Join the Resistance

Every non Republican has a duty to resist the efforts of President Donald Trump to take our country backwards 5 or 6 decades.  We must always stand up to bigotry, sexism, racism, and theocracy wherever we find it.  As a community that is 25% Muslim and the home to many refugees who have transitioned or are transitioning into American Citizenship, we are given a special responsibility.

One of the reasons people visit Utica is that on any given day, you can encounter people from 20 different cultures.  It is a leading factor that brings tourists to Newport, RI in the summertime – you are going to meet people very unlike you with a much different backstory.

Let us take a look at some examples where we may have to resist in Oneida County.  Then, let’s walk through a resisting exercise to make sure we are all comfortable with what might have to be done.

Be very wary of anyone claiming our Party’s label who does not live up to our Party’s ideals on issues of Choice, Marriage Equality, Immigration, and Education.  Because we are in Central New York, we can offer much more latitude on firearms issues.  There is no such thing as a purity test but a Democrat should have some common values that you recognize.  The lack of these common values might explain the 6% turnout during the Primary held 2 years ago.

Fortunately, Mr. Trump’s current approval rating stands at 30.  Among Democrats, it stands at 4.    Helping us here in Oneida County is the fact that while he enjoyed support County wide, there are few Trump Deplorables in our area.  I think I can name all 20 of them.

How does resisting look at the County Level??  Any time this President accomplishes something in a backward fashion, we look at the state level for our first buffer.  The County level becomes the second buffer.  We must never forget that both the Common Council Chambers and the County Building sit within the confines of the 22nd Legislative District.  Not only are we the new Disney, governmental decisions are made on our home turf.

So let’s say that the GOP Senate, which is meeting in secret as I type this, moves to take health insurance away from 24 million declaring addiction a pre-condition in the process.  There is also a nasty cut to Medicaid planned along the way.  These things would be devastating for Oneida County.

Claudia Tenney would tell you the lie that she tried to make it better through her Buffalo Bribe bill.  We must never forget that 2 current counties and 1 projected county would lose money under her bill.  Saratoga is one of the current counties.  Thanks to the proposed U District and Harbor Point, we are the projected county.  I guess she doesn’t believe in our future.

Next would be an attempt by the State Assembly and the State Senate to pass Medicare for All.  As much as I am not a Medicare for All proponent, I worry about what it does to research and innovation, it would be much better than the proposed Republican bill.  We will need to activate ourselves at the State Building which is also on our turf in the 22nd District.  If I thought the kids would dig it, at this point I would roll out the #deucespride.

At the County level, I would be steadfastly trying to convince my colleagues that we had to do something especially on pre-existing conditions end while the state figured their legislation out.  You might get a call to action asking you to just show up and the County Legislative Chamber for the purpose of making your voice heard on behalf of those who cannot advocate for themselves.

The other likely flash point is immigration.  Right now, Chief Williams and Sheriff Maciol do not spend a lot of time or energy chasing undocumenteds.  They have other things to do.  However, the day may come for a different Chief and a different Sheriff who are not as thoughtful.

If ICE wants to separate children from their parents, that is bad enough.  If ICE plans to do it with law enforcement personnel employed in our county, they will find resistance.  Utica has already passed a Welcoming Cities Resolution.  Start messing with my neighbors and a Sanctuary County bill will be on the docket.

We must also not allow local issues to separate us as we resist.  Bill Keeler took to his radio show the other day to announce that Mayor Palmieri should resign.  I do not like the optics in the Russ Brooks thing either but resign??  Make Mike “I don’t have a vote and can’t get anything seconded but I promise people lots of stuff anyway” Galime the Mayor??  Bill Keeler claims he made the request over the potential waste of tax money.

That is interesting.  The President played golf again this weekend blowing away the travel budget.  The President’s wife has cost us how much??  The President talked about sexual assault and made fun of a disabled reporter.  However, possibly running into a lawsuit is a bigger crime.

The other station, which used to be balanced and now is not close, tried to normalize Mayors Roefaro and Julian.  Seriously??   Do we really want to go down that road??

You can only listen to WIBX from 6-9 and WUTQ 6-10 and then again at 3-5 when Dave Ramsey comes on..  The rest of the time is woman bashing, African American bashing, Hispanic bashing, gay bashing and Muslim bashing.  On one side, it’s state media, those accused of sexual assault, and Fox News, the other station features the Apocalyptic thoughts of Glenn Beck, the Nazi Salute of Laura Ingraham, the fear mongering of Buck sexton, and the out and out racism of Michael Savage.  Oh yes, because perpetual sexual harasser Bill O’reilly somehow did enough to get fired by Fox, the other station brought back a segment for him.

Don’t let this collection of right wing thought separate us.  Most of our voters aren’t even listening – unless your average voter is a never made it sexist crank who is afraid of Sharia Law.  While the situation is a mess, it does give you a way to practice the resistance.

Each day, find 10 minutes where you can listen to one of the stations.  Do not subject yourself to any more than that.  After something offensive occurs, don’t worry – it will, wait for the next local commercial.  Write down who it is.

On the way home from work, stop by.  Be kind, be gentle, be courteous.  Remember, unless a firm is involved in bigotry, we want all local firms to succeed.  Walk in, find a salesperson, and say the following, “I heard some really offensive content and such and such a station earlier today.  Your ad followed the content.  Now your company’s name is connected to that content in my head.  Next time I have to buy the product or service that you offer, I will have to consider that.”  Then, smile, shake their hand, and walk out.

This is good practice because there will come that day we have to resist at the County level.  There will be a day you will have to go to somebody else’s district or the county building and let them know how you feel about an issue or a vote they are about to take.  You will want to smile and shake their hand then too.

I promise if elected as the Legislator from the 22nd District, I will always help lead the Resistance.   You should expect no less.