former governor Mario Cuomo's son Andrew, the current Attorney General of the state. Now we also know that the next Lieutenant Governor will be current Rochester mayor Robert Duffy. Also, inevitably, the state comptroller will remain Thomas DiNapoli. So what's the common denominator between these candidates that Al Sharpton has issues with? They're all white.
Now any sane person in the world doesn't care what Al Sharpton thinks. Unfortunately this is politics, so sanity is irrelevant. It seems that Sharpton would be more comfortable with an affirmative-action-type process to select the lieutenant governor or some other important position on Cuomo's ticket. But, if history is any teacher, the same type of process is what has led us to our current, and woefully pathetic, governor.
And I'll now take this time to go on a mini rant about affirmative action in general. It's wrong, and not because it's "reverse racism" or whatever your grandparents want to call it. It's insulting to the minorities who supposedly benefit from it. If I'm up for some type of admission to a school/position for a job I want to be considered on my merits and accomplishments, not the amount of melanin in my skin. A friend of mine met with pre-law counselors at a very prestigious university and was told, in sum and substance, that to get into an Ivy League law school she would have to score in the 170s on the LSAT, but because she was considered an URM (under-represented minority) she could aim for the mid-160s and be fine. She was, essentially, told that the bar was much lower for her because she was a minority. Is that what affirmative action is supposed to do, assume that minorities are dumber and, thus, relax certain standards for them? That's an insult.
Affirmative action is supposed to offer equal opportunity. But by creating two different sets of criteria for people based on race, we are artificially influencing outcomes. If you view racism and prejudice in society (which, for the record, is pervasive) as a tree, affirmative action only aims to cut off the limbs of the tree. Then people sit around and wonder why the roots and trunk are still thriving. You want to get rid of the whole tree? Fund inner-city schools at the same level as suburban ones. Reform prison policies to put an end to the revolving door issue. Find a solution to de facto housing and schooling segregation. While it may be easier (and more politically beneficial) to slap a band aid on the gushing wound and pat yourself on the back, if you want real solutions you have to tackle the real problems.
So where does Al Sharpton fit into all of this? That's the problem: he doesn't. His relevance is tapped out, seeing as he spent the overwhelming majority of it during the Tawana Brawley debacle. Sharpton is the perfect ingredient if your recipe calls for inflaming racial tensions and polarizing sides in a situation. Does he inject himself into environments where an injustice has seemingly occurred? Sure. Does his presence prove beneficial? Highly debatable.
I asked the question back at the beginning of 2009 with the rise of Senator Gillibrand as to why every New York Democrat has to meet with Sharpton. Is Sharpton the only political gate into the black community? Or is he more like a Boss Tweed of the black vote and if you want that demographic, you have to sit down to some soul food with the Reverend? I have to believe that there's another way to connect with the black community as a politician in New York.
So Sharpton doesn't like Cuomo's lily white ticket? And Cuomo has to call and explain himself? If Sharpton doesn't like it, he has two options: 1) he can vote for someone else if he feels his interests won't be properly represented in Albany or 2) he can either run himself or support another candidate to run for the office. It seems that Sharpton wants Cuomo in the governor's mansion next year, but on Sharpton's terms.
Photo - Al Sharpton and Caroline Kennedy at Sylvia's, when Kennedy seemed poised to take Madame Secretary Clinton's senate seat (Syracuse)