Lee Zeldin and the Empire State Exodus: Is Sane Government Still Possible in New York?

Due in no small part to the irresponsible acts of New York lawmakers, New York lawbreakers --- those contained in the entire huge state, not just the five boroughs comprising the heavily populated, strife accustomed city --- are enjoying a field day. Criminals are going about their business with an unprecedented sense of impunity. While lawful firearm owners possessing legitimate needs for self-defense are burdened with ever more onerous regulations and restrictions, thieves and killers experience not the slightest difficulty illegally acquiring weapons to ply their trades.

Sadly, they’re fortified with the knowledge that the odds of ever facing serious jail time for their crimes are getting longer by the day. As a result, eruptions of uncontrolled, often terrifyingly random violence are becoming commonplace throughout the state.

In 2019, in furtherance of the misplaced compassion contained in the ACLU-hyped proposition that “wealth should not determine liberty,” the noisily influential Democrat social justice warriors in New York’s state legislature, with the tentative approval of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo who dragged along the rest of the intimidated Dem machine, rammed through the disastrous piece of ethno/racial pandering commonly known as cashless bail. This “reform,” ostensibly providing fair treatment for poorer defendants without the financial means to post cash bail or arrange bond, eliminated its requirement altogether for all but the most heinous of offenses. The practical effect was to exponentially speed up an already quickly revolving door, putting repeat offenders and career criminals back on the streets with veritable lightning speed.

To make matters worse, it mostly eliminated a judge’s discretion to consider denying pre-trial release based upon past criminal activity or the likelihood that the defendant poses a danger to the public.

Their subsequent frantic efforts to legislatively patch some of the more egregious holes in this blunder have not alleviated its pernicious effects.

Aside from the backhanded prejudice buried in the notion that releasing dangerous criminals onto the streets is somehow giving a “break” to minority citizens --- people who are easily the most accessible victims of these freed menaces --- it has also worked to profoundly dispirit police departments across the state. Routinely vilified and undermined by self-serving politicians in today’s BLM-inspired atmosphere, police are quite naturally becoming disinclined to do their jobs with the confident aggressiveness necessary to meet the current acute threat. Often perpetrators are released from custody before arresting officers have even completed their paperwork.

As a result, departments all over New York State are seeing trained, experienced officers leave for places where the risks they take daily will be more appreciated, and they’ll be treated with a modicum of respect.

And they are not alone.

Similar to what’s occurring in states like California and Illinois, the one-party vise grip on power exercised by New York Democrats is working to make the state increasingly unlivable. They’re creating a Bizarro World where decent, law-abiding people of all colors and backgrounds are offered-up as fodder; sacrifices to the ambitions of a corrupt, but superbly well-guarded elite. Those who have not already fled to more securely habitable locales remain with an ever-growing sense of vulnerability; not just as prey for criminals, but as voiceless pawns of an oppressive, remote and arrogantly unaccountable state government.

The abrupt resignation under fire of the previously undisputed King of all COVID Press Conferences Andrew Cuomo, has given the people of New York a rare opportunity to do something to repair the rot and reverse the retrograde tide pulling our state towards oblivion.  

Our present interim governor, the previously unknown Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, was chosen to be Mr. Cuomo’s running mate precisely because of her talent for invisibility. Her unexpected ascension to the state’s top spot has done little to alter that propensity. To the surprise of practically no one, she’s proved to be a thoroughgoing hack, willing at every turn to bend to the corrupt machine that holds her political fate in its hands.

Whether the issue is cashless bail and the crime it has turbocharged, “congestion pricing” for drivers entering NYC that’s really nothing more than state-sponsored theft, the wallet-emptying gasoline tax or any of the myriad issues causing New Yorkers to flee the state in record droves, Hochul has exhibited virtually no leadership.  She’s devoted her efforts to keeping the wokesters as sated and un-riled as possible, while also finding time to enrich herself and her contributors wherever possible.

Lee Zeldin is a reserved, serious, devoted family man. You won’t discover in him the bullying bombast or sleight-of-hand showmanship of an Andrew Cuomo. Neither will you see him making the sort of craven calculations that Kathy Hochul has made in order to hold onto her job.  

He is a rare type: a cerebral man of action, who served as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division. Quiet competence exudes from him; in the short time he’s been a candidate for statewide office, Zeldin has had to deal with potentially deadly threats to both himself and his children; dangers which he’s handled with dexterity, intelligence and grace.

Zeldin comprehends something that seems to have eluded Cuomo and his unplanned, overmatched successor: without personal security, there can be no economic vitality.  He pledges to use the governor’s lawful authority to derail leftist, Soros-backed prosecutors such as Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, who routinely downsizes criminal charges to violent offenders so they fit into the 'no bail' category.

New York City and its surrounding suburbs, used to attract the brightest minds, the most ambitious and motivated achievers. Now large corporations headquartered in New York City for ages are being forced to re-think whether they can any longer expose their personnel to the growing danger on the streets and subways. While crime will always be a concern for large urban areas and the adjacent neighborhoods, the sense of impending threat is reaching Wild West proportions, causing many who can to pack it in.

Zeldin is by no means a savior; New York is still thoroughly immersed in Democrat machine politics and the dysfunction that entails. He’ll face formidable opposition to the real reforms that the state --- perhaps one of the most corrupt in the nation --- so desperately needs. But one thing is certain: If the ineffectual Kathy Hochul is dragged over the finish line, tainted but victorious, then New York’s slide will likely continue beyond any reasonable hope of recovery.

Of course, even with Zeldin at the helm, some fed up New Yorkers will still find their Promised Lands elsewhere. But with enough support from decent, uncorrupted people and the infinitely more competent subordinates a Republican governor will appoint around him, he may just be able to significantly slow the rate of the Empire State Exodus.  

Do the voters of New York, long held captive by the Democrat Party, still possess sufficient independence of mind to give Lee Zeldin the chance?

Image: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0



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