“U! S! A! Equal pay! U! S! A! Equal pay!”
– New York City’s Part-time Mayor (on NY1 News)
Dear Only-When-It’s-Convenient-Mayor de Blasio,
WHAT A COINCIDENCE,
you coming back to N! Y! C! on one of the biggest media coverage days of the year. Would it be too jaded of me to conclude that your religious conversion to the World Cup champion, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, is politically motivated? The praise and worship chant that you sent up in front of the press—calling for “equal pay” ble$$ing$ to come down—seemed a bit insincere and very problematic.
The problem is this: You appear to be paying lip service—saying whatever is conducive to achieving your political aspirations. You’ll even align yourself with income-based gender equality, if it’ll translate to gaining more support for your presidential bid; despite surfacing reports, also appearing on NY1 News, of women in your own administration being paid less than their male counterparts.
This is becoming a pattern, Mr. McCray, you making side-eye worthy statements that reach me via NY1 News. We have this most recent Religulous one, where you took Megan Rapinoe and her teammates out of the Canyon of Sheroes and put them in your City Hall of Clout Chasing. But before that, shortly after you began your presidential campaign—and started using all your frequent flyer miles to travel to Iowa—you made another remark, which absolutely did not sound extremely stable.
Mayor Bill de Blasio-McCray, while being interviewed by a NY1 News reporter, said:
“The message is resonating.”
Mayor McCray, is the message REALLY resonating? Because advocates for the homeless have said it at your public appearances, on your radio show call-ins, and anywhere you opened the floor to questions from your constituents: Will you COMMIT to dedicating 10% of your housing plan to homeless New Yorkers? That’s simply 30,000 apartments (24K newly constructed and 6K preservation).
These advocacy efforts, which are rooted in the self-evident truth that housing is a human right, they’re not asking you to #EndHomelessness in one fell swoop; after all, you don’t have time to be all extra with all that excessive humanitarianism—everyone knows (well, everyone except people in Iowa), you’re trying to take down the Teflon Con Don by becoming president, so we have to be understanding and limit our demands. And it doesn’t get much more understanding or limited than this: TEN percent—that’s it, just raise the level of your concern for the homeless to ten percent—that’s all we’re asking for, enough to at least give homes to the 23,000 kids that make up more than one-third of New York’s homeless population. (Which, if you only define homelessness in the most conservative sense, currently stands at 63,000 and counting.)
Yet, despite asking so little of you, all we’ve gotten is a lot of dodging the issue; you’ve practically performed every sidestep found in the political handbook of evasive maneuvers. It feels like the homeless have been tossed aside and you’ve decided to run The Preakness without all that dead weight. But you’ve made enough presidential campaign appearances at churches to realize by now, the dead still have life in them. They will continue to rise up, at your public appearances, and raise hell about your housing plan. They will be steadfast in demanding that you #DoBetter.
Theorists claim that you do better, if you know better. When you made that initial campaign stop at Ebenezer AME Church in Charleston, SC, didn’t those good Christian folk let you know the significance of giving ten percent?
The irony of it all too: When I visited your presidential campaign’s fundraising website, the lowest donation amount requested was $3, which meant you were asking me to give 100%—I only had $3 to my name—and yet you won’t even give 10%—continually rebuffing us like we’re asking you to give 110% to the homelessness crisis in New York City. No, we’re only asking for—let me put it in simpler terms that you can visualize: Your housing plan is that recurring Burger King promotion, the one where you get 10 chicken nuggets for a whopping low price. All we’re asking this administration to do is share 10%—give people that are starving for housing, ONE DAMN NUGGET out of the ten you’ve put on the table.
And in all fairness, being a no-show mayor doesn’t diminish some of the good your administration has done thus far; if not for your rental assistance voucher programs, more people (myself included) would still be trapped in the shelter system. But you can do more and better with your housing plan—and because you’re choosing not to, there’s blood on your hands: the blood of my deceased brethren, whose cause of death was: living as a resident in the Keener Men’s shelter; the constant stress, the standardized filth, the unjust and unpunished mistreatment, the dehumanization, and the hopelessness—it killed them. I’m convinced if they had received housing, they’d still be alive.
Maybe, if we get a team of popular characters from a well-known cable TV series—say like, The Walking Dead—that has a huge following (huger than a herd of zombies), an audience that rivals the number of supporters, who attended the celebratory march for the cast of U.S. Women’s soccer, maybe then, the message (of advocates for basic human housing) will begin resonating with the office of Hizzoner. If we get The Furious 5—Rick, Darryl, Maggie, Michonne and Carol—to present “The Message,” maybe the mayor (and even The Governor, too) will listen:
New Yorkers, who aren’t wealthy—New Yorkers who struggle just to afford the un-fare cost of transportation in New York—they are dying for housing and cannot wait any longer!
So, Mayor Bill de Blasio, if you can’t be a full-time mayor, while pursuing the highest office in the land, can homeless and low-income New Yorkers at least get the half-assed part of you that will meet the dire need for homes? Will you heed this clarion call out and grant our ridiculously reasonable request? Provide a housing plan that has less five-figure “affordable” housing and more “poor and huddled masses” housing. Show us—especially the voters who are homeless, or on the verge of being homeless, or formerly homeless—show us something that lets us know “the message is resonating.”
Many Attitudes of Dennis