“My country, right or wrong,” a jingoistic expression of American Exceptionalism, at least recognizes that we might do wrong.
American Exceptionalism is the idea that America, the United States, is somehow different from other countries, possibly superior, and not bound by the common laws of civilization. Locally, in Western NY, there is a similar idea that we are somehow different from the rest of the state, possibly superior in some way, and our political concerns and needs are unique. This is reflected in the views of separatists who would make western NY a separate state. What is incredible is the idea that Tompkins County alone is somehow different, has different values, different needs, and different political imperatives than other counties in NY-23.
Henry S. Kramer, a Tompkins County GOP official, commenting on another NewNY23rd post, “Tom Reed and his rivals,” wrote: “Robertson’s very liberal voting record, popular in Ithaca, is out of tune with the other ten counties of the 23rd, where people don’t much like Ithaca or anti-fracking activist lobbyists.”
There is no reason for that to be true. Are other counties in NY-23 unaffected by widespread poverty, high unemployment, and low incomes? Is there a reason that others are taken in by Tom Reed’s fanciful claim that only rescinding environmental regulations can spur economic growth while the people of Tompkins County are not? If fracking is too hazardous for Tompkins county, why would the people of other counties in western NY who value clean air and water, who engage in hunting and fishing, who treasure a pristine environment, be indifferent to the threat of pollution? Is it that they believe Tom Reed’s claim that fracking is a panacea for their stagnant economies? Is there a reason that other NYers don’t like Ithaca, jealous of the vibrant economy there perhaps? Most likely Mr. Kramer’s claim is wishful thinking, a prophecy that he only hopes will prove true.
If Martha Robertson is elected, perhaps she can help bring the long-term economic prosperity that Tompkins county enjoys to other counties in NY-23, which Tom Reed has failed to do.
© William Hungerford – April 2014