Words to live by:
People who disagree with me are not stupid or evil… they are both.
Some people forget this maxim by the time they graduate high school; most, shortly after college graduation.
But a few, a blessed few, stay true to the ideal well beyond adolescence and into adulthood. They are our leaders: revolutionaries, university administrators, talk show hosts, imams, and of course, politicians.
Exhibit one: the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, who bravely spoke his views on radio this week: “Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
Personally, this send thrills down my spine. Who doesn’t love hearing the most powerful executive in a state declaring dissenting opinions held by 30-60% of his fellow citizens verboten? Andrew Cuomo understands very well that as a great man, an ubermensch if you will, he embodies and defines the zeitgeist! He can define who is a New Yorker, and who isn’t. Who are mere citizens to disagree?
Squeamish about dismembering a fetus? Wish New York had guns laws as relaxed as 48 other states? Have the same opinion about gay marriage that Presidents Clinton and Obama did before 2009? Then you (and the tens of thousands of people who agree with you) are not a New Yorker. You just happen to live and work and have family and roots here (preferably not for very long.)
Deep down, I believe many politicians still cherish the high school sophomore’s dream of a world in which everyone agrees with him and society runs as smoothly as a parade in goostep, but few, very few, show the courage that good Governor Cuomo did.