Recently Ted Cruz got a lot of attention for his disparaging reference to “New York Values.” It’s unclear what Senator Cruz meant unless one is attuned to that particular dog whistle. In fact it may mean different things to different people. But according to Cruz himself, he sees New Yorkers as liberal elitist Jews and Atheists who are pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-media, and pro-money. He sees New Yorkers as anti-gun and anti-prayer.
You know what Ted? You’re right. Many New Yorkers are wonderfully tolerant and educated, rational and socially-conscious. Most are proudly liberal and some of us are even willing to call ourselves socialists. Our religious communities get along just fine with our Nones. Perhaps you’re frustrated that you cannot divide us along these lines. We do believe it is the legal right for every woman to choose to have a safe abortion if she so decides. We do believe it is the right of every loving couple to enter into marriage if they choose. We do believe in a free and effective Fourth Estate and value culture and theatre and all forms of fine arts. We do practice free enterprise and believe in making a good living, including all those protesting in front of McDonalds for a decent minimum wage. We don’t need to strut around flaunting heat to show how macho we are. And we don’t believe in relying upon prayer when modern medicine and science offer actual measurably beneficial results.
In short, we New Yorkers do not persist in clinging to our guns and our bibles as if we are still living in the Dark Ages. We don’t wrap ourselves in religion or patriotism to conceal our racism and bigotry. And we’re up front about making our money. We don’t pose and pretend we are something we are not like you do. And unlike you, we don’t hide behind sniveling dog whistle comments. We tell you straight up Ted that you are a slimy Joe McCarthy wannabe.
And here’s the thing. It isn’t only New Yorkers that have New York Values. Across the nation people everywhere share our values because they are reasonable, tolerant, open-minded, and hold truly “Christian” values in the best humanist sense.
As a New Yorker myself, I want to now address a few comments to everyone who is not Ted Cruz. New York is not the big city you may imagine it to be. Yes it is big but it is also the biggest small town in the USA. No matter where you live in New York, you live in a distinctive neighborhood, with its own character, with its own community, and with local businesses that are part of that community. Right around my home in Manhattan are lots of local pubs patronized by locals. There are at least 5 local diners where they know me and bring me my usual Sunday morning breakfast without having to ask how I like it. Even at the Subway where I get my lunch, the workers all know me. If I forget my wallet it’s no problem, just bring it whenever. We have local politics and daycare and community theatre in any of the community churches. My wife and I take walks nightly through our parks and along our rivers. In short, it’s really the best of what people dream of when they think of small town America.
We New Yorkers are not the OTHERS that Ted Cruz would like to convince you we are in order to create an enemy to hate and fear and blame. In the final analysis we’re essentially small town folk just like you, no matter where you happen to live.
So to our compatriots everywhere, don’t let fear-mongering hate-spewers like Ted Cruz divide and conquer us. Get yourself a piece of cardboard and a marker. Write “I Have New York Values” in bold letters on the sign and display it proudly so that Ted can see all the potential votes he has kissed goodbye.