Sheinkopf Speaks: The Case for Elizabeth Holtzman

Congressional Candidate Elizabeth Holtzman. Photo from Holtzman campaign website.
Hank Sheinkopf

The politicians if they thought about it at all would hope voters  never remember that a vote to elect someone to any office is a hire and that campaigns are nothing more than long job interviews.

And of course, in the rhetoric of the moment—all campaigns are in the present tense. History is erased. 

The names of the streets and the avenues have not changed. Many of the struggles remain the same. But the quality called character’s often forgotten in the back and forth debate banter, social media algorithmic messaging, television ads directed to a dwindling viewership, high consultant profit direct mail and who knows what else the ever growing political industrial complex profiteers might divine. 

This is about the battle to elect a member of the US House of Representatives in the newly created Manhattan-Brooklyn district. There was a time when it was not the work a woman was expected to do. You did not hire a women then to stand up to the powerful.

But she did. 

When the Brooklyn Democratic party organization was well-oiled, disciplined and rarely beatable, she took them on. The first time she knocked off a congressman with the promise of integrity, service and a gutsiness rarely seen then, hardly seen now. It was risky. She stood up to a crooked American president defying that defiler of democracy. And she exposed how the CIA had put Nazi war criminal killers to work for America, how wrong it was, forcing government action. And she fought to stop a war begun on a lie.

She never lacked guts and you couldn’t buy her with a campaign contribution nor a stock tip sleazily inserted into a conversation whisper or a with a note.

She was the first and only woman elected Brooklyn District Attorney. And the first and only woman elected Comptroller of the City of New York, responsible to protect taxpayer dollars and public employee pensions.

So what, you say. Things have changed. The appropriate response? Maybe.

The Republic is again under attack. Democracy’s enemies know that truth must be the first casualty if civil, human rights  and legal protections are to destroyed. 

Attacks on women’s reproductive freedoms for example require more than just rhetoric. They require the outrage that a fearless woman will bring to the battle not worried about what anyone except those she serves will think. 

It is possible others besides Elizabeth Holtzman will meet those standards. The operative word here is will. Yes, will. However, the emergency need is now.

Possible solution? Hire her now for a two year term now. See how it goes and whether New York still needs an uncompromising fighter. You can always put somebody else in her place after one term if it doesn’t work out.

This is no endorsement. Just a bunch of observations. You can look her up. Just hire someone you know won’t buckle when the bad guys show up, who’ll loudly let them know that one of the documents they’re trying to rip up begins with the words we the people. Yes, we the people—each and every one of us no matter gender, race, sexual orientation. Yes. We the people.

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