The widely respected performing arts publisher Glenn Young, whose Applause Bookshop on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is still very much missed by entertainment industry professionals of every stripe, has written and actively disseminated a scathing, unsparing indictment of the current New York City mayoral election.
Young reserves a particular form of venom for the incumbent mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
With Young’s permission, The Clyde Fitch Report is republishing Young’s remarks. They do not necessarily represents the views of this website.
They should, however, be viewed as an incentive for a substantive discussion of the election across the New York City arts scene.
Here is Young’s essay:
When the World Trade Center was attacked in September 2001, the mayoral primaries and election were right around the corner. Mayor Giuliani’s first gutless, counterproductive reaction was to suspend the election — on the grounds that we New Yorkers were too preoccupied with our recent tragedy to think straight. Osama bin Laden attacks America in a brazen attempt to disrupt our civilization, and the first thing Hizzoner thinks to do is rush to his assistance. The only mayoral candidate to go along with this criminal, insane postponement plan was Mike Bloomberg. In his cavalier clubhouse swagger, Mike was willing to put aside a process which took mankind thousands of years and endless amounts of blood to achieve.
Today, Mr. Mayor undermines the election laws like he was marking his ball on a putting green, as if they were just some minor inconvenience to his master plan. The mayor knows that the September primaries were attended largely by schoolchildren running bake sales. He is taking our apathy for granted — and using it against us. Forget September 2001, New York, you are under direct attack right now — in November 2009. Will you fight or succumb? Do you truly cherish your democratic freedoms and principles or is the Star Spangled Banner a stale karaoke exercise?
Will you stand up for the Democratic candidate in the greatest democratic bastion in America? Or will you stand mutely in the shadows, along with all the other, so-called outspoken leaders of the Democratic party? Obama doesn’t have the courage to champion the Democratic candidate. The head of the Democratic National Convention is what — too busy to back the Democrat? Well, what about you? We may not be able to deny Bloomberg the election, but we can at least deny him his insufferable smugness.
It was an international apocalypse when Brazil’s president skirted his constitution and extended his term. Just today John Kerry was outraged on Face The Nationat the prospect of sending more troops to Afghanistan, where its president has bought the election. When there’s a coup in Honduras, and the Pan American alliance seems about to shatter, Hillary Clinton charges to the rescue of democracy in our hemisphere. But when Mike Bloomberg hijacks the election process right here in America’s greatest city, Hillary has no comment; Obama has no comment. What about you?
What was it you said about that silly term limits business, Mr. Mayor? That there simply wasn’t time for another referendum on the issue? Do we really not have time for democracy any longer, Mr. Mayor? Maybe we should do in New York what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq: send in the Marines to set up a freely elected democracy. How is it that we can spend eight years and the better part of a trillion dollars defending the principle of democracy in a couple of countries halfway around the world, but not in our own city?
Mike Bloomberg’s win this November is sadly nothing we can change, but it is not something that we can’t stand up to. Even in defeat we can regain some of our squandered dignity as New Yorkers. We can get back in the practice of participating in the electoral process. The mayor has already promised (fingers crossed?) not to run for a fourth term. Maybe next election we’ll actually have an election.
Perhaps you’ve already succumbed to the Bloomberg hypnotic glare. You’re too comfortable lazing in the Bloomberg jacuzzi. Why fight the inevitable, you say. It’s not like this is Tiananmen Square, where the protesters had a real shot at challenging city hall, or the riots in Teheran a few months ago, where the protesters had a genuine fighting chance. Oh, sure, a few of them paid for their democratic stance with their lives, but, you know, they’re foreigners. Anyway, no one would ever challenge our freedoms. You’re lying back in that warm bath, watching the blood drain out of both wrists, too weak to fight.
There is indeed going to be a referendum this year on mayoral term limits. It’s called the mayoral election. At least Bill Thompson has entered the fray with both fists flailing. It’s not his fault he’s far from the most compelling of candidates. Bill Thompson is what you get when the election has already been decided by the party bosses and the local media months ahead of time. Yes, just like the “good old days” of Tammany Hall. We are limited to the Bloomberg franchise of candidates because he’s bought up all the bandwidth and forced everybody but “Post-No-Bill” Thompson out of the race.
Bill Thompson is Bloomberg’s designated opponent. Bloomberg has poisoned the playing field by grabbing both goal posts and paying for the stadium (yes, both of them). If Bloomberg had legally yielded his crown, there would no doubt be a very healthy pool of candidates to choose from.
Mike Bloomberg is whatever stripe he thinks will win him the mayoralty. He was a Dem, then turned Republican, then Independent. Is that your idea of a man of principle? What will he be next, a Whig? A Know-Nothing? A neo-Communist? The sad truth is that we New Yorkers have shirked our responsibilities for too long. Meanwhile, Mike and Bush and Rush have been munching on our house politic like rabid termites.
Osama bin Laden has already won in America and in New York City. He has undermined our freedoms, altered our society. And we’ve spent the last decade voting in every creep all too happy to help him.
Vote for anybody but Mike. Write anybody else a check. Circulate your own email, or forward this one.
Before you go to sleep tonight, New York, wake up!
Your Fellow New Yorker,