As the task of scrubbing Senator Tom Libous’s name and image from the public square progresses in hushed haste, the right-center field wall at the NYSEG baseball stadium spells out his name over the clichéd expression, “actions speak louder,” the sad irony of a campaign slogan turned into an epitaph.
And so the mad scramble begins to save the seat of power, held firmly and in seeming perpetuity by Binghamton’s finest sons; only three men since 1943, Floyd Anderson, then his son, Warren Anderson and finally Tom Libous, title and power handed down in a ceremonious fashion not unlike the accolade of knighthood or succession of rank in a royal family, a long ago paid wretched dowry that assured upstate got its share of the pork fest that is business as usual in New York.
So now the line forms to join the former royal trio, now becoming the quartet of characters, a select and dubious club pushing 72 years of continuous membership, preserving and protecting that which is our apparent birthright; the unbreakable grasp on Albany and her purse so to continue our meager allowance up here in the hinterlands.
Astroturfing every high school track, building swimming pools, field houses, ice rinks, this was not done with chump change fellow voters, no that was done with influence, chicanery, deceit and most importantly, others peoples money, your money and mine. Who will be anointed to assure us that projects will be built tomorrow that we can’t afford?
Predictably, the line of 30 or so wannabe candidates formed quickly on the Republican side, apparently all for show as the Broome County Republican party chairman trumped his hand mistakenly by expressing publicly his intent to painstakingly review candidates while simultaneously plucking the under-sheriff out from his law enforcement duties, trading his police uniform in exchange for a shiny new suit and red power tie, the uniform for Albany.
Is replace a convicted felon with a high ranking police official a strategy Republican leadership thinks will quell the under current of queasiness voters are feeling for a system so resplendent with felons and others under indictment? Does a history of some 40 state level elected officials succumbing to criminal acts, arrest, incarceration, probation and shame somehow hope to go unnoticed? Should a career lawman mingle with such miscreants?
Apathy combined with ignorance may once again win the day. Human beings are inherently flawed. Our systems of governance were originally designed to check and balance one against the other, in light of those human frailties. James Madison tells us in Federalist 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Whether King Andrews endorsed Democrat wins or Republicans prevail, it really matters little when the system itself has become such a corrupting force, redesigned and in part disassembled to serve the wants and desires of flawed men, far from angels.
What was once the Empire State is now but a failing and corrupt empire, devoid of angels and ruled by tyrants.