Who Will Stand Up To Trump?
According to Wikipedia, a sanctuary city "...is a city that has adopted a policy of protecting undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws..."
Chief among reasons is that many undocumented immigrants live exemplary lives and have established families.
Many violated restrictions about coming to this country, especially children, because conditions in their home countries were dangerous and even life threatening, that is, they came in search of the better life for which America is honored around the world.
"The stroke of a pen in Washington does not change the people of New York City, or our values," declared Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"We will not deport law-abiding New Yorkers. We will not tear families apart. We will not leave children without their parents," added de Blasio, according to News1 New York.
With Trump threatening to withdraw up to $7 billion in federal funding, most of it going for policing and anti-terrorism activities, the battle will be pitched, the stakes high.
Concerns are already intense over threats to civil liberties, as evidenced by massive protest marches last weekend in support of women's rights which, most participants seemed to think, are directly in conflict with Trump's bellicose first weeks in office.
Who Stands Up Now?
The coming weeks will yield a lot of useful information about the spines of elected officials here in New York.
Starting immediately after the election in November, it's been clear that, regardless of other concerns, Mayor de Blasio can be trusted to stand tough with the progressive values of most New Yorkers. He was the first outsider to meet with President-elect Trump and has not wavered in his position in the intervening months.
De Blasio approached Trump with "an open hand" for working together, but at the same time, he straightforwardly explained that, not only did New Yorkers not support many of his policies, but some were frightened over seeing him in the White House.
While de Blasio's resolve has only stiffened as he made clear in numerous interviews, other elected officials have not been nearly as strong. Some have been simply foolish. Or naive. Take your pick of poisons.
Governor Andrew Cuomo does not play his hand as openly as our mayor does, and after a first meeting Trump, he said he mainly stressed that the end of federal programs, most notably the Affordable Care Act, would be harmful to the State.
It's hard to imagine that our tough-minded governor would resolve to a hat in hand act, but so far, that's how it looked. Time will tell, but it seems unlikely that the governor would let his arch rival, Bill de Blasio, outdo him.
De Blasio, on the other hand, proposes a City budget that starts to address the potential loss of federal funds under Trump by setting up reserve funds. That tells anyone paying attention that he has no plans on bending to tyranny.
More compromising have been our Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, and Roosevelt Island's Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, each of whom attended and, in Schumer's case, participated in Trump's inauguration.
As the argument goes, each did so in respect for the tradition of peaceful transfers of power in the United States.
As if the person to whom the power is transferred is of no consequence and regardless of legitimacy after an election fraught with foreign and domestic interference...
Maloney was roundly reproached by Roosevelt Islanders who wanted her to boycott the inaugural as five other members of the New York delegation did. Nothing she has done since suggests she will vary from her go along to get along point of view. There's talk, unthinkable six months ago, of a serious primary challenge in 2018 as longtime supporters have walked away in disgust.
Senator Schumer has been worse. Not only did he participate in the inaugural, he has since made conciliatory noises in hope of getting infrastructure money from the Trump administration. How do you spell "sell out?"
In Senator Gillibrand, we see signs of hope. Although the local press continues to have an appalling lack of local coverage - the Times doesn't even seem to know it's in New York, anymore - other media reports that Gillibrand is #1, ahead of Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker and, yes, Bernie Sanders among Senators voting against Trump's cabinet appointees.
As Trump moves pugnaciously against traditions and values New Yorkers hold dear, we will continue to evaluate behaviors of those we elected to represent and, in a very real sense, protect us. The next elections are less than two years away.
Please continue to share your thoughts with us and with our mayor, governor and congressional representatives. Spines may not stiffen unless they hear about the alternatives of not doing so.
Coming Up/Don't Miss Events
- March 2nd, RIHS Presents "North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in NYC Updated 1 day ago
- Continuing, Robert Kippur: A New York Outsider at Gallery RIVAA Updated 2 weeks ago
- Continuing, Special Reception, for Owen Miracle Maselli's An African Winter Updated 3 days ago
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