Below is my column on the hill on the rise of delusional politics in America – an issue that was vividly captured on New Years Eve when Mayor Bill de Blasio danced with his wife to a practically empty Times Square. T.It’s not Chicago that Sinatra sang about “seeing a man dance with his wife.” It’s New York and the only dance seemed to be de Blasio.
We watch both parties appear blissful and completely detached from reality.
Here is the column:
If you listened at midnight early in the New Year, you could almost hear the teeth of an entire nation, or at least those who saw news coverage from New York as mayors Bill de Blasio danced in an almost empty Times Square. Millions watched as Frank Sinatra bathed his wife in romantic flourishes and sang “New York, New York”. At least Nero made his own music.
The scene attracted angry reprimands. Andy Cohen said it made him sick. “I didn’t have to see that in early 2021. Do something with this city! Honestly, bring it together! “
To do de Blasio justice, it probably seemed harmless. Who would mind if a man danced with his wife? But sometimes a predictable photo turns into a cursed image. Just ask the 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis after spinning in an Army tank. The picture captured what many viewed as his false commitment to strong defense. He and his campaign didn’t think about how driving around like Mickey Mouse on a main battle tank would only drive home criticism of his defense policies.
For de Blasio, dancing in an almost empty Times Square in a city marked by a collapsing economy and rising crime rates was not so much in love, it was so insane. For many, it has exacerbated the crisis that both parties are now facing. We have become a nation that seems detached from all reality. In one of the most liberal cities in the world, de Blasio cannot lose its popularity. But like many others, he plays for the extreme wings of his party. As the crime raged, he pushed for the police budget to be reduced by $ 1 billion and the civil clothing department to be eliminated. In New York, there was a 50 percent increase in homicides and a nearly 100 percent increase in shootings.
He also closed public schools despite overwhelming scientific evidence of low risk of exposure to coronavirus, especially for elementary school students. He eventually gave in to pressure from parents and experts, admitting that there was little risk of reopening schools. He helped shut down restaurants and sent many into bankruptcy, despite contributing to less than 2 percent of confirmed infections.
With New York losing money, de Blasio said the federal government could save city hall and local businesses by simply printing more money, a statement that was both tax and political deceptive. With many highly taxed residents continuing to move out of New York City, de Blasio pronounces his policy of “taxing hell out of the rich”. He recently stated that the purpose of public schools is to redistribute income.
The eerie image of de Blasio dancing in a dead Times Square captures what could await us in 2021. Even if the vaccines are slowing the pandemic, cities like New York have been devastated by the lockdowns. There’s no way the federal government can save every business and landlord in a city, let alone the entire country.
At the same time, last year ended as it had been for months. In Portland and Philadelphia, federal buildings were attacked by rioters and looters. In Washington, both parties have been bogged down, and regardless of what happens in the Georgia Senate runoff, that division is likely to continue. Joe Biden and others have called for massive new spending in a country of $ 27 trillion in debt. Yet our Washington lawmakers continue a kind of ghostly dance, ignoring the costs and dangers that lie ahead.
In the meantime, reporters are unlikely to return to standards of objectivity and independence after years of open bias against Donald Trump. Some journalism professors are now rejecting the concept of objectivity in favor of open advocacy. Columbia University Journalism Dean Steve Coll has denounced what he calls freedom of speech, which is protected by the first amendment that is now being “armed” to protect disinformation. Many reporters are investing in the next government, including downplaying or ignoring these scandalous allegations against Hunter Biden and Eric Swalwell. Networks actively adapt their reporting to offer their viewers “safe spaces” without opposing facts or stories.
It’s not just politicians and the press that haven’t changed. The reason 2021 won’t be much different than 2020 is because we haven’t changed as a nation. We’re still divided in half and the space in between is full of blind anger. Democrats have called for blacklists, bans and other measures against “accomplices” in the Trump years, while over 70 percent of Republicans believe the presidential election was rigged and Biden did not legitimately win.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t want that to change. Anger seems addicting. It becomes a license to hate. While few will admit it, the Trump years were a break from propriety and courtesy. We have become a nation of conflict junkies. Worse still, we all live in man-made spaces that are a dangerous delusion because we are exposed to this economic crisis, international conflict and increasing violence in our cities. Therefore, dancing de Blasio in New York could be the ultimate embodiment not of 2020 but of 2021. If the middle doesn’t come out stronger, we’ll all dance with de Blasio in a dead space where the land once thrived.
Jonathan Turley is Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online at JonathanTurley.