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Democracy Forsaken

Dear Democracy in Albany, I want you back.

After two years obsessing over state and New York City politics, I can’t get your domain name out of my head, my fingers won’t stop typing it—democracyin abany.com. It is some twisted impulse that continually results in pain.

Is your page still up there—frozen perpetually before the mayoral primary of 2009—just to taunt us all? The same last post is there: a clip of No Country for Old Men, evidence of a blogger grown tired of being disappointed by voters and politicians.

I admit, I doubted your conviction when you implied you would eventually give up blogging; there were loads of threats, lots of “when I’m gone” talk, but I paid it no never mind. But you showed me. You quit, and it hurts.

Thanks DIA, thanks a lot. You see, I saw a lot of myself in your blog, a grumpy, exasperated writer stunned by the power of apathy and Albany’s Democratic machine, and the steady decline of the city. I humbly request that you start blogging again, please. If you were waiting around for a pep talk, this is it. This isn’t about the good of Albany. Frankly, I can’t survive on the blogs that have blossomed in popularity since you left.

I don’t need assistance in buying a vacuum cleaner, figuring out who has the best pizza, staring at pictures of cupcakes and cats while other readers surge to comment: “Wow, I also own a cute cat and also like cupcakes!” I’m not interested in a tidy little news roundup to conveniently prepare me for water cooler chatter.

I want sloppy. I want angry. I want passion.

No, I don’t enjoy the ranting of conservative, self-obsessed, Paladino-supporting lobbyists masquerading as progressives who care about the community.

You, my formerly blogging friend, could at least run a spell check, punctuate on a college level and refrain from making yourself the focus of everything. (Even I can’t do that.) “I sat next to . . .” “I got a hug from . . .” “I drank with . . .” “I’m throwing a fundraiser for. . .”

Excuse me while I retch a moment.

I’m not saying I want you back to carry water for any group in particular; I just enjoy knowing that you had principles and stuck to them.

So sure, maybe this isn’t entirely selfish. Maybe I do want you back to elevate the political discussion, to school all the Jennings-supporting trolls.

That Machiavelli quote still sits on top of your defunct page: “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones.”

Maybe you’ve got other plans, other ways to attack “the system.” Maybe you’ve got a career in another state. Maybe you’ve taken on fly fishing, written a concept album, started collecting stamps. Maybe you are running for governor. But whatever else you’ve got going on, I trust that you can handle a snarky blog post every once in a while.

I know that the city let you down. I know that voters let you down. But without your voice in the mix, it is more likely you will be perpetually disappointed. The Times Union will endorse Jerry Jennings until the entire city is boarded up and condemned—by the same company—and even then they will say he deserves another chance to deliver on failed promises. “Mr. Jennings should have the four more years he asks for—and he should heed the issues Mr. Ellis, and others, have raised, including the need for more open government,” the TU wrote. It was a funny but cruel joke issued from Colonie to the poor schmucks who bother to visit or (shudder) live in Albany proper. Anyone with a brain could tell that the last thing the 16-year incumbent needed was more time to improve things. Jennings has been on autopilot for years.

Sure, I left the fray myself just as it was really heating up. More than just about anything else in my career, I regret not being able to write about the 2009 elections for this paper. So maybe, just maybe, I feel a little guilty.

It would be great to have you around to weigh in on the budget process. You said the mayor was steering us towards disaster. Sure, it isn’t proper to dance on the city’s grave, but wouldn’t you like to get in one more “I told you so?”

But forget about all that emotional stuff. Tell me. Lay it on me. What will it take to get you back? I can’t offer much. Maybe some dap, a little cheerleading. I do recall you took a drink from time to time. We could sit down for a beer (one of which at least could be on me) and I could do my best to convince you in person, ‘cept for the whole “anonymous” thing.

So forget yourself, forget your agenda, forget your supporters, forget your detractors, hell, even forget doing it for me. Do it for your integrity! At least if you put up some new content from time to time you would actually be earning my hits.

—David King

fan and addict since 2005


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