Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Inside View from an Outsider

"People are the same all over." It's one of those truths that's much more hideous than you'd think. You have to get into the specifics - "People are shameless all over" is a good one, or "People are clueless all over." And it's as true as only the really horrible stuff can be.

Take the recent mayoral campaign. NYC is looking for a new mayor, if you hadn't heard. I sure hadn't until I got here but New Yorkers have this delusion that everybody cares about them. That's for another time though... See, there's a bit of a fuss being made because the winner, Bill de Blasio, has a black son. Not the usual sort of fuss - usual by "Real America" standards - but everyone is whining that Little de Blackio is the only reason his pop won the primary.

This isn't surprising coming from the local Republicans, whose whole deal is just straight up hating blacks. I'm serious, they ain't shy about it up here. But what's surprising is how popular the black son meme has gotten over the past week. Outgoing mayor Bloomberg himself even accused de Blasio of running a racist campaign - because you know white billionaires are the experts on these sorts of things. Never mind that de Blasio emphasized labor rights in a town that still has unions worth mentioning. Never mind his opponents were an alienating technocrat and Carlos Danger-Dong. He only got votes because his black son appeared with him in a commercial!

And that's cheating!

"People are idiots all over!" I hear you say. Well yeah, and that's their argument too. "People" - implicitly black people - are so dumb they fell for de Blasio's trick. Because if people were rational they would have voted for [insert preferred candidate here].

Now on a substantive level, there was something to recommend both de Blasio and Christine Quinn. Where the former sounds better on labor rights, the latter has solid experience in government rather than just in activism. But the Quinn campaign was run like an afterthought, sending volunteers on hikes around the Burroughs with pamphlets to hand out regardless of actual ability. It was a very closed affair and if you wanted to be in on the higher levels you had better have been there to begin with.

The de Blasio campaign, in contrast, went out and engaged. His people talked to the voters like they were people and his campaign managers encouraged that sort of dialogue. Come election day and more people have a better immediate experience with de Blasio then Quin and you can fill in the rest...

"People are idiots" is a popular refrain when things don't go your way. Just don't forget that you're "People" too.

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