Marc Molinaro, candidate for Antonio Delgado’s U.S. House of Representatives seat, was on Main Street in Cooperstown on Tuesday talking to business owners and people in general.
“This is probably my tenth or twelve visit to this region. The region still holds on to the small villages and a sense of community, and the surrounding areas. The area still faces the same challenges though; I’ve been speaking with business owners and they are having a hard time getting labor, materials, and goods, and the cost of business is higher than it’s ever been before.
“Online competition is real. Those are the challenges that every community and their small businesses face,” Mr. Molinaro said.
Two candidates, two different offices – neither complete newcomers to public service but each, in his own way, relative newcomers to political battlefields.
The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta spoke last week with Matt Castelli, a Democrat looking to unseat Republican Elise Stefanik in the 21st Congressional District, newly drawn to include the Village of Cooperstown and the northern half of Otsego County. The newspapers also spoke with Harry Wilson, the Johnstown, New York native and Harvard University graduate running in the Republican Party primary for governor of New York State.
That primary election takes place June 28; Mr. Wilson is competing against putative frontrunner Rep. Lee Zeldin, Andrew Giuliani, and former gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino for the chance to run against the winner of the Democratic primary, which pits incumbent Kathy Hochul against challengers Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“I’ve spent 30 years turning corporations around,” Mr. Wilson said. “In just about every circumstance, a company’s failures come from mismanagement by leaders at the top. We’ve got a professional class of politicians leading the state. We need a turnaround expert.”
Democrats Can Rebuild Around Climate Change, Economic Justice
Now that the Democrats have made a comeback by capturing the House of Representatives, they are faced with how to use their new power. Up to now, they have been obsessed with Trump, and split on how to address the problems of the day.
We’ll get to Trump in a moment. But first, let’s look at what the Democrats have to say about the big issues of the day.
These boil down to two super-problems: runaway climate change for all and increasing economic insecurity for many. It’s hard to think of any major issue which isn’t entangled in one or both of these, or that wouldn’t be greatly alleviated by progress on either of them.
Status quo Democrats (the Clinton-Obama tradition) have become the party’s conservatives. They’ve been running the show for a generation, and have failed to rein in either climate change or economic insecurity. There’s less and less reason to think they can deal with these mounting problems.
Progressive Democrats, by contrast, are largely defined by the Bernie Sanders movement, which, revealingly, calls itself “Our Revolution.” They are also influenced by the Green party, particularly by its call for a Green New Deal, recently endorsed by Bill McKibben.
The Green New Deal is remarkable in its focus on the twin problems of climate change and economic justice. So far, it’s the only alternative this writer has seen to business as usual (just Google “Green New Deal”).
The Green New Deal calls for closing overseas military bases and using the savings to help finance domestic renewal. It demands an end to subsidies and tax breaks for fossil-fuel related industries. It insists on an immediate transition to 100 percent renewables.
It identifies the financial system, led by too-big-to-fail private banks, as the main obstacle to economic restructuring. It proposes an alternative public banking system to fund infrastructure, guarantee employment, transition to renewables, offer free education through college, and provide single-payer, comprehensive Medicare for all.
Revolutions are risky business.
Can revolutionary excesses be avoided? Climate change and economic insecurity are increasingly catastrophic. Is a Green New Deal what we need to cope? Is it practical? Can it gain broad support? Can it hope to overcome its formidable opponents? Can its goals be achieved without chaos and abuse of power?
A lot will depend on the answers to these questions.
But, like it or not, the Green New Deal takes seriously our most intractable problems, and gives us a sense of what it will take to deal with them. If we’re going to have a revolution, this is the one the
Progress on big issues is unlikely, however, unless Democrats (and Republicans) learn to deal with Trump. We all know his faults. He has also become the voice of social grievances his critics have mostly, to their peril, ignored. Perhaps most important, he denies climate change and takes extremes of wealth for granted.
Whatever collusions and financial ripoffs might be pinned on Trump, even if illegal, blend all too easily with what many corporations and governments do routinely these days. In these ways, he’s as American as apple pie.
He should be impeached if impeachable offenses can be established. But for impeachment to stick, to avoid the appearance of political vengeance, it has to be part of a larger sense of renewed justice that speaks to the revolutionary changes which seem to be increasingly in the air.
That means getting serious about climate change and economic insecurity – two items not on Trump’s agenda.
Adrian Kuzminski, a retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.
COOPERSTOWN – Father Patrick J. Conroy, who filled in in at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Catholic Church when the pastor, Father John Rosson, went on vacation in October, has been ousted as chaplain at the U.S. House of Representatives under a cloud of controversy.
“As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives,” read Father Conroy’s letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, dated April 15. Conroy, a Jesuit, leaves the job on May 24.