Bill de Blasio Needs to Put Up or Shut Up.
12/4/2016 by Zaitouna Kusto
After Donald Trump’s surprising victory, Democratic leaders—including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren—immediately capitulated and agreed to work with the billionaire real-estate mogul who will occupy the White House starting on January 20th, 2017.
This comes after eight years of rigid obstructionism from Republicans in congress who, essentially, made their central platform policy to block President Obama at every turn. While this type of liberal kowtowing is nothing new for the Democratic party, it is thoroughly depressing to see supposed champions of the people like Warren and Sanders give in to Trump with so little fight.
A breath of fresh air eventually eked out from none other than self-proclaimed “populist” and “progressive” Democratic Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. “We will not comply,” said de Blasio, when questioned about President-Elect Trump’s proposed Muslim registry. “We will use all the tools at our disposal to stand up for our people.” He then vocally praised the anti-Trump protests that have been surging around the country and urged them to continue.
While all these progressive platitudes sound well and good, what is the Mayor doing exactly? Well, for one thing, he has been using the highly militarized NYPD to arrest peaceful protesters en masse. The numbers are hard to gauge at this point, but there have been roughly over 200 arrests in all the protests in NYC thus far. If he says he supports the protests, why does he keep arresting the protestors? It is probably unrealistic to ask him to have zero police presence at the protests, but does he have to have the NYPD out there in full riot gear, with fistfuls of zip-tie handcuffs? Do the police need to use barricades to corral protestors into areas where they will be forced to have confrontations? If he really supported the protests, he would call off his dogs and let them protest.
As of now, Trump Tower on 5th avenue is a veritable fortress, totally inaccessible to the general public. This plays into the second part of his “progressive” rhetoric. A recent report came out that New York City taxpayers are spending $1 million dollars a day for the NYPD to protect Trump and his family. In a city with crumbling infrastructure and overcrowded classrooms, this is an outrageous waste of money. As mayor, he has far more power to make impactful change on a local level than, say, a member of congress. He could easily have the NYPD cut off security at Trump Tower. Make Trump pay for it himself! If he is so against Trump and his regime, why isn’t he using his material power to do everything he can to make him feel unwelcome in New York?
It isn’t as if this problem is going away, either. Trump has stated he intends to spend a great deal of his presidency living in his tower in New York. Additionally, his wife and child will not be living at the White House, and will require 24 hour protection in NYC. While some of this will undoubtably fall on the Secret Service, as it stands now, New Yorkers can expect to pay that $1 million dollars a day for the NYPD to keep the Trump family safe for the next four years. How’s that for “not complying” with Trump?
None of this is new or surprising. Bill de Blasio ran as a “populist” and won handedly in his 2013 election, but has since wavered in approval ratings. With the rise of white nationalism taking hold of the country, it is logical for an incumbent Democratic mayor of a city of immigrants to pledge to keep them safe—especially on the precipice of an election year. While his rhetoric and personal feelings may signify true loyalty to the most oppressed groups in this country, they come across as fairly empty, given his complete lack of material support. He has said he will do everything in his power to keep New York a sanctuary city. However, given his drastic difference between rhetoric and action, there is reason to be skeptical of this promise. For now, he will continue his populist tradition of using his mayoral powers as a bully pulpit to gain support from “progressive” voters in the shadow of a re-election campaign.
Zaitouna Kusto is a writer, activist and Political Blogger for CSuiteMusic currently living Brooklyn, NY.