Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Living in Tyranny

At first I thought this might be a post exclusively targeted to New Yorkers. Then I realized that of all people, New Yorkers know everything I’m about to say quite well. Consider this a primer on New York politics for those fortunate enough to live elsewhere.

The Citizens of New York live under Dictatorship, and have for quite some time.

Oh, it’s quite benevolent, as Dictatorships go, with an organizational structure which conceals the tyranny. But it’s a Dictatorship, all the same.

New York is ruled by a triumvirate of Potentates, with varying powers, but with every power of the State divvied up between the three. Only the most naïve of New Yorkers believes that when they go through the charade of electing State Senators and Assemblypersons, they are actually gaining representation.

Sure, they do get to vote for the Governor and several Statewide positions. But as we’ve witnessed with the outrageous appointment by Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver of a wholly unqualified candidate for State Comptroller, that doesn’t translate into power. As the former Governor quite ably demonstrated, the position of Governor of New York is a lesser Power than his fellow Dictators of the Triumvirate. Besides, the Governor will likely spend his days in office filling his troth, luxuriating his political benefactors, and most seriously of all, grandstanding every opportunity to position himself for a shot at National Recognition and position.

And really, do New York citizens really get to choose their Governor, or do the State Democrats and GOP work the deals out in advance, after some kingmaker like Alphonse D’Amato decides who the candidates should be? I mean, who really wanted George Pataki for 12 years? But was there any other serious alternative, other than self-funded independents? One should note that Governor Spitzer waited until Pataki stepped down to run, and his election race was likewise a cake walk against no serious opposition. It seems the two Parties like their Dictatorship just fine the way it is, only now, it’s the Democrats who get to pretend they run the State through elected officials, rather than lifetime incumbency appointment.

Senate Leader Senator Joseph Bruno is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), details not disclosed, but even nominally clued in columnists can catalog a fair list of conflicts of interest, patronage and nepotism abuses.

Between the Governor, Bruno, and Silver, all State matters are decided. Bruno and Silver brook no contest or defiance to their absolute authority, and any rebellions, such as was attempted in 2000, are severely punished. To get anything accomplished, the Governor must kowtow to the all powerful Leaders of the State Houses. That doesn’t mean we the people, in any way, shape, form or manner. We might as well elect dogs and cats to sit in chambers, since only Bruno and Silver get to decide on anything. They’d make less of a mess, no doubt, and we wouldn’t have to worry about them getting arrested or driving drunk.

I suppose if you are a resident of the County of Rensselaer, or reside within the 64th Assembly District in lower Manhattan, the effects of living under tyranny don’t seem harmful or unpleasant. Live anywhere else in the aptly named Empire State, and you don’t have any representation in State Government.

For those who would accuse me of regional bias, it’s true, I live upstate, some miles west of the Hudson, which means I don’t benefit from the largesse of The Royal Joe, who stands out as premier among the latest trend for self-serving politicos to create giant Monuments to themselves while still serving in office. Used to be, you had to at least be retired, if not dead, but how can you bask in the self-adulating glow of that?

Newly elected Governor Eliot Spitzer is widely praised for his honesty and ethics, and all commentators loudly utter sighs of relief or plaintiff calls for salvation from this anticipated White Knight, who will clean up corruption and abuse of power. So the fable goes.

Silly people. Look no further than the selection of the new Comptroller by Emperor Silver, or the status quo budget proposed by the Governor, to see how likely any meaningful change will be.

If you say, “If you hate it so much, why don’t you move?” The answer is, if I didn’t have a child firmly established within the best Public School system in the State, I would. I should note that everything great about this school system, would be great without any state assistance whatsoever. Parents and community make this system what it is. So don’t tell me I’m benefiting from what I deplore, or biting the Royal Hand that feeds me, because it just isn’t so.

We have the highest taxes in the Nation, a continually growing state budget and Mommy State bureaucracy, and a population fully lulled into oblivious slumber. My fellow citizens are far more enraged about phantom, mythical usurpations of terrorist civil liberties, than the highly visible, very real abrogation of citizen rights within their own communities. They are taxed without representation, and every new power vested in Government adds ever more to the balance due. But it’s all about Iraq and that evil George Bush.

I’m with local radio host Paul Vandenberg, who may get a little unhinged sometimes. But not today, when he stated, that for the costs we’ve invested in Iraq, if we succeed, we will gain tremendously more benefit than what the Democrats propose. Years of living with the unintended consequences of the Welfare State should have fully demonstrated to New Yorkers, that in the end, we will never gain by yielding to all those pent up Democrat demands for ever more control, ever more services, ever more protection from any possible vicissitude of life.

And, I suppose, part of me thinks the State might be worth saving from Tyranny. But it would be nice to see somebody other than Tories, speaking up.

I direct your attention to an outstanding essay, covering much the same ground I have here, but with more facts and less emotion. (What can I say, I blog.)

The essay pleads, Help Us, Governor Spitzer!, and was written by Nicole Gelinas in the latest City Journal. I’ll try to follow up with another post on it, it’s an excellent survey of the sorrowful state of the State. Though I don’t retain any hope that the new Governor will be any more helpful than the last.

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