By Alan S. Chartock | March 9, 2018

Politics really does stink. There are so few participants who actually care about the public good as opposed to their own personal gain. It has become a vocation — a job with rules for advancement. It is a lot like Monopoly with the famous “Go to Jail” card. Many of the people who do get caught get lucky and somehow get a “Get out of Jail Free” card supplied by the Supreme Court. What a dirty crew. The public knows the game is fixed and just shrugs, thinking it has always been this way and it will always be this way. Donald Trump caught the wind with all of his self-serving nonsense about pledging to drain the swamp but it turned out that he was even more of a swamp rat than the people he was accusing.

Even when they are not corrupt or stealing, legally or illegally, they are playing with such a loaded deck and in such a self-serving manner that citizens can’t catch a break. Take the recent school shooting in Florida and the subsequent debate over gun control. You would have to be without any sense at all not to know that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the gun culture in this country are out of control. It turns out that just about anyone can get a gun, and that includes semi-automatic weapons that can be adapted and turned into machine guns.

Our children are dying and they don’t have to be. In the face of overwhelming public sentiment on the part of those who want sensible gun control laws, the President took one look and said, “Count me in, too.” I said on the radio that we can’t believe the lying President who has already hired a campaign manager for his 2020 reelection campaign. He knows that without the NRA and the gun folks he can’t possibly win another term so when confronted with the numbers, he told yet another lie. He said that he was with those who wanted gun control legislation. It was such a big fat whopper that Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat who happed to be sitting next to him, burst out laughing.

Back home in New York State, the repercussions of the gun debate have been immense. The official Democrats in the state senate came up with a package of gun reform legislation that went way beyond what even Governor Andrew Cuomo has successfully passed in his gun control package known as the “SAFE Act.” He rammed that bill through both houses of the legislature after the Sandy Hook massacre. That hurt him with many upstate New Yorkers, some of whom still have lawn signs in front of their houses that proclaim, “Repeal the SAFE Act.”

More of the same is the last thing that Cuomo wants or needs right now so he has been less than enthusiastic in his support for the Senate Democrats’ new plan, which makes his work look mild by comparison. Let’s also remember that the breakaway Senate Independent Democrats (IDC, otherwise known by me as “The Traitors”) have been siding with the Republicans in the state senate. If Cuomo wanted to push the Republicans and the IDC, who many think he has secretly supported for years, he could. He is clearly signaling that he will not. In others words, it is politically inconvenient for him as he stands for reelection. So much for his principles. If he told those Republicans and IDC people that they had to go for even stricter gun laws, they would do so.

In the meantime, probably because of gun laws already in place in the state, New York is a lot safer than many other states. This would be a good time for Cuomo to pile on instead of just saying that the Congress should do more.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].