Bill de Blasio has been the mayor of New York City since 2014. Andrew Cuomo has been the governor of New York since 2011. Both are Democrats. While these two men are frequently at odds with each other, last month they both made a stand that, in the opinion of this writer, was noble and honourable, and I applaud them both.
Mayor de Blasio gave a speech and Governor Cuomo wrote an editorial to the New York Daily News. Both men vowed to stand up against Trump if his policies threaten New Yorkers, and by New Yorkers they mean all New Yorkers … Muslims, Hispanics, African-Americans, LGBT … everybody. Period.
I would like to share a few parts of the transcript of Mayor de Blasio’s speech first, and I will provide a link to the transcript of the entire speech at the end of this post:
“Well, now we get another chance to show it by how we comport ourselves in this moment. We have a chance to lead by example. Now, it’s our turn to build a movement – a movement of the majority that believes in respect and dignity for all.
We New Yorkers will stand together. We’re going to stand up for the needs for working people. We’re going to stand up for the right to organize. We’re going to stand up for our immigrant brothers and sisters. And we know that so many in this city fear being affronted, and we will stand with each and every one.
To all Latinos who heard their culture denigrated – we stand by you.
To all the African Americans who heard their history denied – we stand by you.
To all the women who heard their rights being threatened – we stand by you.
To all the Muslims who have heard their faith belittled – we stand by you.
To all those in the Jewish community who heard a resonance from history that gave them real fear and pause – we stand by you.
To all those in the LGBT community who heard a message of taking us backward – we will never go backward. We stand by you.
To all of you – we will protect you. This is your home.
As I say, we have a chance in New York City to provide an example. Set an example that will be watched. You see it every day in this city. Six million people ride the subway every day. They are of every background, faith, nation, income – squished together like sardines.
And we will fight anything we see as undermining our values. And here is my promise to you as your mayor – we will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people.
If all Muslims are required to register, we will take legal action to block it.
If the federal government wants our police officers to tear immigrant families apart, we will refuse to do it.
If the federal government tries to deport law-abiding New Yorkers who have no representation, we will step in. We will work and build on the work of the City Council to provide these New Yorkers with the lawyers they need to protect them and their families.
If the Justice Department orders local police to resume stop and frisk, we will not comply.
We won’t trade in neighborhood policing for racial profiling.
If there are threats to federal funding for Planned Parenthood of New York City, we will ensure women receive the healthcare they need.
If Jews, or Muslims, or members of the LGBT community, or any community are victimized and attacked, we will find their attackers, we will arrest them, we will prosecute them.
This is New York. Nothing about who we are changed on Election Day.
We are always New York.
Somos siempre Nueva York.”
And now a few portions of Governor Cuomo’s editorial.
“Soon enough we will see what proposals will find their way into the President-elect’s agenda. Already it seems almost every far-right Republican under the sun is seeing Trump’s electoral college victory a mandate to enact sweeping ideas and radical proposals, regardless of the pain that is inflicted and the turmoil that is caused. I have great faith that common sense will eventually prevail, and that our traditional American values of justice, liberty and equality will eventually rule the day. In the end, they always have.
Both Democrats and Republicans have fought for these values throughout our nation’s history — from the time when Abraham Lincoln declared we were a nation with malice toward none and charity for all, to when a young Senator from the State of Illinois said: There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The way has not always been easy, nor has the cost been cheap; but for whatever this moment demands of us, we are ready.
My father Mario Cuomo spent his entire life fighting against the death penalty, even when it wasn’t popular, even when it cost him the governorship, because he knew it was right. I will fight against the targeting of Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and for the rights of all Americans every day I hold office and every day after that.
For our values, for our rights, for our vision of America, for the people who depend on us, we will fight. And for that, we are unwilling to compromise.”
Both men speak powerful words, moving words, honourable words. They both understand clearly the principles on which this nation was founded, principles of equality, liberty, justice and fairness to all people, not just those whose skin happens to be pale, or who follow Christianity, or whose soul-mates are of a different gender.
To what degree they will be successful in protecting New York from Trump and his cohorts remains to be seen, and frankly I suspect their success against the demagogue will be limited. But for their efforts, for their commitment to the values they believe in, I take my hat off to them both.