Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Contented As Cows In Nassau County

Oblivious To The Long, Tortured March Toward The Slaughterhouse

If apathy and indifference have a home, call it Nassau County. And if Nassau County politics has a God, call him Mediocrites.

A sad night for those of us who've been hankering for relief from the status quo, and if hanging on by the skin of one's teeth is good news, we'd hate to read the bad news.

The outcome of yesterday’s election, of course, was as most of us expected, but the foreshadowing it portends for the future is peculiarly frightening. It is as if Nassau is stuck in some kind of a time warp. A holding pattern of sorts, somewhere in the 1950s -- or is it 1776, where Nassau's residents cling to the crown, believing that taxation without representation is a good thing. Surely, no better argument for term limits than "same old, same old," again and again and again.

One ponders, is it apathy and indifference that keep voters from the polls, where turnout was somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% less than the paltry vote of 2005, the last "off" year? Are we simply so frustrated, nothing seeming to change whether or not we vote, and without regard for whom we cast our votes, that we just stay home? Did we think we'd melt in the rain? Or are we really happy with the way things are, across the board, contented as cows in the pasture, oblivious to the fact that we are moving precariously closer to the slaughterhouse.

Perhaps most troubling, looking forward, are the prospects for 2008, when every seat in the State Legislature is again up for grabs.

If the pundits are correct, the State Senate will, for the first time many of us can recall, go Democratic. If history is a guide and the numbers hold up -- supposed shifts in demographics and voter registration aside -- Long Island's Senate delegation will remain predominantly Republican.

What happens to Nassau County then? Even with a Democrat at the helm as County Exec, and, presuming David Mejias holds on in Nassau's 14th LD, a slim 10-9 Democratic margin in the local Legislature, without the clout in Albany that the delegation presently holds – where, notwithstanding, Long Island is viewed as an ugly stepchild, unworthy of stipend, hand out, or hand up -- we are in trouble.

Elect Long Island Democrats to the State Senate? Sure. If only the Dems had candidates of a caliber that might stir the spirit and an agenda that could move the masses. If only the reasoned and the rational would vote. A landslide in the presidential race, sweeping the Democratic hopefuls into the State House? It could happen, but don't hold your breath.

With an electorate more resistant to change than the MRSA Staph infection is to treatment, it looks like "same old, same old" for many years to come.

For Long Islanders, where progressive change is a must if we are to meet the challenges of a century in its infancy, that's a real shame.

For those of us who see time running out on the clock that ticks away at our very quality of life, counting down the final seconds of what we once dreamed of as suburbia, its darned near depressing.

Onward and, er, ah... well, onward!

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