Monday, May 11, 2015

De Blasio's Vision for NYC

Rolling Stone recently published a very long article about Mayor De Blasio and his progressive vision for NYC.

Elected in 2013 with 73% of the vote, Mayor De Blasio put the issues of economic inequality at the center of his campaign and governing strategy. So far, he has given NYC universal pre-K (which, as a parent, I love), paid sick leave, launched a municipal ID card, and unveiled plans for more affordable housing units. More controversially, he reduced the use of "stop-and-frisk" by the police but has largely maintained the "broken windows" policing that has kept crime low.

His agenda is mostly, to my mind, uncontroversial. Who can argue that parents don't need pre-K? That paid sick leave is a humane policy? That a municipal ID card that helps people access services is bad? And the need for more affordable housing? That last one answers itself. 

These policy achievements might be viewed as "progressive" but, for me, they are just common sense improvements to the quality of life in NYC in the 21st century.

And yet, as successful as he's been (so far), and despite his huge mandate, De Blasio has faced vicious push back from the state government, the media, the wealthy, the so-called (corporate) charter school movement, and, naturally, Republicans. De Blasio wants to fight inequality and these various groups instead want to fight him. In fact, they are scorch-earthed in their hatred for him and his agenda, as this article explains. Just read some of the comments that accompany the article -- they are really, really nasty.
Clearly, instead of wanting to reduce inequality, these people want to preserve it. They don't really hate De Blasio -- they hate the people he represents (namely, the sick and disabled, the poor, minorities, Democrats, and basically anyone who isn't rich, white, and Republican). Really, what the De Blasio haters hate is democracy itself. For them, it doesn't matter that De Blasio and his policies won big and have huge public support -- they want to destroy him and his policies and the people that these policies help. They believe that De Blasio' policies threaten their socioeconomic dominance -- and they can't stand it!

Whether or not De Blasio is successful in the long run remains to be seen. He may have future policy and political stumbles. He may get caught up in some kind of scandal. There might be a  rises that arises that he is incapable of handling. And, of course, the corporate/Republican/media/state government jihad may ultimate succeed in defeating his planned re-election bid in 2017.

But, for now, I'm grateful that, at this moment of history, NYC has a progressive mayor that actually cares about the people and is succeeding.           

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