Don’t Blame The Voters
In Sergey Kadinsky’s 6/27/19 article entitled “Cabán Declares Victory In Queens DA Primary,” he laments the “poor [voter] turnout; after all the hard election work by rabbis, community leaders, activists, local elected officials and this columnist.” Mr. Kadinsky continues to question: “Why was it so difficult for some people to come out and vote?”
Although Mr. Kadinsky closes his article by contrasting our community’s poor voter turnout to that of the Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish Community’s turnout in their successful campaign on behalf of Farah Louis in the 45th council district, he completely fails to draw the proper conclusion.
In Brooklyn’s 45th council district, the community leaders and activists didn’t try to run an Orthodox Jewish candidate. Instead, from the onset, they coalesced around a single candidate who had a good chance of being successful. The community had a clear purpose and that motivated them to go out and vote.
Our community’s activists didn’t unify behind a single candidate until the 11th hour. Up until four days before the election, our community was pretty much urged to vote for anybody but Cabán, while different activists lined up behind competing candidates. When the community finally did unify to rally behind Melinda Katz, it was too late for the message to get out among the voters in our community. The fact that Rory Lancman, who dropped out of the race, still received over 1,000 votes is irrefutable evidence that the last-minute message of unification wasn’t received.
Our community can’t be expected to “just go vote.” If our community’s rabbanim and activists aren’t able to unify behind a single realistic candidate until the 11th hour, then don’t expect a large voter turnout. It’s time for our activists to look in the mirror and stop blaming the voters.
Cattle Cars, Gas Chambers, And Ocasio-Cortez’s Insensitive Provocations
“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are,” quipped a taunting AOC. NY’s 14th District US Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was surely aware of the imagery she was stirring into the American psyche.
AOC’s words flow the neurological rapids from our ears into our brain and the splash evokes imagery.
NY’s 14th District Representative is likely aware of the world’s most sickening 20th century imagery – cattle cars, numerical tattoos, yellow star armbands, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” Zyklon B, living skeletons liberated from hell, mountains of children’s shoes.
There is a vicious purpose to AOC’s derisive linking of US border control with Nazi Germany’s concentration camps: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is whipping her nihilist brigade into a fury.
Her heartless and actually mindless ideological agitprop goes like this: Migrants, enabled and escorted by a well-trained team of progressives, willfully seeking illegal entry into the USA, amassing at our southern border, demanding entry and multiple benefits, with a ready platoon of lawyers to ensure they get every right they can, are equivalent to massive numbers of Jews and other victims forcibly herded, deported to Nazi concentration camps where, upon arrival, they are selected for immediate death or hellish slave labor.
Who with an honest reasonable neuron in their skulls cannot see the duplicitous insanity of this comparison? AOC clearly and callously stirred up horrific imagery to score a political point. In war terminology, she was horrifically “disproportionate.” When confronted, AOC doubled down on her political point.
But even worse than political points, AOC’s words callously stabbed the souls of her 14th District constituents, several thousand of whom may very well be Nazi concentration camp survivors.
An organization called Justice Democrats advertised nationwide for political progressives interested in running for office. AOC passed her Justice Democrats (JD) interview with flying colors and they entered her name into a low voter turnout primary. The JD machine turned out the vote and the rest is history. I mention this just to note that in her JD interview, pivotal moments in 20th century history, in all human history, were not a JD criterion for office, in fact such knowledge is more likely a disqualifier for JD candidates. So, perhaps AOC has only a perfunctory sense of concentration camps, of the images seared into the brains of most of us: Auschwitz, Zyklon B, en masse kidnapped Jews crammed into cattle cars where excrement and standing corpses accrued by the minute, these mobile concentration camps heading, without attorneys or advocates, to stationary concentration death camps suffused with the stench of death. Maybe AOC’s rigid belief system is too fragile to register the immutable images of terrified screaming Jews disembarking at “concentration camps,” of smoking crematoria, mountains of murdered children’s shoes, mounds of gold rings and teeth, etc. (AOC, I’ll spare you and my dear readers additional “concentration camp” images.)
But, AOC, as a Representative of progressives as well as non-progressives in NY’s 14th, of concentration camp survivors, legal immigrants and illegal immigrants, you should see these things – at taxpayer expense, of course (because you complain that your $174,000 salary is already stretched too thin, we taxpayers understand).
Further, the entire array of Democratic presidential hopefuls and party leaders should be transported, en masse, in comfortable concentration jets, of course, to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum – because way more frightening than the expected insensitivity of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and her “Justice Democrat” handlers, is the deplorably silent slinking into the corners of the supposed adults in the Democratic room. And, worse, my God, those leading Democrats with the audacity to justify or divert us from the reality of their increasingly anti-Semitic party – they are just stomping upon Americans’ emotions and minds by legitimizing her disturbing rhetoric.
Words flow from our ears into our brain where imagery and thought are evoked – and that thought and imagery can spread like a tsunami into our brain’s action centers triggering anti-Semitic behavior. Hate crimes against Jews in New York City are up 82% in 2019, Congresswoman, with Jews suffering disproportionately, as over 50% of documented hate crimes are anti-Jewish.
It is a jaw-dropping letdown for the Jewish community to witness the national Democratic leadership falter and offer not a word of outrage or solace to their constituents.
It is our calling to care about everyone in need: refugees, veterans, ill, impoverished, etc. Such care emerges best from within caring, thoughtfully structured, and organized legal, political, and economic structures. And this effective response can only emerge from a caring, thoughtful, reality-based, social-political climate set by responsible leaders who care more about people, refugees and Americans, than they do about their political careers.
Wouldn’t it be great to see a donor step up and send a luxury “concentration” jet, packed comfortably with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, her party’s presidential hopefuls, and her top Democratic apologists. Perhaps some top Justice Democrat operatives can also be loaded, kicking and screaming of course, into that plane, too.
Adults in the political room, take note – be that room Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s 14th District or the nation: Most Americans really care about all people and want to have everyone’s backs, but in a manner consistent with both compassion and responsible, reality-based action, for the benefit of those in need and their American taxpayer hosts.
A sincere thank you goes to those thoughtful leaders, in and out of government, who condemned Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s disturbing disproportionate imagery.
Thoughtful, compassionate Americans throughout our nation both decry and are saddened by the astonishing silence of our political leaders, in Washington and locally, in response to NY 14th Congressional District Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s unapologetic wounding of our Jewish friends and family, amongst whom we caringly and respectfully acknowledge the now retraumatized concentration camp survivors in our communities.
The uber-progressive and powerful Justice Democrats may be oblivious, and their Washington, DC, political hostages may be intimidated (you know who you are), but these are increasingly ominous times in the USA.
And thoughtful caring Americans are calling it out.
July 2019 marks the 55th anniversary of federal government support for public transportation.
The success of public transportation can be traced back to one of the late President Lyndon Johnson’s greatest accomplishments, which continues benefiting many Americans today. On July 9, 1964, he signed the “Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964” into law. Subsequently, this has resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars into public transportation.
Millions of Americans, including many residing in Queens today, on a daily basis utilize various public transportation alternatives. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway, and commuter rail services. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles. Most of these systems are funded with your tax dollars, thanks to President Johnson.
Depending upon where you live, consider the public transportation alternative. Try riding a local or express bus, commuter van, ferry, light rail, commuter rail, or subway.
Fortunately, we have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its various operating agencies, including the NYC Transit subway and bus, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, Staten Island Rapid Transit Authority, and MTA Bus.
There is also New Jersey Transit, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey PATH, NYC Departments of Transportation Staten Island Ferry, and Economic Development Corporation private ferries.
Using MTA Metro Cards provides free transfers between the subway and bus. This has eliminated the old two-fare zones making public transportation an even better bargain. Purchasing a monthly Long Island Rail Road or MTA subway/bus pass reduces the cost per ride and provides virtually unlimited trips.
Elected officials and government employees can turn in their taxpayer-funded vehicles and join the rest of us by using public transportation to get around town. In many cases, employers can offer transit checks, which help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize this and reap the benefits. It supports a cleaner environment.
Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternative work schedules that afford staff the ability to avoid rush hour gridlock. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. Join a car or van pool to share the costs of commuting.
The ability to travel from home to workplace, school, shopping, entertainment, medical, library etc. is a factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically successful communities are not 100 percent dependent on automobiles as the sole means of mobility. Seniors, students, and low- and middle-income people need these transportation alternatives. Investment in public transportation today contributes to economic growth, employment, and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, it is one of the best investments we can make.