealing, the financial industry is moribund. Manufacturing activity is already an historical curiosity of nostalgia. The legal industry has contracted so much that law schools are firing tenured professors. Basically, there’s no job growth anywhere. A fantastic proportion of New Yorkers are surviving on benefits, food stamps and rent stabilization laws. A whole generation of people is reaching maturity never having enjoyed an employment experience. And the whole shebang is primed to be thrust once again into the loving arms of Republicans, who prefer to take the long view with regard to social tranquility (e.g. more cops). If ever a time cried out for heroic innovation on the scale of Fiorello LaGuardia and Robert Moses, who seized the initiative (and federal funds) and literally constructed the future New York on the ruins of the last great depression, the time is now. Instead we got a choice between Tugboat Annie and Pee-Wee Herman.

New York politics seems to have hit a brick wall in terms of ideas, but it is rich in identity politics. Bill De Blasio is a Brooklyn Italian married to a black woman who defines herself for electoral purposes as a former lesbian. Ha-ha, revelations that would have rendered a candidate unfit for public service not too long ago – lesbianism, exhibitionism (there is an old political joke about a candidate who was destroyed when his opponent attacked him for having a sister who was a thesbian [an actress] – are now the new normal, no, they are compulsory requirements for electoral success. How long before the military establishment, sickened by the depravity of civil life, decides to step in and restore order as in Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, Greece, Argentina, Brazil etc., just to cite a few recent examples? The last sad sack candidate in this Little Shop of Horrors, Chinese-American city councilman John Liu, analyzed the demographics and determined that the city contained enough Asian voters to constitute a political base for him, but as Roman Polanski once observed, “It’s Chinatown”. Nothing is what it seems on the surface. Liu’s family, which is prominent in Chinatown, is apparently mobbed-up to the hilt, with some of his fundraisers having been convicted of electoral fraud, and Liu has been denied public matching funds.

The New York Democratic Party has always been at the forefront of social progress, but it is populated by – New Yorkers, and its redolent fragrance of petty chiseling and corruption has always been too overwhelming to the sensibility of the electorate, permitting an opening for Republicans to squeak in and steal from a stratospheric vantage point of corporate boardrooms.

I don’t have a dog in this fight. I reside on the somnambulant Upper East Side, with its neighborhood bars and health clubs. For thrills, I go to my dancing school in Spanish Harlem, so I am at least in contact with New York City Hispanics, but these are second, third, fourth generation Americans. I probably speak Spanish better than they do, but I wouldn’t know because all activities are conducted in English anyway. The only excitement I get is from walking to the dance studio because, in spite of all efforts at gentrification, there are still plenty of huge rats crossing the streets.
© Dean Borok August 2013
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