Kathy Hochul and the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate would rather have black people keep dying than admit they were wrong and do something about it.
Their political egos are more important than the sons and daughters of urban New York.
That’s the inescapable conclusion as the New York Democratic Party arrogantly ignores the reality of its criminal justice reform and turns a deaf ear to impassioned pleas to revisit its deadly legislation.
That’s not the opinion of a Republican columnist, it’s the claim of Democrat officials.
Like the former lieutenant governor, who confidentially wrote the governor pleading for a special session of the legislature, claiming that Democrat criminal justice reform had made the streets more dangerous than he had ever seen in his 40-year career.
Like the Albany County district attorney, who publicly wrote the governor, directly blaming Democrat criminal justice reform for violence in his jurisdiction – in which every homicide victim this year has been black – and claiming the party’s focus on red-flag laws does nothing to protect people from street violence.
Like the president and four members of the Rochester City Council, who likewise wrote the governor demanding a special session of the legislature to authorize judges to set high bail on dangerous people arrested for gun crimes.
Those are all Democrats, none of whom are up for re-election, all of whom are horrified by the bloodletting on their cities’ streets.
“If you believe that black lives matter – we’re getting shot!” said Democrat Rochester City Councilman Michael Patterson. “Do something! Have this special session. Protect us!”
That is the plea.
And it is falling on deaf ears.
The governor, the attorney general, the supermajorities in the Assembly and Senate. All Democrat, all up for election, all turning a blind eye. As New York City has dissolved into a montage of assault and murder videos, as Rochester has posted its second consecutive record-homicide year, as public opinion polls have shown a growing public upset at rampant crime, the Democratic Party has praised the emperor’s new clothes.
Criminal justice reform – a series of pro-criminal Democrat initiatives meant to offset supposed racism and white supremacy in America’s cops, courts and prisons – has removed consequence for crime, eliminated almost all requirements for bail, made prosecution harder, released inmates early, and turned car thieves, burglars and people carrying guns loose with nothing more than an appearance ticket.
It has been assailed by police chiefs and sheriffs, district attorneys and union leaders.
And all through a long, hot summer, the violence and the victims have been stacking up.
And repeated calls for a special session of the legislature, to tweak the reforms, have been mocked and rejected. In the view of the governor, attorney general and members of the Assembly and Senate, criminal justice reform is working fine and concerns about crime are based in ignorance, the result of hysteria or racism.
The governor, the attorney general and the legislature are clear – they’re not going to solve this problem.
So the people will have to.
Our special session starts on Saturday, with the first day of early voting. If the Democrat candidates won’t vote for public safety, the New York people will have to.
If they don’t care about us, we shouldn’t care about them. The people being endangered by these Democrat policies are mostly, ironically, Democrats themselves – betrayed by the very people they routinely empower. The fat cats have no loyalty, and they should be shown no loyalty. If they can’t hear the cries of grieving mothers, we shouldn’t hear their cries for yet more votes.
All across the ballot, from the top to the bottom, there are viable, real alternatives.
And all across the ballot, from the top to the bottom, there are opportunities to remind the all-powerful New York Democratic Party that even it is accountable to the voters. One-party rule leads to an arrogant and unresponsive party, without competition there is no competence, and a vote for more of the same will deliver more of the same.
People enroll in a party, they don’t sell their souls to it. Democrats and independents will be the loudest voices heard on Election Day, and New York needs their voices to demand accountability, to call for safety in the streets.
And you do that by voting for the alternative.
It doesn’t mean your values have changed or that you’re selling out or that you’re switching parties. It means that the people you hired have forgotten who they work for.
And, with a ballot in your hand, you can remind them.
They’re not going into special session, but we are.
If they can’t hear the gunfire in our streets, let them hear the outrage in our votes.