Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I can't escape Carl ...

As I write this week’s column, I sit 800 miles away on a beach on beautiful South Carolina.

First of all, an admission: I’d rather be wandering the beach aimlessly … again. Or sitting poolside with my friends whose wedding I came down here to see. Both of them worked for the Tonawanda News back in the day and my employment there is the reason I met them — and ultimately, the reason I’m down here enjoying this view and the distractions.

But it’s a funny thing to travel that sort of distance, thinking you’re getting away from the problems of New York state, only to talk about them once you get there.

The irony of sitting at a resort in Myrtle Beach talking New York politics to someone from Cambria is mind- numbing … and was frankly somewhat depressing.

Add in the fact that there were people from Colorado, Georgia and Virginia in on the conversation — all about the race for governor here in New York — and it was all a bit mind-blowing.

We’ve got people in New York who couldn’t care less about our governor’s race. There are people whose eyes glossed over the moment this column went from talking about the beach to talking politics. And yet, there are people in other states who know all about Carl Paladino. Not Andrew Cuomo, mind you. No one says the name “Cuomo.”

Just Paladino.

I suppose I could take it as heartening that there are people who pay attention. I suppose I could think it interesting that people from thousands of miles away know about this guy that I know … and they know about him primarily because my friends and colleagues at WNYMedia.net just keeps hammering away at him and the big boys decided to pay attention.

Instead, I just feel ashamed. Ashamed that these people are talking about New York state in this manner. We’re a laughingstock to the rest of the country. We’re up there with Delaware and their senate candidate Christine O’Donnell.

In other words, these people are talking about us cause they think we’re crazy. Great.

Being a New Yorker is a privilege. And it comes with a certain responsibility.

Just as the world looks to the United States to set a good example, the rest of the United States looks to New York. And just as the United States sometimes falters in setting that example, New York has faltered, too.

Sadly, I’m not sure if there’s anything we can do about it this time around. We could be less of a laughingstock if people elect Cuomo in November, but I’d rather be laughed at than taxed and regulated to death. And I find it hard to believe that Cuomo would do anything other than tax and regulate us to death.

Frankly, I don’t want to think about it any more.

Fortunately for me, I’m on the beach. Unfortunately, I have to come back and face reality some time.