The Big Apple is about to become strongly anti-war once the de Blasio administration is ushered in next January.
This is a subject which, as far as I know, never came up in the recent election campaign, probably because of the political necessity to focus on the more local issues of concern to the public. But, I think it's worth reporting -- it should hearten City residents to know that their leaders won't support wars which syphon off desperately needed funds for public needs.
So, I'll bring it up. As leader of a NYC-based anti-war group, Grandmothers Against the War, I had occasion to interact with our mayor-to-be, Bill de Blasio, as well as the comptroller-to-be, Scott Stringer, on several occasions and observe their dedication to issues of peace.
In 2003, I formed my group and orchestrated our first event, an anti-war rally at the Eleanor Roosevelt statue on the edge of Riverside Park at 72nd St. (go see it if you never have -- it's magnificent). At that time, not long after our attack on Iraq, there was not much sentiment against the war and I had a hard time enlisting speakers. But then-NYS assemblyman Scott Stringer came and delivered a rip-roaring speech that knocked our socks off. It had the fire and passion that his cousin, Bella Abzug, delivered so famously. I was also impressed with the fact that Mr. Stringer accepted my request though I was a total stranger to him and very much a non-entity.
Mr. de Blasio attended a rally I organized in Times Square in 2011 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan at which we urged an immediate return of all troops. In fact, he apparently heard about it and ASKED to speak. I didn't really know him from Adam except for the office of Public Advocate he held at the time. This giant 6' 6" man delivered an eloquent and memorable speech that impressed us all. He certainly hadn't much to gain by so doing except, I believe, a desire to express his deep conviction against war.
I find it very comforting, after all the years of our often overlooked protests, to know that our City leaders share our opposition to military invasions and I suspect they will exert a great deal of influence on U.S. foreign policy in the future.
And, not only do these two City-wide leaders hold these anti-war views, but the new Manhattan borough president, Gale Brewer, is definitely a peacenik, too, and was always there when I needed her.
I feel darned good about the new leadership on its way in. Anti-war and so symbolic of racial harmony as exemplified by our new mayor's beautiful racially mixed family.
The Big Apple is looking delicious again.