Tag Archives: New York

What Tuesday’s Elections Really Mean

6 Nov

confused-elephant425Yesterday was election day for many parts of the country. Because it isn’t a Congressional election year, a handful of high-profile races dominated the airwaves and will be over-analyzed into the next big electorate meme. Even with one major — and expected — Republican victory, progressives have a lot to celebrate. Let’s start with a quick look at the results.

  • In New York City, Democrat, progressive, and all-around good guy Bill de Blasio crushed conservative Joe Lhota 73 – 24.
  • Sadly, across the river in New Jersey, Republican Governor Chris Christie handily won re-election by 23 points.
  • Most eyes were on Virginia, one of the few remaining true swing states, where the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General offices were all up for grabs. The news is mostly good for progressives. Terry McAuliffe beat the odious Ken Cuccinelli, 48 – 45 to become the next Governor and the unhinged E.W. Jackson lost his bid for Lt. Governor to Ralph Northam by ten points. The AG race is too close to call, with either candidate leading by less than 1,000 depending on whose results you see.

It’s still early, but the emerging theme is that the GOP must moderate its views and steer clear of their tight ties to the Tea Party to win, with hypothetical moderate Christie being compared to clear conservative Cuccinelli. While common sense and demographic trends might support the basic argument, the comparison is deeply flawed.

Christie is an outlier. He’s a skilled politician who has been elected twice as a Republican Governor in a very Democratic state. Somehow he manages to appeal on an “independent thinker” model that splits the ticket. Two thoughts about the Christie myth. First, he’s no moderate. He vetoed marriage equality and worked hard to limit the power of unions. His moderate actions were either clear compromises with a very Democratic legislature (labor, education) or calculated political theatre (banning conversion therapy for teens). His stands must be viewed through the lens of a crafty politician who has been angling for the 2016 GOP Presidential nod for years. Which brings up the second point: even in NJ Christie would lose a hypothetical presidential matchup to Hillary Clinton by at least six points. The real lesson here? Chris Christie is a talented politician in a unique situation that manages to still sell hate in a pretty package with a bow on top.

Virginia tells us more. The big lesson is for Democrats: Terry McAuliffe is hardly well-loved, but he ran a strong, progressive campaign including support for marriage equality and gun restrictions. He won in a very purple state. Tacking to the center would have made the contest more confusing and might have cost him — Democrats need to remember this. On the other hand, he won by less than 3% when polls had him up by an average of 7%. That indicates that Cuccinelli’s very conservative positions appealed to more people than were willing to admit it to pollsters. That counters the Christie logic pretty strongly. Virginia is also a borderline southern state, closer to the heart of the GOP power and more indicative of what will happen as the stage is set for 2016.

In short, there is happy news and mixed news. Progressives values can win — de Blasio and McAuliffe modelled that nicely. The GOP, however, is still experiencing confusion and internal tension. The Tea Party base is still churning up very conservative candidates in primaries. While the results so far — with Cuccinelli joining the ranks of Christine O’Donnell and Todd Akin — are good for Democrats, the times that one of these candidates wins the big race are dire indeed. Democrats can’t count on a GOP implosion, because complacency could easily see President Cruz in 2017. Oy! Perish the thought!

Bill de Blasio: Civil Service Through a Social Justice Lens

18 Sep

Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio’s win of the New York City Democratic mayoral nomination is a victory, not only for New York, but for all of us in the United States working towards social justice and building a vision of equity for all people.

Current New York Mayor Bloomberg’s legacy of the Stop and Frisk policy, also known as legalized racial profiling, is finally losing some teeth.  Thankfully, people like de Blasio are ever mindful of race, gender, sexual orientation, and other targeted populations as we look to a much more inclusive and representative form of leadership.  de Blasio’s inclusivity is laudable:

Something I feel very strongly is you’ve got to treat your family and the other people in your life with a lot of love and respect and you’ve got to treat the society around you the same way. I know people who’ve done one, but not the other. And I really resolved very early on to try and do both.

Unlike many civil servants during my lifetime, de Blasio is very intent on serving all people, as he demonstrates a great respect and even awe of humanity — what a novelty not to discard humans that don’t fit in the box we assign them; how lovely to go outside of the dominant culture.  The television ad his son Dante does is amazing and inspires great hope.

One hopes that if people such as de Blasio get elected, we stand a good chance of changing the face of oppression, systemic racism, and the “othering” of people.  It is most encouraging to see New York looking at progressive candidates who are focusing energy on jobs, affordable housing, healthcare for all, better transit system, gender equity, and LGBT rights, just to name a few of the issues de Blasio has a strategic plan to address.  Would that our country had more of this type of visionary leadership. How refreshing it is to see a political candidate not scapegoating people who are different.  How lovely to see a political candidate embracing all of the citizens .  This seems like true civil service to me.

To learn more about Bill de Blasio and support his mission, check out his website here.

Hero of the Week Award: October 28: Aretha Franklin

28 Oct

Hero of the Week

I did not think I could love the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, anymore than I already did.  I had five people nominate Aretha for HWA, so I had to jump to it.  Franklin came to New York to perform at the wedding of Bill White and his long-time partner Bryan Eure.

How fantastic is it to have the Queen of Soul perform Respect, and I Say a Little Prayer at your wedding?  Kudos to Aretha Franklin and nice that she earns the HWA.  TSM loves the opportunity to celebrate Franklin.

“Do They Have to Throw It In Our Faces?”

25 Jul

Does this strike fear in your heart?

I was talking with my friend Mary, a wonderful LGBT ally, the other day, and she was recalling a conversation she had with her heterosexual nephew.  Mary was actually talking to him about me and about equality for the LGBT community.  Her nephew gave a typical response that I am afraid I have grown quite tired of hearing: “I don’t mind the gays, but do they have to throw it in our faces?”

Fortunately, Mary gave the retort of, “If you want to talk about throwing it in people’s faces, look at us heterosexuals.”  Brava, Mary!  Just what is it that we are throwing into people’s faces?  That we are tired of being treated as second class citizens? That we, tax-paying citizens, want our civil rights–the same civil rights that tax-paying heterosexuals receive?  Or is it just exceedingly threatening to think about when you chose to be straight? Or my secret weapon of mass destruction–the big Gay Agenda? Or perhaps we are just tired of the double standard of affection between heterosexuals and homosexuals!

Yesterday marks a great turning point in history.  New York celebrated many same gender couples’ marriage equality–a huge moment for civil rights.  While the media showed many pictures of the very mean spirited bigots from NOM holding up their signs of hate, there were also some really quite lovely signs of couplesthat had been together for decades that were finally allowed to marry.  My friend and LGBT ally “Voice From the Trailer” sent me a dear picture of Phyllis Siegel and her now legal spouse, Connie Kopelov, with the sarcastic caption: “I wish these two would quit throwing their “Lifestyle” in my face….damn.”  Yes, I’m sure the picture of Phyllis (age 76) and Connie (age 84) must strike fear into the hearts of our heterosexual brothers and sisters.  They have waited 23 years to be legally married–just part of the Gay Agenda.

For those of you who believe Phyllis and Connie and the rest of us in the LGBT community are “throwing it your faces,” I have to ask why are you so consumed with LGBT people? It seems to me that if one is secure in one’s own sexual orientation, one is not bothered by marriage equality.  If you don’t want same sex couples getting married, then please don’t marry someone of the same sex, but do not deny others the civil rights you take for granted. Thank you to all of our heterosexual allies, for progress is made with your support, love, and courage.

This Couple Will Kill Heterosexual Marriages (?)

22 Jun

Thank you to my friend “Voice of the Trailer” for sharing this with me and inspiring this story.  After being together for 61 years, Richard and John want to finally get married legally in the State of New York.  I challenge anyone who can come up with an intelligent argument as to how Richard and John’s union undermines a heterosexual union!  How is their marriage not sacred?  Shame on all of you bigots who would deny marriage equality, as part of all our civil rights.  Click here to see this powerful video of Richard and John.

Hero of the Week Award: June 17

17 Jun

Hero of the Week

As New York gets ever closer to full marriage equality, we have seen a great amount of ugliness from right wingers, including teabagger Michele Bachmann.  So it was quite refreshing and impressive to see Republican New York State Senator Roy McDonald break from partisan politics and stand up for marriage equality, thus earning him this week’s HWA.  The following quote by McDonald certainly gives me some renewed hope in humanity:

You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn’t black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.

Click here to see the full article.

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