The people of America are in a bad mood, and it’s hard to understand why. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in years. Oil prices have hit rock bottom, and you can fill up your car for $25. New cars are selling at the fastest pace in 40 years. Lots of good things are happening, but somehow nobody is singing “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
The bulk of the public’s scorn is being directed at the politicians. People like U.S. Rep. Steve Israel decide to retire because they’re sick of asking for money or because Congress has more than its share of ugly people who just plain hate everyone and everything. Politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz keep talking like America is a third-world country that needs to bomb everyone into oblivion so that we can feel good again.
Donald Trump is going to make America great by deporting 12 million men, women and children, treating all Muslims like terrorists, vilifying Mexicans, making fun of Jewish businessmen, bullying disabled media people and declaring that anyone who disagrees with him is a “loser.” The pope can apologize for the misdeeds of the Catholic Church, but Trump is incapable of ever saying he’s sorry.
Once upon a time, when you talked about the president of the United States, people who disagree would say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president and I respect the office.” Now they drop the niceties and spew hatred and viciousness because Donald Trump says you don’t have to be politically correct anymore.
When the media writes about Albany, good-government groups and the holier-than-thou clique portray elected officials as wasteful, uncaring and busy stuffing their pockets with cash. I have no respect for most of the crowd in the Washington establishment, but I must rise in defense of the members of the New York State Legislature.
I’m a former member of the Assembly, having served for 23 years. I am biased only to the extent that I want the Legislature to be respected for what it does, and compared with Washington, it does a lot on a bipartisan basis. Looking back over the past few years, among the items legislators have acted on were full-day kindergarten, marriage equality, record amounts of school aid, some modest gun-control laws and a variety of others.