Char­tock: Hypocrisy knows no po­lit­i­cal party

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Alan Char­tock Capi­tol Con­nec­tion

We all know that there are rules in pol­i­tics and some of them are re­ally dis­gust­ing.

We all know that there are rules in pol­i­tics and some of them are re­ally dis­gust­ing. This coun­try is drift­ing away from an ideal model of democ­racy tem­pered by mi­nor­ity rights. It is up to the lead­er­ship to put their obli­ga­tion to do the right thing above their own po­lit­i­cal needs.

As we just saw in the tu­mul­tuous fight over the seat­ing of Brett Ka­vanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court, po­lit­i­cal courage is in short sup­ply. Se­na­tor Su­san Collins of Maine comes to mind when one is look­ing for an il­lus­tra­tion of po­lit­i­cal hypocrisy. She would at heart rather re­main se­na­tor than do what’s right. She says that she voted for Ka­vanaugh be­cause he had as­sured her that Rowe v. Wade was con­sid­ered “es­tab­lished law.” Would you like to stake your re­tire­ment ac­count that he’ll be there when the court starts to eat away at a woman’s right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion?

It is quite clear that the Repub­li­cans in this coun­try are fiercely in fa­vor of both Don­ald Trump and cer­tain Repub­li­can prin­ci­ples. As peo­ple of priv­i­lege, th­ese vot­ers, rep­re­sent­ing about 40 per­cent of the coun­try, are the chil­dren of the chil­dren of the chil­dren of the Civil War. You can see it in what they say they want. For ex­am­ple, they want guns to pro­tect them­selves against the al­most nonex­is­tent home in­vaders. Think of Em­met Till, who was lynched af­ter hav­ing been ac­cused of of­fend­ing a white woman in her fam­ily’s store, and you get the pic­ture. Frankly, that’s the way they get some of the have-nots to come over to their side.

Then there are those peo­ple of the FDR stripe. Th­ese are the folks who truly be­lieve that the only way to have a coun­try that lives in har­mony is to make sure that every­one is treated fairly and frankly, benev­o­lently. Th­ese are the folks who brought us civil rights and health care and fair­ness in mort­gages. Many of th­ese peo­ple are what we might call “haves.” As you read this col­umn, you have an op­por­tu­nity to place your­self. Do you be­lieve that some­one with a lit­tle kid at home whose life could be saved with proper health care de­serves health care as a right? How about the right of every child to be ed­u­cated fairly, so that when the child grows up, she has equal­ity of op­por­tu­nity?

In or­der to get what they want in this po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, the Repub­li­can haves do ev­ery­thing they can do to rig our pol­i­tics. For ex­am­ple, they cap­ture state leg­is­la­tures and then they ger­ry­man­der to their hearts’ con­tent. In a so-called democ­racy, they draw dis­tricts where they can’t lose. They make sure that ef­forts that would en­cour­age peo­ple to vote are dis­cour­aged. Same-day reg­is­tra­tion or vot­ing by mail are both on the list of no-no’s. In New York, for ex­am­ple, if one of th­ese mea­sures that would en­cour­age or al­low peo­ple to vote is pro­posed, the Repub­li­cans who con­trol the Se­nate aren’t in­ter­ested. The big “if” is whether the Democrats will change the rules when they take the so-called up­per house. Don’t for­get that even the Democrats got elected un­der the ex­ist­ing rules.

Then there is the ques­tion of de­bates. Demo­cratic Gov­er­nor An­drew Cuomo, like his fa­ther Mario be­fore him, doesn’t want to screw up his huge lead with nasty old de­bates. Pre­dictably, he has in­sisted that third party can­di­dates be in­cluded in any de­bates. His op­po­nent, Dutchess County Ex­ec­u­tive Marc Moli­naro, knows this is the kiss of death. Cuomo is so far ahead in the polls that he will not risk do­ing the right thing by agree­ing to de­bate. The last thing he wants to deal with is ques­tion­ing about his ten­ure so far, in­clud­ing the trail of cor­rup­tion among his clos­est aides. Hypocrisy re­ally knows no po­lit­i­cal party. If we look away, we de­serve what we get. If we fight, we will over­come.

Sun­day Free­man colum­nist Alan Char­tock is a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at the State Uni­ver­sity of New York, pub­lisher of the Leg­isla­tive Gazette and CEO

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