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Monday, June 9, 2014

Casino courage and Democrats "Big Tent"

We're waiting with baited breath for the Norh Greenbush town board to take a stand on the casino proposals surrounding the area. Surely Lou Desso the councilman who runs the other town board members will not oppose a casino if his county employer , County Executive Kathy Jimino,  supports it.  So maybe this week at the only board meeting the town now schedules,  Desso will embrace a casino at either East Greenbush or Rensselaer. Hey why not, he claims to be an expert at dealing with addictions,  hence his sweetheart $81,000 political appointment after dismissing minimal civil service requirements like a college degree. GO LOU GO!
Loyalty and your status in the Democratic Party
Democrats are struggling with two traditions. Their embracing of dissent and a wide range of opinion within their party and struggle for unity in the so called "Big Tent".
Rensselaer County Chairman Tom Wade has been telling loyalists he plans to remove two Troy City Councilmen as members of the Democratic Party. Wade would use an arcane provision of election law to convene a kangaroo court which presumably would agree the two elected Democrats were in some way disloyal. Sure they are guilty of dissenting by investigating some fellow democrats in city hall, some of whom were supported for their positions by Tom Wade. But taking this to the level of party disloyalty as grounds to remove them as Democrats and their right to run as Democrats, that's a whole new ballgame.
This seems to contradict the position of Chairman Wade when confronted by the action of former North Greenbush Democratic Chair Jeff Spain,  who in 2007,tried the same tactic to remove two committee members he viewed as disloyal. Read Wade's letter below responding to that effort and the reaction of the entire county committee's unanimous vote rejecting Spain's tactics in a prior post here.
History repeats itself. What's at stake here is not disloyalty to a party but rather the refusal to follow the wishes of one leader. President Kennedy said it best. Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.Democrats are not about purge trials and if this effort to purge party members moves forward it will create a pall on all who condone it. Read more about this on Jim Franco's blog here.


Anonymous said...

The Romans called it “Purgatorio”, a cleansing or purification of history and thought. It’s most famous example came from the reign of the Emperor Caracalla around 211 AD. After murdering his brother, his allies and assuming total power over the Empire, Caracalla ordered all traces of his brother’s image and name removed from the public record, from buildings and hopefully from the public consciousness.

We expect to find such notable examples of blind fear and irrational thought in history. The Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials certainly rank with the brutality of Caracalla. But history should have taught modern man a lesson. Surely we have grown to accept, at least in this democracy, that differences in opinion are healthy expressions which teach and enrich our diversity.
From an earlier post on this blog...

Anonymous said...

The situations aren't comparable. A town chair can't oust a county committee member on his own, as Wade pointed out in the 2007 letter. But Wade and the executive committee can.

Wade was simply pointing out that what Spain tried to do was procedurally defective and therefore null and void.