Why did so many in Congress intent on reducing the federal budget seem to take particular pleasure in slashing aid to New York City–even when it was clearly putting our lives in danger?
This week, Mayor Bloomberg and a number of NY State Senators pleaded with federal lawmakers not to cut funds needed to prevent another terrorist attack on New York, but Congressmen and Senators outside of the state gave them the cold shoulder.
At the 11th hour, the increasingly desperate New York delegation finally found a sympathetic ear in Washington__Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Realizing they were wasting their time with the willfully ignorant lawmakers in Congress, they convinced Napolitano to make a unilateral executive decision and cut the number of ”highly at risk” cities from 64 to 32, resulting in New York City getting the same amount ($152 million) it got last year for the program designed to protect such cities from devastating attack.
Of course, that led representatives from such prime terror targets as Toledo, Ohio and Omaha, Nebraska to scream bloody murder, but the New York politicians weren’t buying their fake outrage.
“I am outraged that Congressional leaders even considered the original proposal,” shot back New York State Senator William Larkin.
So why did they? As Mayor Bloomberg said, New York is both the symbol of the U.S and place where a terrorist strike is by far the most likely to happen__again. “When you catch a terrorist, they have a map of New York City in their pocket,” Bloomberg noted.
How could it be that those in Congress so focused on national security that they were perfectly willing to leave 50,000 of our troops stationed in Germany (bulletin: the Nazis lost. Germany is now our friend), were more than ready to cripple the security of New York?
A clue can be found in the stereotypes too many in Congress and elsewhere have about our city: We are rich and can afford our own security; New York is “not really the U.S.”; we house too many foreigners with “funny-sounding” names; we are “the other.”
Spinning around the TV dial one recent morning, I accidentally landed on a show where this type of thinking was on full display: Morning Joe. The group was going around the table in a light discussion of the reasons Mike Huckabee decided not to run for the Presidency, including building his dream house and not wanting to give up his lucrative show on Fox News. When political analyst Mark Halperin added that “God told him not to do it,” ”Morning Joe” Scarborough, who was a Republican Congressman from Florida before landing this gig, was aghast. How dare Halperin say that!
The fact that Huckabee indeed announced that “My decision is not political, financial or even practical–it is a spiritual one; for me, to do this undertaking without God’s full blessing is unthinkable” didn’t matter. Scarborough tore into the dirty secularist Halperin: “This nation is not the Upper West Side of New York,” Morning Joe sneered.
When the topic turned to IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged sexual assault of a housekeeper, New York Magazine’s John Heilemann reported that Strauss-Kahn was also accused of sodomy. Scarborough went ballistic. “Sodomy??, he snorted at Heilemann, incredulous. ”Now I know I’m in New York!”
But that was the charge. Scarborough didn’t care; he saw it as another opportunity to rip degenerate New York. And he felt fully comfortable doing so because he knew his anti-New York bias was shared by many of his fellow politicians__made evident by their willingness to put New Yorkers in grave danger yet again.
So let’s give credit for once to the valiant efforts of our own New York politicians, both Democratic and Republican, who convinced Napolitano to make an end run around these callous lawmakers and restore the funds that will hopefully help deter another unspeakable disaster for New York in 2011.
Now let’s see what happens next year.