For those not familiar with the lay of New York City politics, Christine Quinn is the Speaker of the City Council. She hopes to run for mayor after Michael (“Pharaoh”) Bloomberg’s term ends, if his term ends.
See, Quinn was instrumental in lifting the mayoral term limits that would have prevented him from being mayor right now. On top of that, she supports mayoral control of the public school system, which will be responsible for the closing of 24 public schools this year. In essence, the people of New York City know that Mayor Quinn would mean Bloomberg’s fourth term.
Lately, she has been trying to distance herself from Mayor (Pharaoh) Bloomberg. There has been much wrangling between the two over the Living Wage bill, which would require contractors with whom the city does business to pay their workers at least $11.50 an hour or $10 with benefits. Bloomberg vetoed the bill and Quinn is angling to get it overridden.
To call $11.50 an hour a “living wage” in New York City is a joke. Maybe one can live on that salary if they shack up with 3 other people in a two-bedroom apartment out in Jamaica, Queens while working 50 hours a week. Otherwise, there is nothing livable about it. The entire debate has the air of farce, as does the following clip from a press conference at which Quinn was supposed to speak.
Apparently, someone from the crowd called out and referred to Bloomberg as “pharaoh”. This prompted Quinn to go off on the following uninformed and demagogic rant:
“Now, look. That’s not appropriate. You stand here talking about democracy and wanting people to listen. In democracy, people have the right to have different views and they do not, we do not have the right to then call them names. So I would just ask, if that’s what this press conference is about then I’ll go right back inside and continue the work of business. But this is not democracy — calling people names who don’t agree with you. So whoever said I’d ask that you apologize.”
Where to begin?
First, we actually do have that right. It says it right there in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. I know that ever since Rudy Giuliani was mayor, New York’s leaders have tended to think that they are above the Constitution. Yet, people like me would like to think it still applies.
Second, what is “inappropriate” about this comment? Pharaohs were the most revered leaders of the ancient world. Their people looked up to them as gods. They have given modern man some of the greatest lasting monuments built by any civilization. Of course, those monuments were built by slave labor. Considering that Bloomberg thinks it is perfectly fine for corporations to pay no taxes while allowing their workers to make starvation wages, you would think that the “pharaoh” comment was totally appropriate.
You think this could have been what the gentleman who made the comment was getting at?
People speaking out against laws and leaders they oppose is the very essence of democracy, Ms. Quinn. You would not know that, obviously, since you were the one responsible for handing Bloomberg his third term.
Bloomberg comes from the world where money lords over all. He has expressed many times that the democratic process is a thorn in his side, an inconvenience to be sidestepped. Check out what he said in Singapore a few weeks ago:
“We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day.. And it’s very hard for people to stand up to that and say, ‘No, no, this is what we’re going to do,’ when there’s constant criticism, and an election process that you have to look forward to and face periodically.”… Later, Mr. Bloomberg noted that long-term urban planning “requires leadership, and standing up, and saying, ‘You know, you elected me, this is what we’re going to do,’ and not take a referendum on every single thing.”
That pesky “election process” really gets in the way of ruling us like a king. We elected Bloomberg, for life apparently, and he is going to tell us to our faces “no, no, this is what we’re going to do.” This explains a lot. This explains why the Panel for Educational Policy is set up to vote for every single thing he has ever wanted. Teachers, parents and students protest the closing of a school? No, no, this is what we are going to do. We are going to close your school, fire your teachers and shuffle you around, again.
There is no room for “democracy” in Bloomberg’s world. It is little wonder that the folks in Singapore, a country that bashes people’s buttocks with bamboo canes for littering, sympathize with his concerns. If it was up to him, everyone’s buttocks would be smashed with canes.
Christine Quinn is absolutely clueless about what democracy is. Her petulant, childish and ignorant rant directed at a concerned citizen who was speaking his mind highlights this fact. We actually do have a right to speak freely, especially at political rallies. We should not be subject to venom from the bully pulpit every time someone says something that our glorious, dictatorial leaders do not like. Where is the democracy in berating a man in the crowd when you have the floor, a microphone and the attention?
This just shows that Christine Quinn is not fit to be mayor. Not only is she firmly attached to Bloomberg’s expensive coattails, she does not have the dignity or the poise to lead the biggest city in the United States. If you refuse to take criticism, especially when the criticism is not directed at you, how will you lead New York City of all places?
Do not give up on John Liu. He is the only one who has spoken any sense and, as you can see, he did not storm off the stage like a brat.