We need State Sen. Anna Kaplan.
At a recent event, she was asked about people breaking into cars parked in driveways around here. Sen. Kaplan answered with a detailed discussion of legislation already on the books and new measures making their way through Albany. But then she added a note. “Lock your cars at night,” she said.
That’s when she proved her fundamental value this election season. Sen. Kaplan instinctively applied the crucial one-two punch of all political solutions: systemic governmental reform and personal responsibility.
Exclusive reliance on the former is the mirage of the left while the right too often regurgitates the latter as a panacea for everything. But Sen. Kaplan understood the necessity of weaving both methods together for workable solutions. That’s the balance she brings to the job.
Her opponent used to hold that job, sweeping in as part of the Tea-Party wave of 2010. Jack Martins sat in that job long enough to vote for tax cuts benefiting the super-wealthy and fare hikes on the LIRR.
He has a consistent record of doing whatever his GOP superiors tell him to do. From the corruption of Dean Skelos to cancer that is Donald Trump, Martins has always been an enabler of the worst instincts in politics. He’s wrong for this community.
It’s about more than just this one race, of course.
Republicans everywhere have been seeping into positions to do real damage to democracy itself. Rubber-stamping extremism is just the beginning. Banning abortions, putting guns in every school, making excuses for violent Christian Nationalists on every level, Republicans have been letting their most outrageous voices enforce their agenda.
State legislatures have been a particular focus of this attack due to their below-the-radar profile and their considerable power to control the mechanics of power like elections and the vast funding potential that comes from every state capital.
The belief that ‘the Republicans I know wouldn’t stand for that’ has proven naive time and time again.
Right now anyone with an R next to their name is a vote to exonerate Donald Trump and adopt his model of tyranny.
We need to rip that weed out by the roots and salt the earth where this insurrectionist species grows. Only then can responsible republicans come back to public life without the threat of another cop-beating mob trying to overthrow the government.
This can only happen by standing up against the cheap thugs co-opting the GOP. We have to let Republican leaders know that they’ve gone too far. We have to take a stand against the poison infecting our democracy.
Every Democrat is a bulwark against our society’s worst evils. Republicans like Martins, Zeldin, Santos, and Jha are the benign mask of a lynch mob on the march. Any vote they receive is implicit support for the anti-democratic movement they represent.
But voting against Republicans isn’t enough. I want to vote for someone, for something positive.
Sen. Kaplan is that. Responsible government and personal responsibility unite in her example. She supports a balanced tax policy that encourages growth while building what’s best in our community for everyone.
She’s toughened laws against hate crimes, domestic abuse and the threat of mass shootings across the state. And she’s been a real leader in protecting abortion rights that are under attack by Republicans on every level. These policies – sensible, constructive, and focused – reflect the broad values of Long Islanders.
Sen. Kaplan’s personal history matches her legislative accomplishments. She came to New York as a Jewish refugee from the Iranian Revolution. Arriving all by herself at age 13, the future senator lived with a foster family until her own parents could flee the Ayatollah.
Hard work propelled her through college and then law school and a growing family in Great Neck. As an immigrant, as a striver, as a working mom trying to give her family a better life, Sen. Kaplan is the best of the American dream.
There can be no bothsidesing in this election. Any instinct for balancing left and right is corrupted when the right is channeling authoritarianism.
Fortunately, we don’t have to compromise our values with our votes. In the balance that is baked into her character and in her essential grasp of systemic causes and individual responsibility, Senator Kaplan is right for this community.
I’m proud to know state Sen. Anna Kaplan. I’ll be proud to vote for her. She’s by far the best choice on the ballot. She’s by far the best fit for the job.