All politicians are not crooked

A sad truth about the state of mainstream America is how ignorant people are of politics. It seems like many base their opinions solely on what they hear from the evening news and local papers. Since a vast majority of news stories appear to portray politicians as crooked, it’s no wonder why so many citizens fall prey to believing that all politicians engage in criminal behavior. The news industry is a for-profit business that thrives by focusing on stories on the negative aspects of society to feed America’s lust for stories of wrongdoing. Due to the unique power and influence that politicians hold while in office, they provide constant fodder for news stories about how they abuse that power. This portrayal of all politicians as people who engage in illicit behavior has permeated into the American psyche. I have personally seen these sentiments repeated countless times while reading people’s comments about their local leaders in social media groups with the repeated phrase, “All politicians are crooks”.

As a community activist who has worked with a number of political leaders, I can honestly say that the above is untrue. I personally know on a first-name basis two state senators, three city council leaders, and four assembly members. I have spoken and interacted with them and have spent time working with them on community projects and events. Of the nine leaders I know, only one has done something that would be considered illegal behavior. The rest are decent individuals who have a good track record of working in the South Brooklyn and Staten Island communities. I can attest to the fact that many of them care about making their communities better places to live through their leadership.

While my personal experiences working with these nine leaders may be a microcosm of greater American society, these experiences alone refute the common generalization that all politicians are crooked.

If you are still unsure of my statement, I challenge anyone reading this to get out there and start volunteering with their local leaders to find out more about them while improving their community. You will soon see with your own eyes and ears what kind of people they really are. I have and I was pleasantly surprised.

Leaders I Know:

State Senators – Marty Golden, Andrew Gounardes

City Council Leaders – Mark Treyger, Justin Brannan, Ari Kagan

Assemblymembers – Mathylde Frontus, Michael Cusick, William Colton, Pam Harris

Candidates I know:

Michael DeVito, Steven Patzer, Amber Adler, Whitney Hu, Erik Frankel, John Luisi, Angela Kravtchenko

A Tale of Two Running Clubs

I belong to two running clubs. One is conservative and one is liberal.

Being a person whose political beliefs are somewhere between moderate and liberal, you would think that I would favor one club over the other. The truth is that I love both clubs equally regardless of their political leanings. You see, running overcomes everything. It’s the common denominator that brings people together.

Running is a very innate human activity. Cavepeople have been doing this running thing since the dawn of man when they had to either run to catch their meals or run away from becoming a meal. Even though our intellects have evolved over time, there are still some primitive inclinations in all of us. Selfishness, bigotry, ignorance, and violence are all a part of the dark underbelly of the human condition. Running erases these tendencies. It also unites all of us regardless of our dissimilar moral, social, and political ideologies.

Whether you are a conservative, a liberal, or something in between, runners share the same values that never change. Camaraderie, goal-setting, fitness, motivational support, and teamwork are traits that runners of all ilks commonly exhibit.

In today’s divisive political climate, I am happy to be a part of an activity where politics doesn’t matter and being the best we can be as human beings does.

Matthew Rees of Swansea Harrier (2nd L) helping an ailing David Wyeth of Chorlton Runners (2nd R) down The Mall to finish the Virgin Money London Marathon. Rees stated that, “Helping him was more important than the race time”.