By Dan Weaver
While I was on my way to Binghamton, driving in the passing lane of I-88 because the driving lane is not fit to drive in, Governor Cuomo released a statement condemning the violence of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. When Adam Lanza shot up a kindergarten class in Connecticut, Cuomo responded with legislation restricting automatic weapons to seven rounds of ammunition. It did not matter that the killings had taken place in another state, nor that New York state had (thankfully) experienced only one mass shooting ever.
I half expected him to suggest a new SAFE Act after a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd in Virginia, killing one and injuring others. Logic dictates that Cuomo should have passed legislation limiting cars to seven gallons of gas and forcibly taking cars away from mentally ill people. But I have for a long time given up on expecting consistency from Cuomo or most politicians. They make decisions based upon expediency and, in Cuomo’s case, with an eye on a run for the presidency.
Cuomo wasn’t the only New York State official to respond to the tragedy that unfolded 400 miles away. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also released a statement. In it he said, “Each of us—especially those of us in public office—has a moral obligation to condemn these actions in the strongest of terms.” He gave no proof for why he believes a New York State official has a moral obligation to condemn what took place in Virginia.
Both men are hypocrites. When a radical leftist opened fire on Republican congressmen, neither man released statements condemning the act. Schneiderman lamely tweeted, “We shouldn’t live in a culture where congressmen are shot playing baseball.” He also tweeted “No matter your party, we should all be able to agree that the plague of gun violence has touched the lives of far too many families.” Cuomo tweeted, “Sickened by the news in Alexandria this morning. My thoughts are with those affected, and grateful for the brave first responders.”
Strange how Schneiderman did not tweet anything this time about the plague of automobile violence, even though the number of people using cars to deliberately kill others has increased dramatically over the past few years. In his condemnation of the violence in Virginia, Schneiderman went on to say, “False equivalencies between “sides” simply provide cover to the white supremacists seeking to take our country backwards and tear our communities apart.”
While I agree with Schneiderman’s comments about white supremacists, the situation in Charlottesville raises five issues, four which are being ignored, and none of which are false equivalencies.
First. The dangers of the white supremacist movement and what to do about it–the only issue being talked about.
Second. The dangers of the radical left and what to do about it. Before the white supremacist drove his car into the crowd, there was violence on both sides. The left was not there to do a MLK non-violent thing, just as the white supremacists weren’t.
Third. The issue of free speech. Attacks by liberals and leftists against free speech and against the ACLU for supporting the right of white supremacists to protest, places them squarely in the neo-nazi camp. They pose as much a danger to our form of government as white supremacists.
Fourth. How far are we going to go with removing statues relating to white supremacy? Are we going to remove the Thomas Jefferson Memorial? How about the Herkimer House and Johnson Hall, devoted to men who were slave owners and white supremacists. In case you think this is unlikely to happen, one Albany columnist has already argued for removing Revolutionary War hero Phillip Schuyler’s name from an Albany school.
Fifth. The failure of Charlottesville’s mayor and Virginia’s governor to prepare adequately for confrontation, the way the NYPD does.
Our constitution and representative form of government are in danger from both the right and the left. Keeping an eye on and condemning white supremacists and other radical right wing groups needs to be done, but not by taking our eyes off of the dangers emanating from some liberals and leftists.
Finally, we have many problems in New York State that are not being dealt with. Potholes in the driving lanes of I-88 are just one example. The failing NYC subway system is another. I do not need to list all the problems facing the State of Taxes. You know them. Cuomo and Schneiderman know them. They need to focus on NYS and not what’s going on elsewhere.
Dan Weaver lives in the town of Florida and owns a business in the city of Amsterdam.