Op Ed, Politics

Mike Drop: A petition to normalcy, by Michael Racioppo


For those few of you who aren’t keeping track, the year 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of one of the two notable (and corrupting) things about our 29th President Warren Harding’s 1920 campaign: to wit, the slogan  “a return to normalcy” (normalcy being the new normality).

While Harding was looking to return to the country to a pre-World War 1 mindset (a/k/a the “ the great war”) most of our countrymen and women, based on how we voted along with polling, would love to return to the normality of a pre-trumpian world. The way things are going “a return to normalcy” could very well be the recycled slogan that carries the next president the White House.

I would be fine with such a rehash but please spare me any stupid red, or any color for that matter, hats declaring it. What I mean by normal in this case is continuing the progress that came to define the Obama era from healthcare to equal rights and a host of other issues.

Now, there were certainly disappointments and shortcomings, but nonetheless the norm of the Obama era was always movement in a progressive direction. The Trump administration is not “normal” but the embodiment of Idiocracy. It’s as though, due to the antiquated Electoral College, America is a species that just decided,” eh, we’re not only done evolving but how about devolving instead”.

However, getting back to some semblance of normalcy, as appealing as it can sound, cannot be achieved just by hibernating until the next election. It means never letting up on the fight against the Trump administration from door knocking and phone banking for campaigns to protests and fundraising. Every little bit helps and there are encouraging signs of awakening already.

As I started writing this piece, a progressive, Christine Pellegrino, was elected to the New York State Assembly in a district (Southern Shore of Long Island) in which Trump beat Hillary by over 10 points. This turnaround required dedication and time from lots of people who refused to give into acceptance of the dead end path Trump wants us to go down. Pellegrino won by 23 points and we expect her to be a great ally to our local Assembly members Jo Anne Simon and Bobby Carroll.

And this fall here in Brooklyn, and the city at large, we have important elections coming up. First we have the September 12th primaries and then the general election in November. As I’ve mentioned before I am a member of the independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND).

IND supports citywide and local candidates for elections. You can see our endorsements at the club website – indbrooklyn.org.

Joining a political club is the first step in participating in our political system. The club would not only welcome you as a member but also help us at the most granular level of politics- that is petitioning to be on the ballot come election time. Information about our meetings and a membership application is on the website.

I don’t pretend petitioning will stop Trump in his tracks, or that it’s normal to ask strangers to sign a petition, but every little bit helps and you’ll know that you weren’t amongst those that accepted racism, sexism, cruelty to the least fortunate among us as “normal”. You’ll know that you helped in a fight that was worth winning.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer summed up the consequences by saying that it would be more ‘Fun” if Hillary Clinton won but with Trump as President and me as minority leader, that job is far more important.” if the progress we are making pushing back against Trump continues and leads to a more civic and political participation that’s a normal from which I’d never want to return.

Michael Racioppo is the Executive Director of Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation and the Vice Chair of Community Board 6

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