New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a now-famous rant, put out the Not Welcome mat in front of Empire State pro lifers. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is at odds with the governor over much else, followed up by announcing that he stands with Cuomo “100%” when it comes to this.
It’s not often that Bishops of the Catholic Church feel called to chastise a politician’s statements publicly. In my experience, they tend to bend over backwards to assume the best. They give the politician in question every opportunity to either correct themselves verbally, or show by their actions that they didn’t really mean it.
In addition, Bishops are not prone to take note of politician’s speeches. It has to be something major, extremely grave and dangerous to the welfare of the larger Catholic community before they inject themselves into pubic commentary about the various political gaffes floating around the internet.
I think it’s telling that Governor’s Cuomo’s outlandish remarks were so over the top, that the Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo responded publicly.
Insofar as his job of Governor is concerned, the question of Governor Cuomo’s standing with the Church is a secondary issue. What matters specifically to his position of governor is his standing with the people of New York.
Is he the governor of those who agree with him and none others? Does he seriously think he’s been elected king of New York and it’s within his purview to go around announcing what kind of viewpoints and beliefs New Yorkers are allowed to hold?
His comments go far beyond normal political misbehavior and step over into is-he-nuts territory. What’s going on with the Governor of New York?
Here, for your delectation, is a bit of what Governor Cuomo said:
“Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
I’ve held off writing about this because it is so over the top in terms of acceptable behavior from an elected official that I decided to give it a bit of time to jell. I wanted to allow Governor Cuomo a chance to issue a press release saying, I was suffering from gastroenteritis/drunk/grief-stricken-because-my-dog-had-died at the time and said things that in no way represent what I truly think. Nothing that carries the flat-out I-did-not-mean-it apology which I think is required for such outrageous comments from an elected official has ensued.
It appears that not just the Governor, but the mayor of New York (or, as we call it where I’m from, New York City) are standing pat. They may not agree on much else, but they agree “100%” that people who think differently from them on a whole range of issues are not welcome in New York.
This isn’t about pro life vs pro abortion. It’s not about gun control vs the Second Amendment. It’s also not about gay vs traditional marriage. It’s about two elected officials who, from all evidence, have totally lost their sense of what elective office means. Both the Governor and the attaboy mayor following in his footsteps have taken on attitudes and ideas that are antithetical to what public service in the form of elective office entails.
When you’re elected to office, you represent everyone in the area that elected you. That means, Mr Governor and Mr Mayor, even those who oppose gun control, gay marriage and abortion. You are their governor and their mayor just the same as you are the mayor or governor for your pals and cronies who blow smoke up your skirts and tell you what a “statesman” you are for kicking everyone else to the curb.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with your constituents. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you. It certainly doesn’t matter if they like you or not. They can call you names and drive you nuts with weird accusations and oddball demands all they want. The office you occupy belongs to them. Not you.
Governor Cuomo occupies the office of Governor of New York. But the office belongs to the people of New York.
By the people of New York, I mean all of them, including those that the Governor and his mayoral echo say “don’t belong” in their fair state and city.
I want to wind this up by with two thoughts.
First, I extend my sincere condolences to the people of New York. I especially want to express solidarity with the traditional Christians, traditional marriage and sanctity of human life defenders who live there. You are, to quote Moses, strangers in a strange land.
Second, I would like to invite disaffected, disenfranchised New Yorkers of whatever belief to come on down to Oklahoma. We’ve got both pro life and pro choice people in Oklahoma. We’ve got gun control advocates and NRA members, sitting side by side in restaurants, eating their catfish and chicken fried steak. We’ve got gay people, demanding gay marriage, and supporters of traditional marriage arguing back at them.
Come to Oklahoma New Yorkers. Around here we are free, as Wesley suggested, to think and let think.