Chief executives — whether kings, presidents or prime ministers, are often referred to (especially by their PR people) as “the father of their people. ” That being so, Mayor Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world, has said to his children, “I’m sorry but we have to make budget cuts. I need to continue to entertain my plutocrat friends to dinners at Gracie Mansion, so you kids are just going to have to forage in dumpsters and sleep on the street.” This is precisely what Bloomberg has said in his administration’s abrupt termination of all housing subsidies in the city budget. There was no warning — no adjustment period — no time to seek other options. Some 15,000 letters went out telling everyone receiving rental assistance that, effective at once, it was eliminated. Many of those affected are young people — some of whom waited years to get a certificate for the Advantage program, many of whom are for the first time in a place of their own, off the streets and able to begin getting a life together. Now, those dreams are crushed and they are thrown out — back to the streets. Assuredly, the streets will be the death of some of these kids. We know with certainty that some have already contemplated suicide.
Mayor Bloomberg does not expect his life of limousines, first-class flights and black-tie dinners to be marred by their misery and deaths — yet there will be specters haunting his feasts. As when the Ghost of Christmas Present draws back his robe to reveal the starving children of ignorance and want, thus will the curtains Bloomberg has hung to screen his view of terrible realities be parted to show the ghosts of children — his children; our children — whom his heartless decision has cast to the implacable and deadly fates. A terrible chilly wind will blow through those parted curtains — turning his wine sour and his roast, his sweet desserts, all to ashes in his mouth. One by one, his guests will draw back and depart as the accusing ghosts of dead children point out the man who destroyed their lives with a mere flick of a pen. In the last moments of his old age, they are the spirits who will come to conduct him to his final reward.
History will record Mayor Bloomberg as a man of fabulous wealth who could not find it in his heart to help children of his own city who have no resource and no shelter. Have we at last become a society so debased, so without the fundamentals of civilized morality that we can tolerate a leader who takes food from the mouths of children and the roof from over their very heads? If there are gods, surely they will turn away in disgust from a people who have become so vile. This is evidently what Mayor Bloomberg is, but surely it is not what we are. It is time we proved it by rising up with one voice, as a people, to say, “You will not do this terrible thing to children.”
Tobias Grace, Editor, Out In Jersey