In a column last week, I told you that Room Eight New York Politics was celebrating its ninth birthday on 03-21-2015. I also told you that I was trying to get back in the flow (saddle) of writing a regular column. I posited that I would be disseminating at least ten columns in the last ten days of March. Well, that’s not going to happen/lol.
I have decided to make an adjustment to that deposit, since a few of my fans did contact me with solid advice for the longevity of this site. Many see this writer’s colony as sorely needed in the city. I was surprised indeed. The consensus was that it will be better for me to strive for quality rather than quantity. As such, it was suggested that if I did want to make a statement (of sorts), then I should just do a regular weekly (or bi-weekly) column, instead of hastily shooting for a new one every day. After some thought I decided that they were right.
With that said let me proffer some of my views on the state of political-blogging here. Room Eight is a very long way from fulfilling its main mission: voter education. We have failed to recruit enough writers whose home-bases lie beyond Brooklyn. It would have been nice to have had the type of political news mainstream media ignores, coming from diverse sources beyond the inner city.
I suspect that most political folks don’t want to go on record for fear of reprisals. There are lots of daily political events that can be covered here. We need more opinions from irregular sources. We need more writers coming from different perspectives. We need to recruit more writers to this colony if we are going to survive in the long term. I have tried to do that. I have encouraged at least half dozen writers to this site. I just wished most of them had stayed longer.
In my experience here, the columns I have written have both helped and hurt on a personal level. Yes; I do have a target on my back for hitting out at inept and unimaginative black-electeds; but over the years, I have attended so many political events where the cordialities extended weren’t expected at all. For this I am truly appreciative folks.
A few years ago -in the middle of the mayoral campaign- Larry Littlefield suggested that the writers here were scared to speak out, because some were hoping to circulate their resumes after the election. Not me. I didn’t even think about it.
After the election, I was approached by some folks who suggested that I send in my resume to the mayor’s transition team. I did; and I never heard a peep. Not an acknowledgement; not even a phone call. Then one black elected official -with whom I am friendly- told me that he tried to circulate my resume at various levels of government, only to encounter a lot of pushback. I am high up on a long ‘black-list’ folks. I may joke about it sometimes; but it really isn’t funny.
In my last “saddle” column, I gave you the reasons for my recent low production. It had little to do with the nitty-gritty of politics. In politics, I have been smacked around so often you would think I am a punching bag. Every time I ran for public office I was subjected to smear campaigns of lies, aspersions, innuendo and the like. I even sued a newspaper for libel and slander once; only to find a judge deem me to be a “public person”; and thus subject to a higher standard for proving my action.
In recognizing that I was trying to build a voter-base amongst Caribbean-American voters, some of my opponents spread a vicious rumor that I was gay. The persons who spread these rumors knew full well what they were doing with their lies. In the overall Caribbean-American community, all this ‘LGBTQ’ stuff is still taboo. It can hurt you with Caribbean-American voters. It comes from strong Judeo-Christian religious-underpinnings within Caribbean-American societies.
The fact that my wife is someone I have known since I was a teenager was of no consequence. The truth is that some people will do anything to win in politics, sports and/or life. My wife hates politics and that’s why she rarely ever shows up at political events.
My daughter made me a grandfather in 2009, and since then I have spent an enormous amount of time helping raise my bff (grandson). The kid is the apple of my eye. After a while one learns to develop a thick skin. After a while one learns to even forgive.
Ironically enough -while attending Columbia University- I marched in the 1980s, with LBGT groups demanding more federal spending on HIV/AIDS research. This was when Ronald Reagan was in office. After initially being against same-sex marriage I came around to supporting it before it passed the New York State legislature. I cannot profess to hold the answers for why some people end up in the LGBT lifestyles, but I do respect their right to their choices; and also the right to be free from terrorism, ostracism and victimization. I must say that I despise somewhat, those who are on the ‘down low’. They are cowardly and also dishonest. I admire those who are out in the open with their choices. It must be self-liberating. Gay or straight, we are all human beings, and as such we are entitled to love, understanding, compassion and caring. I do hope one day, to better comprehend why these variations exist within human-sexuality. Despite all the reading I have done on this subject, my intense religious background still fogs my full understanding.
Another attack I suffered while seeking public office was that of a carpetbagger. I have lived in every borough except Staten Island; this has come back to haunt me at times since I always maintained a Brooklyn address since 1973. And I have done this no matter the borough where I worked or attended school. As I have written before: political involvement was thrust upon me in my cradle.
My political activism has encompassed the whole state of New York. Wherever and whenever there is an initiative/cause/issue worth taking on; I show up once invited or motivated. And yet, the more I write, the more I get these hits from detractors; sometimes I wonder what’s the use.
And still, I hope that more folks will eventually see the need to express themselves on Room Eight New York Politics. I am hopeful that this site will attract more writers soon: people who refuse to be intimidated by the powers that be.
If you are reading this and strongly believe that you have things worth saying, then do join us here. We welcome you with open arms.
Stay tuned-in folks.