Not sure if you’ve been paying attention to the veritable three-ring circus that is the New York state Senate, but, really, you’d be hard-pressed to find a higher-quality production of Theater of the Absurd in the tri-state area.
So far, Democrats have locked out Republicans from the Senate chamber, both sides have fought to bang the big “official” gavel, and each has held separate legislative sessions (in separate corners of said chamber), passing entirely different bills.
And that was just Tuesday.
It all started earlier this month when an entitled billionaire felt his voice wasn’t being duly considered by the Democratic Party, whose campaign coffers he’d lined. He is a billionaire, after all—and billionaires have rights. So he did what any fat-cat contributor would do: orchestrated a power shift involving one Democratic state Senator who’s accused of assaulting a woman, and another who’s been fined for failing to disclose campaign contributions and whose nonprofit is being investigated for allegedly misappropriating funds. Our billionaire Iago (whose political action committee is currently being investigated) pinned his ambitions on these two upstanding elected officials in hopes that nudging them to the other side of the aisle would give Republicans a slight voting advantage. Maybe this party would listen to his money. I mean, him. Listen to him.
The ensuing allegiance mash-up in early June led to Democrats locking Republicans out of the chamber, one of the flip-flopping Senators dramatically producing a skeleton key, everyone threatening litigation and, predictably, the appearance of a clown (sent to the Capitol by The New York Post).
Granted, such loony-toon antics aren’t new to Albany, which ranks as one of the most ineffective state seats in the US. This is, after all, the body that hasn’t managed to pass a budget on time since the late 1700s. But even by the ant-belly lows routinely reached by the New York state legislature, the current state of events looks pretty bad.
So, this is where we are, New Yorkers. Bills that ultimately will determine such weighty matters as same-sex marriage and the control of New York City schools are effectively back burnered. And while a billionaire-cum-politico is enjoying his Happy Days, we the people keep waiting for Senators to behave like Senators.
Samuel Beckett would be proud.