Congressional incumbent, Jerry Nadler, has been a mainstay of western Manhattan and select areas of Brooklyn for over three decades. Tolerated by many, beloved by some, the man nevertheless knows how to endure. He asserts his points of view with authority when an emotional topic is trending. When the ill-conceived wave of “Defund the Police” swept through the progressive caucus of the House of Representatives, Mr. Nadler quickly lent his support.
As politics inched further to the extreme, Jerry followed. In his endorsement of progressive Alvin Bragg for Manhattan District Attorney, he was most complimentary, adding, “[Bragg’s] experience, integrity, and vision is exactly what [the Manhattan DA’s] office needs.” Some of his most devoted followers applauded, as the rest of Manhattan paid little attention. Although, the people bore witness to the disastrous policies put forth by Bragg such as decriminalizing armed robbery and resisting arrest, which were introduced in his first week. Mr. Nadler often follows trends. Unfortunately, a new trend has developed, one that nobody can shrug off, and that has the attention of the majority of New Yorkers: Violent crime.
I am a believer in the idea that without order we cannot enjoy a thriving economy, a peaceful quality of life, or a prosperous and healthy society. As a candidate who is running against Mr. Nadler in the 10th Congressional District, New York’s City’s current circumstance frightens me. Hate crimes are surging, especially against the Asian American and Jewish communities, while murder is up over 50% since 2019. One could be forgiven were they to attribute this tragic increase primarily to the pandemic and the mental health issues it has undoubtedly exacerbated. However, violent crime in comparable large cities across the globe has seen little to no uptick. Some are even reporting lower numbers compared to pre-pandemic days.
Mr. Nadler’s call to substantially reduce the NYPD’s budget in an interview with the West Side Rag in June of 2020 has not helped, and goes to show the power of a Congressional opinion, given Mayor de Blasio and the City Council expeditiously brought it to fruition. One billion dollars were removed from the NYPD budget in a knee-jerk reaction to the deplorable behavior exhibited by Officer Derek Chavin in Minneapolis, which resulted in the tragic murder of George Floyd.
I remember watching that video with tears in my eyes. It left me deeply saddened and confounded that a man would do such a reprehensible thing to his fellow man. Still, at no time did I think to myself that we should recklessly react by condemning public servants across the country. In times of crises, it’s up to our leaders to maintain a sober and rational stance, even when emotions are justifiably heavy. Instead, we had Congressional representatives calling for an extreme and ultimately damaging course of action.
There has been a lack of sensible and pragmatic leadership from Mr. Nadler on this imperative issue. I’m calling for him to do his job as head of the Judiciary Committee. It is a responsibility of the committee to investigate matters related to our criminal justice system that demonstrate large-scale suffering. New Yorkers, and the American people, deserve an answer to the obvious question: What role have politics played in the endangerment of the people in large cities that have adopted untenable stances on crime and punishment?
It’s not only his duty as head of the Judiciary, but as the Congressman representing a district that has not been spared from devastating violence. My own wife and daughter were followed into our apartment building, and to my front door just six months ago. I had to personally escort the man out. I’ve lived in New York for over 14 years, and never before have I experienced an episode like that.
Unfortunately, we are witnessing a true failure of both institutions and adequate communication from our elected leaders. Day after day, I hear stories of incidents similar to the one my family endured as I speak with the residents of District 10. New Yorkers do not feel safe, and many exceptionally kindhearted people have expressed to me that they feel guilty about feeling this way because they consider themselves liberal. There is nothing shameful about being liberal, for civil rights, and for safety. These values are not mutually exclusive.
Chaos cannot reign indefinitely. We need a change of mindset in our city. Whether we consider ourselves liberal, moderate or conservative, we are a family. A primary function of our government is to ensure the safety of us all, and no one should ever feel guilty about their wholly rational fears.
Brian Robinson is a Congressional Candidate in New York State’s 10th Congressional District.