In the aftermath of 9/11, our leaders — for all their differences — mostly shared the same goals: to rebuild what was lost, restore the economy and rekindle faith in the Big Apple’s historic and inherent greatness.
But for the candidates running in the June 22 Democratic mayoral primary, the COVID-19 plague is no occasion to honor our underlying strength. Rather, it’s a woke-up call to “fix” our allegedly irredeemable systemic racism, social injustice, police brutality, income inequity and environmental exploitation.
An “agrarian” future for New York City? A “people’s bank” to redistribute wealth? Our mayoral hopefuls have harnessed the old liberal battle cry, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” to a saddle up a jolly Trojan horse of far-left wish lists masquerading as remedies to the worst economic and social crisis the city has ever seen.
Instead of legitimately debating how City Hall should tackle genuine issues once COVID-19 abates — like reining in mentally-ill pushers on the subway — our mayoral wannabes prefer to toss around the Marxist-Leninist lingo of “the people,” “revolution” and “redistribution.”
Comptroller Scott Stringer says the “pandemic has heightened our hunger crisis” and wants to spend $25 million on “food security” for “undocumented New Yorkers” — i.e., illegal immigrants. But that’s not all. He wants “a holistic approach to dismantle systemic racism in food policy that shapes how people grow, sell, and eat food.” A lofty goal indeed for a city that can’t install public toilets or keep outdoor restaurants safe from rats.
To Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, “The pandemic exposed the deep inequities in our food system.” He would address them with “a new agrarian economy.” Hopefully bananas on our roofs will work better than in Cambodia’s “agrarian utopia” where millions were slaughtered in the Khmer Rouge’s killing fields.
Maverick candidate Andrew Yang says “no one should consider the recovery from the pandemic a success” until “gains in employment, income and social mobility are evenly distributed.” Even though Yang is no Marxist, he says he’d establish a “People’s Bank” to make it happen. How well that worked in the USSR!
Former Citibank executive Ray McGuire, perhaps the most “moderate” candidate, wants mobile “Doctors to the People” clinics — i.e., a $10 million roving truck fleet — “to tackle the dire health care inequities exposed by the COVID pandemic.” I thought such “inequities” were clear decades before the virus hit our city, but there’s nothing like the C-word to make a long-standing reality of city life seem freshly revealed.
These “progressive” whims are in thrall to national trends: President Biden’s $1.9 trillion “relief” plan includes $90 million to bail out underfunded union pension plans, while urban teachers want $1 billion, in part, to achieve their long-held goal of creating “smaller class sizes in the city’s neediest schools.”
At least one mayoral candidate — Dianne Morales — actually wholeheartedly embraces these radical ideas. She wants to “divest from the police, invest in the people” and suggests we junk the old New York City altogether. “This is the moment for us to throw out the old playbook and the old rules,” she recently told The Root. “The notion of property ownership is one that was man-made,” Morales said. “It’s an economic paradigm that we can change. We can focus on social housing.”
Nobody thinks she stands a chance of winning. But nobody thought Bill de Blasio had a hope in hell either, and the new weighted-vote system — where voters can rank up to five candidates in order of their choice, and the one who gets the most votes over 50 percent wins — makes any outcome possible.
With candidates like these, New York could face a heartbreaking destiny: a city that overcame the pandemic, only to be destroyed by a mayor who delivers woke ruination.