When my kids were growing up they used to comment on what was happening in politics and I’d often hear the words, “That ain’t right.” I’ve been using that phrase for years now both in print and on the radio and I’ve been hearing from many of the folks Garrison Keillor calls the Professional Organization of English Majors who object to the word “ain’t” as a bastardization of “isn’t.” Nevertheless, “ain’t” serves to emphasize the point. Maybe the English majors are unhappy that they ain’t getting the respect or the vocational rewards they think they deserve. In any case, I like “that ain’t right” and I will give several examples.
Donald Trump is president of the United States. Now, that ain’t right. Just based on the mess that he has made these past six months, how could you come to any other conclusion? It ain’t right that Trump is playing footsie with Vladimir Putin whose political enemies end up in jail or worse, dead.
It ain’t right that he keeps hinting about firing Special Council Mueller or even his own close personal friend and supporter Jeff Sessions. It really ain’t right in that in this so-called democratic republic, an arcane institution like the Electoral College means that the candidate who got the fewest votes is the president. It certainly ain’t right that this oaf in chief is already advancing the unthinkable idea that he has the power to peremptorily pardon himself and his close family. Not only that, it ain’t right that he keeps on lying. He told a whopper when he declared that his health care plan would be cheaper and better and would cover more Americans. That’s why his being president just ain’t right.
It ain’t right that American politics is for sale. It is axiomatic that you can buy elections. You can purchase all the lie-spewing commercials you can afford. Let’s say that Andrew Cuomo goes into the next election with fifty million dollars in his war chest and a lot of that money comes from the very people who want something from him. It surely ain’t right that several of Cuomo’s closest associates are facing years in jail for having allegedly ripped off the system in a natural extension of what is called “pay to play.” It could be argued that these guys were reporting directly to Cuomo. Let’s give the governor the benefit of the doubt that he had nothing to do with any alleged wrongdoing.
But what ain’t right in this case is that his top lieutenants were reporting to him and clearly, something was wrong with the way in which the chain of command was established. Hey, I run a large organization and I spend a lot of time reminding the people who work for me that there can be NO ethical violations. I tell them that if they do anything wrong, I will be the one held responsible. It ain’t right that people are willing to let the governor off the hook because he didn’t know what was going on.
Let’s remember that Cuomo picked these people to run things for him and that in addition to asking for money for themselves, these same people were asking for money for the Cuomo campaigns. None of that is right, right? It also ain’t right that Cuomo has stripped the excellent State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli of his pre-audit function.
It certainly ain’t right that New York is expected to pay millions of tax payer dollars for a Constitutional Convention that will surely be loaded with the same old, same old political players who have landed us in the ethical quagmire we are in now. After all, the election process for delegates is purposely complicated and only the regular pols know how to operate it. You’d have to believe in the tooth fairy to believe that good, ordinary citizens will brave those choppy waters to run. Right? Put another way, that ain’t right.