A couple of weeks back I happened to notice an interesting school project my daughter was working on. The project had to do with understanding both its meaning and consequences when an act of bullying occurs. Initially, when hearing the word bully I immediately think of two kids in a school yard with one looking for power and control while the other becomes submissive. My guess is we all pretty much understand that a bully is one who hurts or intimidates weaker or smaller people. But what happens when a young child becomes an adult who overpowers another adult through dishonesty and bribery? Would you consider that adult to be a bully or is there another word for it which is similar in concept of overpowering another person through various means?
Well folks, thanks to my daughter's school project and the opportunity to use this space provided for me as a bully pulpit, I am able to express a major concern. For those unfamiliar with the term "bully pulpit" it is a term coined by President Theodore Roosevelt which was a platform to where one would advocate an agenda. An alarming word has recently come to the forefront. So, class, you ready for the new word of the day? I would like to describe the new word as being something of a new bully on the block and it's happening only 30 miles east of Amsterdam. It's a place where overgrown kids bully their way around as public servants trying to influence others into breaking the rules. The word is called "corruption." The place is called the state Capitol in Albany.
If you've been following the news of late, political corruption has been discovered in the Empire State where a number of big bully state legislators are now facing indictment. Are you kidding me? This can't be happening, can it? There is a reason for my labeling them as "big bully" legislators. I would like to refer back to the school project and its definition as a bully being "one who hurts." Of course we need to take it one step further by saying one who hurts and deceives "the honest taxpaying citizen." Yes indeed we have been fooled once again in making us believe that our vote means something.
"Intimidate" is another interesting word in the definition of a bully. For some reason big bully legislators have a way of getting what they want by overpowering the weaker mind through influence. I'll also bet my bottom dollar somewhere along the line the influence of money is where these corrupt creatures of habit utilize their power. It's just my guess. Unfortunately we the people are presently stuck with a cesspool of political corruption where controlling parties protect their assets by whatever means possible. In fact it's getting so bad that some state legislators are now walking around wearing wires and secretly recording conversations of other elected officials. I thought this type of thing only happened in those mob movies. Is this the kind of government we the people voted for?
It's sad to say New York state is now on the top of the list as being one of the most corrupt states. We are also noted for holding a couple of other distinctions such as being highly over regulated and over taxed. How much more can the citizens of New York endure? Well, if you continue to follow the census of a shifting population the answer is simple. New York is not the place to live. Wait, folks, big news flash: Gov. Cuomo vows to combat corruption. The big bully in Albany is warning the little bully legislators to enact tougher anti-corruption measures. According to Gov. Cuomo if they don't act by the June 20 session then one of his options could be to order a commission investigating corruption in state government.
This sort of makes me think of a watchdog watching the watchdog. But who is watching the watchdog who is watching the watchdog? It sounds pretty confusing folks but that's the way our government works. At this point Albany has seen 32 state level officials snared in corruption cases in the past seven years. The question remains as to how many more are out there and will they be caught? This whole situation of corruption reminds me of a song which was written by P.F. Sloan in 1965. The song, entitled "Eve of Destruction," was descriptive song of protest sung by Barry McGuire. It speaks of world events happening during that time which pointed to a world of destruction.
I would like to introduce to you a portion of the song while at the same time thinking about what is happening in our government today.
Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'
And you tell me
Over and over again , my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
... and corruption.
Until next time, hold that thought.
MIKE LAZAROU is an Amsterdam native and a regular columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.