Does anyone find it ironic that Lowell Greenbaum, as chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party, writes letters such as his latest blasting Republicans for the initial down vote on Hurricane Sandy relief (“GOP’s Sandy vote shameful,” Jan. 22)? This, from the county chief of the Democratic Party who represents the party of inclusion, the party of Kumbaya, to the rest of us.
Has Mr. Greenbaum ever met a Republican worth his salt? Mr. Greenbaum’s letters reflect a continuous stream of vitriol rarely displayed in letters from true politicians. As an independent and centrist, I always have believed politics was the art of compromise, not “take no prisoners.” How do we expect to make meaningful progress if every action taken is accompanied by inflammatory rhetoric designed to do nothing except stir up dissension between the political parties and mislead readers who don’t research the facts?
A $51 billion relief bill has since passed, so it seems the victims will receive needed aid in spite of these “cold-hearted” Republicans. In the meantime, let’s look at the initial bill and see what some of the objections were all about: $336 million in Amtrak expenses; $150 million in Alaskan fisheries relief; $8 million for new federal cars; $4 million for repairs to the Kennedy Space Center; $2 million for repairs to Smithsonian Institution buildings; and more. How can U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York have the hubris to include items like these in a relief bill for innocent victims?
Is this political arrogance? Perhaps the reason that a recent New York Times poll gives Congress a 9 percent approval rating? Why would any politician vote for this bill before these onerous pork provisions were removed? Few “clean” bills are passed, according to Mr. Greenbaum. Isn’t that the problem? Are we prepared to accept marginal self-serving performance from our elected officials?
If this continues to be the case, we will continue to see the country slip further down the slope financially, morally and ethically. I don’t believe any of us wants that, and I urge people to vote for politicians who will represent the values we cherish in this country. At the moment, these include very few Democrats for me.