Since the election of President Donald Trump, the chasms between people over issues that center on race, economics and social policy have only grown and deepened.
And it has never been more true when it comes to the labels “Republican” and “Democrat.” We live in a time when it is necessary to take sides, and never the twain shall meet.
Make no mistake about it, the announcement this week that the Independent Democratic Conference - a group of eight state senators that had a power-sharing agreement with their Republican colleagues - was breaking up was not about reuniting the Democratic Party.
It was about Governor Andrew Cuomo and other IDC members who were facing Democratic Primary challengers scared to death of being associated with the GOP and branded “Trump Democrats” by their opponents.
It's a short and effective attack, and neither Cuomo nor the IDC members wanted any part of it.
Not to pick on State Senator Jose Peralta, but when Jessica Ramos, a former aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio who has been endorsed by a number of Democratic elected officials, announced she would be challenging him, her main focus was on his involvement in the IDC.
Peralta was quoted in this paper defending his decision to join the IDC.
“Since I decided to join the Independent Democratic Conference exactly one year ago, I now have a seat at the table that allows me to deliver more and better services for my community,” he said in January. “Clearly, this was an extremely effective year, both in terms of legislation and bringing much-needed resources to my constituents.”
This was his statement after the dissolution of the IDC:
“Since the election of Trump, my constituents, and the rest of New Yorkers, have been constantly under attack This is why it is vital for all Democrats to work and fight together to protect all New Yorkers. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we will be able to promote our values and ensure our progressive common agenda moves forward.”
So what changed? He suddenly had a formidable political challenger.
Being able to reach out across the aisle and work with members of the other party for the good of your constituents used to be a desirable trait in a legislator. It seems that is the case no longer.
We're not defending the IDC, but for better or worse declaring what side you are on in stark black-and-white terms with no wiggle room is the norm now. It's just the time we live in.
Which side will you choose?