NYC Marathon Cancelled: Why We Had to Protest the Bloomberg Decision to Hold the Race

When I first heard the news that Mayor Bloomberg was planning not to cancel the New York City Marathon, I was completely shocked. When I learned that 40,000 hotel rooms that could be used to house storm victims were allocated for out-of-town runners, I was more than shocked. When I learned that generators would be used for the race and medical staff provided for the runners, as people and thousands of locals businesses are still without power in all of downtown Manhattan, and residents of Staten Island are stuck without shelter, food, and other basic necessities, I was overcome with a disgust that I cannot ever remember feeling.

When thousands of police officers are used to block roads (of course, at overtime rates, shattering the economic benefits of the race argument), and the only methods of transportation from outer boroughs are sealed off completely, it is mortifying that a public health hazard is taking a back seat to a recreational event. People will die because they cannot reach hospitals during this race. Mayor Bloomberg, along with his advisers and the sponsors of the race, will have blood on their hands.

I fear that Mayor Bloomberg’s government has become an authoritarian force that is not acting in the people’s best interests. When government steps on the will of the people, in this case to benefit the few at the expense of the many, it is the job of the citizen in a democracy to stand up and do something. So I created a StopTheMarathon page and a petition (for all of you to sign and spread, my dear fellow millennials!) encouraging the mayor to rethink his poor decision.

(Should the mayor proceed, we should form a human chain to prevent the marathon from being run, but that’s only a last resort if the mayor and his cronies don’t change their decision immediately.)

Supporters of continuing the marathon have cited the philanthropic efforts that are underway to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. It’s quite clear that $500,000 coming from ING (the race’s sponsor) and the rebranding of the marathon as the “Race to Recover” is just corporate social responsibility nonsense which fails to correct a poor decision. ING should cut their losses. But we know why they’re doing it: ING, along with real estate developer Jack Rudin, who donated $1.1 million to the recovery efforts in the name of the race, will happily be claiming their tax write-offs for their philanthropy in a couple of months.

I’m not saying that they should cancel the 2012 marathon forever. But this is the the worst week ever to run it. If the city waited a mere two weeks, the event would have greater integrity, be more safe, and be less damaging to the city.

Of course, Michael Bloomberg lives in a bubble. If you were a multi-millionaire mayor of a major city, you would too.

A large part of New York City is still without power. People are lacking food and water and other necessities. It is a stark reality that critical New York City resources will have to be diverted to permit the marathon to be run. In what rational world can we justify benefiting 40,000 individuals as millions suffer? Imagine if instead we put all of the runners to work helping storm victims rebuild their lives.

In 1980, the United States boycotted the Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia, because we stood up for what we believed in. Would we have held a marathon less than a week after 9/11? Would we have held a marathon less than a week after Hurricane Katrina? Of course, the answers to the above questions are no and no.

New York will always be a tourist hub. Yet it is unthinkable that there are millions of people without power, and thousands of businesses that are currently closed while a small number of people take part in a recreational activity. Citizens must band together to prevent this marathon from being run. We have 48 hours to make our cause known to the world!


How 21% of Americans Will Hold Election 2012 Hostage to Partisan Tools and Fools

Election Day is three weeks away, but that doesn’t mean much to me, because I’m not voting. I’ll go into work, read PolicyMic on my computer, check some exit polls in the early afternoon, and hopefully not encounter any radical offshoots of the New Black Panther Movement. It will be business as usual. That’s because I’m a member of the 79%, and until the Electoral College is abolished, my vote, as a resident of New York state, will be absolutely meaningless. The Electoral College has already awarded three elections to losers of the popular vote (not to mention that the “electors” are a bunch of partisan tools and fools).

The top 38.5 million Americans who live in “swing states” are the 12.1%. Their votes matter most, and therefore they get the best promises and treatment from presidential candidates. The people who reside in Florida (19.05 million), Ohio (11.54 million), and Virginia (8.10 million) are this lucky 12.1%. (Of course, the above figures recognize that not all eligible voters vote, and that ineligible residents, like children, are included in these statistics.) Like it or not, this year, these folks are the cream of the crop.

Then, just below them are 27.6 million people, our second, or “business” class of citizenry, the fine people who live in New Hampshire (1.32 million), Nevada (2.72 million), Colorado (5.17 million), Iowa (3.06 million), Wisconsin (5.71 million), and North Carolina (9.66 million). These people represent 8.8% of the population, and their votes, collectively, could effect the outcome of the election.

This above population represents 21% of America. The rest of us, we are the 79%. Let’s put that number out there. Let’s make it as ubiquitous as the 1% and the 99% and the 47%!

We are the 79%. We are useless. We are slaves to the 21%. The only way that we can vote, paradoxically, is with our money, by donating it to our limited choice presidential candidates and political parties and PACs and other quasi-shady organizations who can then bombard these 21% with enough media propaganda to make them see the light. (Yes, our situation could be regarded as worse worse than the 3/5 compromise. I’d take 3/5 of a vote over none!)

Sure, as a member of the 79% you can still help elect Senators, Governors, Congressmen (and women), and local officials, but that’s not the crux of why you’re proud to be an American. You want to be electing the person who comes out on top, the person who will be, for the next four years, the leader of the free world. You don’t want to be relegated to the minor leagues, yet you are. Perhaps, forever. Abolish the horribly antiquated Electoral College, and then the 79% will be free.