Over the past month progressives around the city were given a noble victory to celebrate. The ousting of Congressman Joseph Crowley, a member of the establishment in the democratic party, provided inspiration to progressives around the city, state and nation. The message was clearly heard, and members of the democratic party quickly recognized the results from the beginning stages of Bernie’s political revolution. In local news, we saw the quick shift of traditional campaigning to a more progressive approach. We heard the sound and chants of democratic socialist, wealth distribution, and the calls for government sponsored social programs (free tuition, Medicare, etc.), along with the abolishment of government agencies created to protect us. In Western Queens we saw forces aligned, while local candidates attempt to piggy back each other’s “Progressiveness”. Dual press conferences joined committees, the sharing of issues, ideas and resolutions. We see the holding of hands, the overreaching for Nixon’s celebrity status, and of course, the unclear announcement of a democratic socialist.
Yet, the same week progressives around the city joined in celebration, conservatives in the Trump movement quietly maneuvered an opportunity to permanently affix social change in our society by attempting to quickly instill Justice Kennedy’s replacement in our Supreme Court. A move, by pure definition would alter the scales of justice in our society. Within a New York minute we hear the President has made his choice, by announcing his Supreme Court Nominee. Quickly progressives rejoin and commence their demonstrative power of protest, chants, and marches across our city. While the newly elected, self-proclaimed democratic socialist tours around the city, and appears on national shows, the stage for a bigger political mid-term battle is leaving her behind shortly after, I reach out to an old friend of the opposite party, I a registered Republican, work together with a registered democrat to create real social change in our society by pressing on issues that affect our communities (in Queens County) in a non-partisan manner (pure activism). My conversation with my democratic friend was quick and to the point, after the initial twenty seconds of discussing the Crowley race, my friend and colleague was given the opportunity to brag about the victory, as I (the republican) was provided an opportunity to vent about the dismal attempt by the Republican Party to canvass a challenger worth mentioning by name.
Quickly the conversation changes to a more serious tone, the redevelopment of willets point, the LaGuardia transit line, the closing and relocation of hotel shelters, the increase of gangs in Corona (between Junction Blvd and 106th Street), all of these are local issues where the congressional member has not authority to oversee. Where do we start? Should we organize now? What are our choices? Can we rely on the current leaders? Or are they likely to forget about the real issues. Will these so-called leaders only focus on community board issues or bend to the cries of so-called political insiders; or will they listen to the pavement between Queens Bridge and Willets Point. I call another friend, an insider, and ask him about the status of the communities two party system. Unfortunately, that call was miserable failure.
In the absence of true leadership, the shift in social movements has left us (the communities) with two choices: The extreme right or extreme left. As the gap between right and left ultimately increases, individuals like myself are left without a voice. Moderates who are middle income homeowners, small business entrepreneurs, are all left wondering what these two extreme sides will do to disturb the quality of our lives. Does wealth distribution mean I have to endure another shelter in my community? When I think about the choices my vision goes blurry, I start to picture a community once ran by progressives and the appearance of the late 80’s and early 90’s come into play. I see the graffiti, urine filled building I grew up in on 93rd Street. I remember the crack rocks on PS 149 park, the illegal guns in our building roof top, and marijuana buds on the park bench accompanied by the empty bottle of Old English (Old E), while we (as children) attempted to shoot a jump shoot on the broken basketball rim in half-court. I shake my head to remove the thought of my early childhood and think about the outcome of today’s world. I realize why I was quick to join the Marine Corps and learn about other communities during my travels. I think about the consequences of a conservative supreme court, the effect it will have on a woman’s right, the protection of affirmative action, the separation of church and state, and the effect it will have on immigrants across the country. Quickly, the thought of our political environment gives this first-generation moderate immigrant an overwhelming headache (enough to feel the beginning stages of vertigo). I’ve been left without a voice I quickly say, I can no longer consider myself registered to an organization, I have become a non-affiliated member of today’s society. I leave myself wondering how secure is our future, when our representative’s only response to change in our community is “constituent services”?
Eric M. Cordova