Archive for November, 2010

Letter From New York November 7, 2010

November 8, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

As I am writing this, I am journeying back down to the city after a very brief sojourn at the cottage, going back to the city to attend a farewell party for James Green, formerly CEO of several high tech companies, including Sabela Media, the company for which I was working when I moved to New York. James has emerged as a good friend and we have stayed in touch since the Sabela days.

Today he is about to embark upon an adventure he has been dreaming about since he was twelve years old. He and his wife have sold everything, purchased a lovely catamaran now named Ondine and are heading south to spend the winter sailing through the Caribbean before a spring Atlantic crossing to the Mediterranean where they will spend the summer. After that, who knows? Back to the Caribbean, out to Australia, back to work? But they are sailing away, the whole family, James and his wife, Emma Kate and their two children, Paloma and Ronan, who will most likely learn more while traveling than they ever could in school. Off to an adventure that almost everyone has dreamt about at one time or another – and an adventure they are going to live out. They’ll be gone for a year or two, vagabonds of the sea…

The Ondine, in port in the British Virgin Islands.

It’s probably a good time to be away. The Midterms have come and gone with the general consensus among my Democratic friends that it was not as bad as it could have been. Harry Reid might be despised by nearly everyone but was not so unpredictable as the loose cannon Sharon Angle, who struck me as simply unbelievable but less unbelievable than the Republican/Tea Party candidate in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, she who once said she had frolicked on a Satanic altar, a statement that haunted her enough that she felt a need to take out ads that stated categorically she was not a witch, a decision she later regretted.

New York was spared the embarrassment of Paladino as Governor, a candidate that seemed to have a boundless ability to insert his foot in his mouth and to alienate nearly everyone while also leaving behind the impression, if not the fact, that his business dealings were suspect if not downright sleazy. Both Senatorial seats from New York remained in Democratic hands with Cuomo defeating Paladino for the Governorship. Locally, Democrats fared less well. Scott Murphy, the freshman Congressman from my district was voted out. The Republican State Senator, Steve Saland, defeated his Democratic rival, a disturbing result as Saland potentially crossed ethical lines in sending letters to volunteer fire departments demanding they support him publicly by directing members to vote for him and to have signs supporting him on fire department buildings in exchange for all the “help” he has achieved for them in the Legislature. This late breaking development in the race was disturbing to me and ensures that I will work to unseat him next election; he has crossed a line as far as I am concerned.

The entire race seemed to generate excitement only among the far right. The left was seemingly exhausted and unable to become enthused and motivated to work hard to fight back against the assault of the right. While Republicans claim a mandate, voter polls indicate that might well be a mistake. For example, in exit polls 47% of voters were in favor of maintaining or expanding health care reform while 48% were against it. Only 40% want the Bush Era tax cuts extended for everyone. 53% of voters have an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party while 52% have an unfavorable view of Republicans.

At the end of the day, the voters seemed to be saying – as it seems to me – that what is happening now is not good enough and something better is needed. What I fear is that as we seek that something better we might yield to the loud voices of demagogues rather than those of reason, seeking answers from leaders who promise easy solutions born out of undirected anger and pointed divisiveness.