It should come as no surprise that Brooklyn political boss Vito Lopez organized a press opportunity featuring himself and an assortment of political pets claiming to be in solidarity with the occupy wall street movement.
Anybody who is known as the New York State Assembly’s patronage king of Brooklyn and has held office since 1984 is far too cynical to believe such a thing can be used for anything more than a good opportunity to say something good – like millionaires should pay more taxes (no shit).
Our borough, our city and our state are full of do nothing, say nothing, cretin of the earth politicians who mismanage state coffers, hire friends and family, manufacture red tape, and get into bed with interests that are not the taxpayers own, because we treat these arbiters of our supposed democracy as part-time employees. Six months out of the year they are at their real job – figuring out how to remain in, or get over on, their part-time one. Then they come out of their backrooms and tell us they are standing up for what is right.
For those who have ever wondered about or ignored the reasons why our state government is so useless, take a gander. We put no limits on elected terms, barely any on fundraising; the folks who are in Albany seem to have been there for 800 years and are known for late night motel bacchanalia while government is in session. They suckle at the teat of corporate cash grasping to remain in office and if they have time to do something good beyond that, it’s measured against the aforementioned interests.
The entire game is rigged and we all know it – from party leaders who compromise away our rights when they take corporate cash and then decide who draws district lines, to the cash that flows in the streets to support certain candidates over others on Election Day. The money is everywhere and the legitimacy is nowhere.
We have made legal the things we would generally find abhorrent if not for a new paradigm: our diluted perception of right and wrong. Regardless of what brought each individual occupier into the streets over the last month and a half, the correlating value among them all is that the way our country operates now is not right.
The reason Vito Lopez and his cronies were out in the streets attempting to co-opt the occupy wall street brand is because if they can claim it for themselves, they can dilute the conversation about what’s right and wrong.
We know there is everything wrong with the way Albany, and in particular the Brooklyn Democratic Party boss, operates, and it’s time to acknowledge it. (Not to single anyone out of course, this is about both parties – the other is now known for spending government time honoring gun running cops.)
I was frankly surprised that the supposed rising stars of Brooklyn party politics – Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries and Council member Stephen Levin – did not do as Council member Letitia James did and recuse themselves from this obvious opportunism. If these guys are so progressive why do they stand next to the old guard?
After Lopez’s appearance on Fox’s Good Day New York morning show mashed up a morning blend of corporate and political interests — Fox bringing up Lopez’s federal investigation, Lopez countering that Fox hates poor people — it might be time to consider retirement.
Now is the time to start a conversation about real change in New York State – fair districting that counts people where they live, open primaries, online voting, technology infrastructure and leadership for the future that is fair and accessible to all. Open up government and the process to the people and take a page on direct democracy from the occupy wall street movement, instead of pretending like Vito Lopez and cronies like him are just as victimized by their own backroom ineptitude as we are in the 99%.
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