In April of 1993, President George HW Bush was in Kuwait celebrating the decisive military coalition victory over Iraq’s armed forces in Desert Storm two years earlier in 1991. Also in Iraq at that same time was a group of Iraqi assassins whose target was the American president. The failed murder plot’s motive was revenge for embarrassing Iraq’s President, Saddam Hussein. There are some people who believe the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the next President Bush was payback at Saddam for attempting to kill his father a decade earlier. It is difficult to fathom a son would go to such extremes to avenge his father.
Around that same in 1994 here in New York, another George with the last name of Pataki was defeating three-term incumbent Governor Mario Cuomo, ending his political career. Pataki was the first New York governor from upstate since Rockefeller. Pataki won every county outside of New York City, except Albany. Pataki even won Staten Island in the city limits with his win over Mario Cuomo. Some speculate our current Governor Andrew Cuomo has a buried animosity toward upstate New York for ending his father’s political life. Taking a look at the upstate conditions, this notion has solid roots. The manner which upstate New York has deteriorated has been so thorough; it seems to have been by design.
Earlier this year we learned over a million people, mostly upstaters, left New York in the decade between 2008 and 2018. Last week US Census Bureau projections indicate the population of New York State is decreasing – again – with the majority departing from upstate counties. The current Census Bureau numbers show a loss of 48,000 people from the Empire State in just the last year. Of the nine states that lost population last year, the Empire State is losing population the fastest – Hoo-ray, we’re number one!
The number of upstate residents departing so quickly en masse is reminiscent of refugees fleeing from a war zone, leaving homes behind and taking as many belongings as possible. This conflict is not a Democrat versus Republican battle; this is about the rural lifestyle versus metropolitan progressive ideals. The census numbers show the people departing our state are mostly from the middle-class, leaving behind the wealthy and the social welfare dependent poor.
If you were to study the political results from last November’s gubernatorial election between Andrew Cuomo and Republican Marc Molinaro, by doing the math it is apparent some upstate Democrats must have voted against their own party’s governor. The voter’s switch from Row A to Row B was not political, it was survival. Our rural lifestyle of farming, hard work, hunting and being socially conservative is whittled down each time a neighbor moves south or a dairy is auctioned off. Across the state, about one hundred families per week reach their tipping point causing them to pack up and move to where there are jobs and lower taxes. These people fleeing are both Democrats and Republicans and everyone else.
As far back as January 2014, our governor set his sights on the upstate, rural lifestyle when he said those who are pro-life and pro-gun extreme conservatives have no place in New York State. By looking at the make-up of the incoming State Senate, it seems that statement had its desired effect. Beginning in January both legislative bodies of New York government, the Assembly and the Senate will be controlled by a majority of elected officials from metropolitan New York City. We can expect to see a steamroller of progressive social programs enacted which few people upstate could even imagine or desire, such as; taxpayer-funded political campaigns (just like NYC), no bail for most accused criminals, expanded gun control, single-payer health care, and legalizing recreational marijuana, are only some on the agenda. You can bet the governor won’t veto any one of them.
It is near to the point where upstate New York and its people are in a situation which our ancestors found themselves in the late 1700s. Upstate New York is similar to the colonies while metropolitan New York is acting like the King of England. We have unwanted laws and taxes forced on a minority of people and upon huge swaths of land by people who have never been here, nor have the desire to visit. Back in the 1700s, the people didn’t really have a choice to safely move away. Their only option was a revolution.