Some reading this column are old enough to remember the last quarter of the twentieth century. The years when Apple Computer was just an upstart, the internet was in its infancy, E-mail was a new trend, and Cell phones were for the rich. Big hair for women, rat tails for men, shoulder pads were in, and dance wear was popular. They might also remember the misery index, embassy hostages in Iran, the energy crisis, and the Olympic boycott over Russian aggression. New Yorkers might recall the Crown Heights riots, Red Apple boycott, and Bryant park as an open air drug market.
New Yorkers talk fast but are slow to learn. After the nation rejected the liberal ideology of Carter they elected Mario Cuomo for governor and David Dinkins as Mayor. When the campaign promises of a change for the better failed to appear the excuses started. It took almost ten years of increased taxes, cuts in services, union raises and rampant crime to make a change. Since that time memories have faded, citizens have moved out of state and voters have short memories.
Today New Yorkers with short memories are experiencing the perfect storm. We have a Democrat in the White House, Albany and Gracie Mansion all at the same time. We have replaced jell shoes for Crocs, Rat tails with Mullets, Carter for Obama, Dinkins for DeBlasio, and Cuomo for Cuomo 2.0. It would seem the more things change the more they stay the same.
Under Obama the misery index is no longer employed like 102 million Americans, Muslims find school girls better hostages than embassy employees, the gas crisis is all about cost, and there is even talk of boycotting the Olympics over Russian aggression. In our state house it is hard to differentiate between the Cuomo and Cuomo 2.0. Both Cuomo’s opted to study rather than confront corruption with a Moreland commission that spent money for nothing. Both like to dapple in questionable real estate deals. The original Cuomo used hurricane Gloria to nationalize LICO and turn it into LIPA. Cuomo 2.0 used hurricane Sandy to un-nationalize LIPA and now pays PSEG. Neither agency has abandoned the highest rates in the nation.
In the city that never sleeps we elected a mayor of change. DeBlasio changed his name from Wilhelm, changed his wife’s sexual orientation but recycled a two hundred year old novel and Mario Cuomo’s keynote speech into his rally cry. The Tale of two cities, the same one that helped to launch Walter Mondale’s 49 state presidential loss. (Keynote)Early in his administration he let neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night keep his constituents from their free lunch by keeping schools open during a blizzard. To make sure that the citizens knew who is important he wrote a forty million dollar check to the Central Park wilder criminals for their trouble.
In New York we are back to the future of the 80’s and 90’s. The first sign of this is the return of the squeegee men. (Squeegee) Times Square is now being overrun with aggressive panhandlers dressed as superheroes or Disney characters. As a result of the end of stop and frisk policy shootings jumped up 11% in one year. Illegal immigrants are now granted special rights to ID cards so they can move freely thru the myriad of public and private services in this sanctuary city. The only thing not proposed yet is slathering decals of thriving businesses on abandoned properties like they did in the South Bronx in the 80’s.
Rather than being a shining beacon on a hill for all Americans, New York City has really become what Cuomo proposed and DeBlasio implemented. A tale of two cities. One city is the lawbreakers who must be coddled for their vote and the other is the law abiding citizens who pay for it all. If Marty Mcfly stepped out of his DeLorean to chase away the bums spitting on his windshield he would have to check his flux capacitor for the date to be sure. Because some of the names might have changed but the same tune is playing from the last century.