Message to New Yorkers: If the Governor Kicks You Out, You’re Welcome in Oklahoma

Message to New Yorkers: If the Governor Kicks You Out, You’re Welcome in Oklahoma January 25, 2014


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.”

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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. 

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58 responses to “Message to New Yorkers: If the Governor Kicks You Out, You’re Welcome in Oklahoma”

  1. Rebecca,

    You’ve hit another home run with this post. Congratulations.

    And although I live in Maryland now, I was born and raised up in NYC until I left for the Naval Academy in 1968 so it pains me to see what is happening in The Empire State where I spent my formative years. (And where I look forward to riding in the Bike New York Five Boro Tour in early-May.)

    Thinking of the New York slogan brings to mind the outstanding talk that Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, gave at the Vigil of Life where he recalled the children’s story “The Emperor’s New Suit.” Cardinal O’Malley said, “The King’s New Clothes” today are called reproduction rights, termination of pregnancy, choice, and many other subterfuges that disguise the reality and the brutality that is abortion. If you or other visitors to Public Catholic have not already read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is compelling and inspirational. You can find it here.

    Peace and all good.
    Twitter: @RayGlennon

  2. Pro aborts live a lot better lives in New Yawk than pro aborts in your neck of the woods. Tell us again how sorry you are that George Tiller’s head got blown off, in Church, on a Sunday morning, during services, where he was acting usher.

  3. I don’t think you’ll get many takers on your asylum offer. Most New Yorkers consider anything outside of the city, and LA to be “flyover country.” New Yorkers also don’t consider rudeness a character flaw. It’s one thing I always appreciated about New Yorkers, and those from New Jersey and Satanists….you always know where you stand with these folks! 🙂

  4. I’m a New Yorker! Lived here since three years old and for most of it I’ve had to suffer with the worst of policies and politicians. Not only do I now have the worst of all worlds, but they have shockingly told me to get out! Can you imagine, politicians telling people taxpayers to get out of their state? It is amazing, jaw-dropping amazing. I don’t even have to live here. I work in New Jersey, whose policies and politicians aren’t that much better. But at least I would cut my commute time if I moved over. The only reason I’ve remained in NY is that my parents and my wife’s parent’s (both sets now down to just a matriarch) live here and I have a sense of identity with the place I grew up in. While my mother is still around and kicking, I’ll remain here but after that all bets are off. And when I retire, hopefully within ten years, then I certainly don’t intend to stay here. Even before this there were dozens of reasons to move: the winters, the taxes, the traffic, etc. Thank you for the invite. I’ll put it on my list of potential places. Oklahoma at least reflects my values.

  5. One more thing. If anyone should be ex-communicated from the Catholic Church it should be Andrew Cuomo. He has flaunted what was supposed to be a sacramental marriage and started living with someone while in public office, has advanced the most liberal abortion laws, and was singlely responsible for pushing through the gay marriage law in NY state, which then snowballed across the country. He has besmirched every Catholic cultural issue.

  6. “Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay?”

    It’s getting harder and harder to tolerate these people. They swear that they have a deity on their side and are the true Americans. They are becoming a nuisance.

  7. The country is polarized on this issue. I doubt Cuomo will lose even one vote over his statement. Just like you lose no votes when you freely call pro aborts “baby killlers”. People are either voting for you or not. They know who you are and you know who they are. Why pussy foot?

    Good for him. Good for you.

  8. I’ve never called anyone a “baby killer.”

    However, you’re right in that the votes of people who vote on this issue are fixed. You are wrong to think that most people vote on this issue. In truth, most people do not cast their votes based on it.

    You also miss my point, which has nothing to do with the Governor’s position on an issue and everything to do with his attitude toward his job and the people of New York.

  9. There are other boards where you can comment Bill. They aren’t so full of “these people” that you think are a “nuisance.”

    You don’t have to come here and hang out with us if we are such a nuisance and so hard to tolerate.

  10. I know this is true, and to be honest, I think it’s funny. How arrogant and naive of them. What they’re talking about IS the country they live in. They are just the rim.

    “Most New Yorkers consider anything outside of the city, and LA to be “flyover country.”

  11. Well, actually, your blog is a medium for reasoned discourse. It allows both sides to voice their opinions. It is one of the best on the web.

  12. I think there truly is some migration going on among conservatives in blue states (or “purple” states that are red, but for a big blue metro that swings the whole state their way). I know I got tired of fighting losing political/moral battles and watching good declared legally evil and evil declared legally good. I have other friends who landed south of you, down in TX, while hubby and I landed west of you here in AZ (we did consider TX, but wanted to stay on this “half” of the continent. And I find tornados an unnerving prospect!). Another friend is looking to escape NY, since he is the kind of person Cuomo hates and the state’s policies are increasingly making him miserable. I don’t know what this kind of shift will mean, long term, for our country. Those of us moving aren’t doing it to effect change so much as to attempt to enjoy being Americans in the shrinking parts of the country where that’s still possible. :p

  13. Love Blue Bell Ice Cream. It’s the best. We’re working on our politicians. One day, we’ll match you: Nut for nut. 🙂

  14. We have Blue Bell over here in AZ, too. Currently working our way thru a bucket of their Mocha Almond Fudge. 😀 When you’re in the Northwest, THE comparable ice cream is Tillamook, so if you’re ever up that way, grab some in the grocery, you’ll be glad you did. We were sad to not have it down here, til we found Blue Bell. 🙂

  15. Texas, where politics is a blood sport and the only thing in the middle of the road is the yellow line and a dead armadillo. Can’t wait to get back. And love the little creamery in Navasota, too.

  16. Oops, my mistake. I thought you were talking about the rep who claims autism is a punishment from God for allowing Gay rights, but now I remember she was kicked out of Chicago by the Republicans, not NY

  17. Hmmm…cuture of death? Cuomo was clearly refering to “extreme” conservatives – meaning folks who do not hold a rational position, but instead resort to extreme language and sometimes resort to extreme action. Culture of death, indeed! One could say Cuomo was excising the idea of a culture of hate.

  18. Ted has his own blog and we go at it pretty good. This is nothing out of the ordinary. Our interactions outside of his blog are few and far between and pretty tame by comparison. Thank you for bringing us together.

  19. What offends is not so much the extremism as the stupidity. Governor Andrew Cuomo made a public admission that he neither knows nor understands a considerable minority of the people in his state, and, what is more, he does see it as his duty to understand. He sees it as his duty to despise what he does not understand. He is stupid beyond recovery, because he has willingly forged his stupidity into self-righteousness. I think it was GB Shaw who said that whenever a stupid person does something he is ashamed of, he says that it is his duty. The trouble with Cuomo is that one does not even feel any shame about showing his lack of understanding in public. Stupidity as a matter of pride! Congratulations, New Yorkers, you’ve really got yourselves some specimen. Give this guy some space and he will make Berlusconi and Rob Ford of Toronto look good.

  20. This kind of intellect goes with mr.Cuomo’s self-proclaimed and self-advertised stupidity.You see, O fellow genius of Cuomo’s, when you react to a charge against a member of your party (or your church, family, football team, whatever) by going desperately through the membership of the opposing party, church, family or football team, till you find someone who has done something you think can be compared to your man’s charge – when you perform this very stupid procedure, you are not only failing to defend your man or proving that he is not the crook or the moron that his words or his actions charge him as: you are positively admitting that he is guilty as charged, since the only thing you can say for him is that the enemy group have people whom you see as just as bad. And this “defence” being fundamentally stupid to its bones, we are not surprised to find that it is also wrong in fact: as in comparing the governor of the most important state in the Union, son of a previous governor and as much an inherited power as any absolute King, with some goddamn local politician in Chicago nobody will ever hear about, and that there is no comparison between a Republican Party that kicked him out for being an idiot, and a Democratic Party which (with the honourable and valiant exception of a certain Oklahoma state rep) has been lining up to be silent or defend New York’s moronic governor- by-hereditary-right.

  21. Here I feel I have to put in an explanation. I hope you never had the impression that I looked down on you or on your state, Rebecca, or on the kind of world you live in; but metropolitan life is special. I should know.. The list of towns I have lived in reads: Milan, Rome, Oxford, Rome, London. The one year I spent in what I would describe as a provincial town, my Army year in L’Aquila, central Italy, nearly drove me crazy. I could not get used to the idea that an hour’s walk would take me into open country. I felt alone and far from anything. It’s just that you get used to the idea that any good act or great exhitbition will be within your reach (a year and a half ago I had an amazing time visiting the Leonardo exhibition at the National Gallery of London) or that if you’re in the mood to try any cuisine you’re unfamiliar with, there are Mongolian or Eritrean or, yes, Texan restaurants within easy distance. This may sound like bragging and excess, but it actually is about having an extraordinary reach to all sorts of stimulating and often surprisingly cheap things. You get used to it. You need it. And you inevitably develop a problem with having to live anywhere but in the metropolis.

  22. Sorry for the confusion, Bill, I’m not in an Order, I’m a boring ol’ Protestant, married later on in adulthood. The “sister” thing started out as a “single (apparently) til death” joke in my 20s, and since I’m a Christian, it made me smile and I kept it (I’m not the ONLY Sister Cynthia on the net, but I can’t speak to whether the other person(s?) is/are a nun). I AM quite fond of Benedictine spirituality, and if I’d been raised/converted to Catholicism instead of Presbyterianism, I’d probably have gone into the monastic life, or at least pursued it. 🙂

  23. To someone in the NW of America, we think of Texan food as being: steak, more steak, chili without beans (why disturb the steak?), cornbread, biscuits, BBQ (like, the best BBQ going) beef OR pork, beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, perhaps the tex-mex sort of dishes, and likely some other stuff we’d generically think of as “Southern”: grits, collard greens, crawfish or shrimp, fried chicken, chicken fried steak…. Basically: meat and potatoes, simple veggies, and perhaps some really hot sauce. Oh, and with some sweet tea or an American beer of some kind. 😉

  24. Sorry Oklahoma, our Governor Bobby Jindal in Louisiana issued a gracious Southern hospitality and welcome to “extremist” New Yorkers the day after the ding-a-ling in New York’s governor’s mansion made a fool out of himself.
    We have dibs on them and we’d love to have them.

  25. If I may pose a question to Rep. Hamilton:

    If Cuomo had said something the jelled with your ideology but was patently offensive to LGBTQ members of constituency, would you still come out against his words?

    Or would you agree with him?

    Call me a little cynical but in my experience, elected officials echo the sentiments of the constituency that got them into office, not the minority that voted against them in the last election. It’s also been my experience that elected officials will echo sentiments similar to those espoused by whomever paid the bills for their campaign.

  26. I would still come out against him, if he made comments like this about any part of his constituency. He was totally out of line with this speech, and not for ideological reasons, but because he takes the attitude that he is only the governor of the part of the people of New York who agree with him.

    One of the major accusations leveled against President Bush after Katrina (with justification, I might add) is that he only cared about people who voted for him. Governor Cuomo has taken this to a new level by telling a large part of the people that he governs that they should leave the state — based entirely on his ideological disagreement with them.

    It confounds me that you think this is about LGBTQ people. If I remember correctly, he chose to essentially disenfranchise people who were pro life, “anti-gay” (which is so non-specific, I just decided it had to mean gay marriage, but might, in reality, mean anything) and people who support the 2nd Amendment (those who have assault rifles, in the governor’s nomenclature.) According to polls I’ve seen (no idea how accurate they are, but they come from reputable places) that’s loosely about 40% of New Yorkers who fall into one category or another.

    This speech of his was sheer demagoguery of the worst and most destructive sort. It violates every principle of what elected representative office is about.

  27. During the Bush years here in Tennessee, I experienced a lot of hateful conservatives explaining to me, a peace protester, that if I didn’t love Bush I didn’t love America and I needed to just get out. I never bothered to explain to these lovely folks from what Mark Shea would call “the thing that used to be conservatism” that as a matter of fact, I had an ancestor on the Mayflower and furthermore, my ancestors were among the first white people in what became the state of Tennessee. Because I oppose war over lies and because I oppose torture, I have on numerous occasions been invited to get the (heck) out of “their” state.
    But even here in this cesspit of hatefulness, I have never ever had the experience of having an elected official say that I ought to just up and leave my homeland.
    Gov. Cuomo should consider that. His manners, consideration, and all around class now equal the worst of the worst conservatism has to offer here in southeastern “flyover land.”

  28. You might be surprised by this Rep. Hamilton, but I agree with you. Demagoguery of any sort rankles me, regardless of the source. My question was meant in this vein: it has been my experience from both sides of the political spectrum that if the speech were spoken from someone within their own camp, that side would defend it, regardless of content. I meant no disrespect to you.

    As for my mention of LGBTQ, I used them as an example of a particular constituency that many in the conservative camp ignore.

  29. I understand.

    Sadly, more and more of the time, elected representatives do exactly what you describe. Special interests — and the various pressure groups on these social issues are definitely special interests the same as all the others — have control of too many of our elected officials. I do not mean elected officials who honestly agree with them. I am referring to elected puppet people who do what they are told and don’t care about the consequences. I talk about that a lot on this blog because I see it as one of the major challenges to the survival of our republic.

  30. Thank you for all the civil discussions here! I see you as a mighty peacemaker. Where’s the emoticon for “sad weary smile”?

  31. I believe where you and I differ is on finer points of ideology but not as much as one would think. On some issues, I find myself agreeing with conservatives, such as gun control and fiscal responsibility. On some issues, I find myself agreeing with liberals, such as marriage equality and social responsibility.

  32. Having been educated by nuns, I may have shown some animosity to you that was unwarranted. I’ve recently rejected all that I believed for sixty years. So my responses may have been somewhat testy. Interesting that you converted to what have rejected.

  33. Kathy there are hateful people everywhere and of all sides. But a governor of a state telling people to get out is jaw dropping. Those people who were unkind to you don’t represent anything but themselves. There’s a difference in what happened to you.

  34. In some ways — not all — we’re mirror images. I don’t have a quarrel with true conservatives about $ issues — although I don’t always agree with them on particulars. it’s some times i do agree, some times I don’t — but I think the corporatists are pushing an evil and destructive agenda that gets us into one unnecessary war after another and raids the public treasure. I think that if they are not checked, they will ultimately impoverish the people of this country and destroy us as a world power.

    As for gun control, I’m not for it, but I think some of the bills I’ve seen in Oklahoma go too far in the other direction. That’s just nit-picking, but it’s still a fact. I’m opposed to redefining marriage, period. However, I do support human rights for gay people. I am pro life in just about every way you can be pro life, including opposition to the death penalty. I have no idea what you mean by social responsibility, so I can’t address that.

    In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not particularly afraid to take these positions. Never have been. For 18 years, I’ve said what I think, taken the hits associated with that, and, as we say in Oklahoma, stuck to my guns.

    When I switched from pro choice to pro life, I told my constituents and left it to them to decide if they wanted me to continue representing them.

  35. I wondered why I seemed to elicit particular heat once in a while. 😉 No worries, I have heard of hardcase nuns who give monastics a bad name. One friend’s dad counted among his favorite bday gifts a spark-spitting, ruler-wielding “Nunzilla” toy in memory of some nuns he’d known in grade school! And yes, it is interesting how our paths in life take us to or thru different places. 🙂

  36. I try to be, and hopefully will choose more and more consistantly to be so as I keep racking up the years. It never works out well when I let my sarcastic side take over, and it’s too often there waiting for me to be either arrogantly distracted by my own cleverness or really angry, so it can take over operation of my mouth/fingers. Doesn’t happen as often as it once did, but some days, I swear I’m still growing up! 😉

  37. Nunzilla! Awesome!

    Truth be told, I had one nun nazi and the rest were fine. It only takes one to leave a lasting impression of oppression.

  38. Me, I can’t stop my sarcastic alter ego…lol. When I go to confession i’ve frequently had to list some of my ungenerous statements I’ve had with people on the internet. But I’ve gotten better. 🙂

  39. Thank God Michael Voris exposes these weak Bishops like Dolan. I just Dolan at a party palling around with Deblasio. The road to hell is covered with the skulls of Bishops..

  40. Steve, I debated about allowing this. Since you’re new to Public Catholic, I will. You are welcome to comment here, and I appreciate your fervor for our Church. But please, don’t impugn people.

    It’s ok, of course, to disagree with bishops. I do that once in a while myself. But never do it in a way that attacks them personally.

    As for St John Chrysostom, (spelling??) I think he said “the road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamps that light the path.” Had a way with words, St John Chrysostom. He also said that out of thousands of the laity, only a few hundred would see heaven.

    Follow Jesus, Steve, and pray for those you believe are fallen.

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