You Are There!"
"...Republicans lead in the wrong direction and Democrats are unable to lead in any direction at all."
--Lincoln Chafee, former GOP Senator and independent candidate for governor of Rhode Island
Partisanship. Stalemate. Hubris. Dysfunction.
Words that ring as true in the halls of Congress as they do through the cold marble corridors of the legislative chambers in Albany. A theme seemingly central and entrenched from Washington, D.C. to the County Seat.
And where a single party is in control, either at any particular moment in time, as in Nassau, or for the last century, give or take a decade, as in Hempstead Town, still, no forward momentum, no rush to change the status quo, no impetus to do anything more than, at best, stay the course.
Newsday, questioning what has changed here on Long Island over the course of a generation or so -- or, perhaps, springing nostalgic -- asks, "Where are we going?," as they revisit where we have been.
Certainly, we've seen vast changes here on Long Island since Newsday first reported from the crossroads back in 1978.
Property taxes soaring through the stratosphere. Traffic congestion snarling. Transportation alternatives stalled. Education, once the crown jewel, too often slipping toward mediocrity. Infrastructure crumbling. Affordable housing unattainable. Blight consuming. Downtown fleeting. Our children, fleeing.
Not the Long Island many of us had in mind when we settled here to raise our families and live the American Dream.
Of course, we can't blame everything on government that has, time and time again, failed us in so many ways.
We, of the NIMBY generation, had our own sorry role to play in keeping this portal to suburbia from moving forward. "Just say no" to anything innovative or imaginative. Nix that which may be "too big," "too tall," "too far reaching," or simply "too grand for little minds to ever possibly comprehend."
Mired, are we, in a mindset of smallness, pettiness, the contrite and contrived of "can't do." Sometimes, or so even a casual observer would conclude, we appear to have just thrown up our hands and quit.
Not so here at The Community Alliance, where we have only just begun to fight for our Long Island.
And what say you?
Perhaps, as Lincoln Chafee opines in his Op-Ed column in The New York Times, we need to adopt and exude a true post-partisan stance, bowing neither to the right or to the left, aligned with neither Democrat nor Republican, capturing "popular, centrist energy" as a means of moving Long Island not merely off center, but toward a bright and prosperous tomorrow.
We need a legislature that is more than a stick in yesterday's mud. A governor who, while as much a victim of economic downside as the rest of us, evinces confidence and hope. And local government officials, both county and town, with more allegiance to serving the public good than to adhering to stodgy political dogma.
More than this, we need citizens -- yes, We, The People of our Long Island -- with a newly found spirit of independence. Independence of thought. Independence of will. Independence of party.
Bound only by our imaginations. Constrained, if at all, only by the physical limitations of this land bordered by the Atlantic and the Sound. Seized by the mantra of Yes In My Back Yard. With this, all things are possible for the future of our wonderful suburban oasis, Long Island.
We have two choices -- or only one, really, as we see it. We can forge ahead with a fierce and focused independence to reclaim, to rebuild, to rejuvenate, and to revitalize, illuminating our times, or, we can simply hang our heads, turn our backs, and mutter, "Will the last person off Long Island please turn off the lights."
Your call. . .