Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vanishing Choices? -- Post Election Thoughts on a Stormy New York Day

Taking Cues From Nature or Relying on Government to Dictate Our Choices and Actions?

Yesterday, New York was hit with a "Nor'Easter which whipped into town, blew some limbs off trees and dumped a few inches of snow on the ground.

Slippery going for a brief while.

Mayor Bloomberg ordered all city parks closed for a day.  (No surprise there from our nanny-care mayor.)

I am wondering if every time we get a storm in New York City, city parks will automatically close from this day forward for fear of potential lawsuits?

Can a person not be hit with a falling tree branch in other parts of the city?  Perhaps we should not dare to leave our apartments any time the wind blows or rain falls for fear we will be blown away?

To me, some of the most beautiful and peaceful times in Central Park are during and following snow storms. 

There is something blissfully quiet when snow is trickling to the ground. -- It is a like a magical insulator against all the other distractions and activities of a city that never sleeps.

It is hoped that in our paranoia about "keeping the public safe," we don't inevitably lose the choice to enjoy those ordinary things that make life in a busy city, beautiful, ascetic, interesting, exciting or even a wee bit dangerous -- like Canada geese and the typical rain or snow storm.

Surely, one of my most vivid memories of Central Park is one time getting caught in a sudden, blustery and driving rain storm.

Yes, my dogs and I were completely drenched by the time the wind seemingly blew us home.  And yes, it was a bit of a harrowing experience, realizing the sheer power and force of weather and nature.

But, I also learned something.

I learned that when noting the geese and ducks suddenly sounding off "alarm" honks, vacating the water and flying off in search of safer cover, it is probably wise for an observing human to do the same.

Essentially, we don't need nanny care politicians to order us to "stay safe" if we learn to take our cues from nature.

A Two Party System and Choice in Name Only?
Anytime one political party gains too much power, there is seemingly trouble ahead and our two party system goes down the tank. Look at New York. We are a "blue" state. The democrats control the New York City Council, the governorship, the Senate and the Presidency.

In past years, one recalls contested (and exciting) Senate races, Governorships, Presidential and House races in New York.

Now, there are no real contests -- just the appearances of them.

In national Presidential elections, the candidates don't bother making any campaign stops in New York (or any "red" or "blue" states) or waging any kind of campaign here.  Not once during this past two billion dollar Presidential election campaign did I see one bumper sticker or poster for either candidate in New York City. 

One would not think an election was actually be held here if not following national media reports.

New York's Presidential election choice was seemingly decided long before any of us actually went to the polls and filled in ballots.

The same was true in the Senate and House political races.

In almost all cases, New Yorkers don't know who the opposing (Republican) candidates are until actually seeing their names on the ballot -- in which case, the old adage, "Better to go with the devil you do know than the one you don't" almost always applies.

Perhaps this helps explain why the same Senators and Representatives are returned again and again to Washington, despite the public's stated "disapproval" of Congress in national polls.

It seems if we live in a determined "red" or "blue" state, we are given no real choices and no political contests are actually run.   Whatever the minority party, they simply take their election battles and money to states that are more contested. -- the "purple" ones, so to speak, like Ohio, Wisconsin or Florida.

Matters have to be equally frustrating to those democrats living in states like Texas or Louisiana.  

It seems we in the red or blue states go to the polls as a matter of formality, rather than actual determination of anything anymore.

That is actually scary to think about.

Are New Yorkers thus going to be stuck with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for decades because the Republicans have given up running viable Senate candidates in NY?   It sure seems that way. Or, maybe Gillibrand will run for President in four years. "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Canada geese (and people who care about real choices and change), watch out.   -- PCA


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