Friday, July 23, 2021

Senator Chuck Schumer Meets With Roosevelt Island And Upper East Side Community Leaders Hosted By NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright - Describes January 6 As Best And Worst Of Times, Trump Is Despicable, Vile And Always Appeals To The Dark Side Says Schumer

Roosevelt Island community activists were among those attending the community meeting with Senator Schumer.

According to a press release from Assembly Member Seawright:

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright today held a special district meeting with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for community leaders of the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island. 

The meeting with the New York senior senator at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House was arranged by Seawright to hear from the Senator on federal aid for tenants, small businesses, transportation, health and other vital issues of community concern. Attendees included advocates, activists, non-profit representatives, local school leaders, and local hospital healthcare officials. 

"We owe a debt of gratitude to Majority Leader Schumer who has been tireless in securing direct economic support to enable our communities to rise, unite and fight back from COVID-19," said Seawright.

Seawright thanked Senator Schumer for fighting for economic impact payments, federal pandemic unemployment compensation, enhanced child tax, and earned income tax credits, two of the most potent and effective anti-poverty tools the U.S. government provides.

"As we continue the recovery from the pandemic, we want to ensure that our district is on the pathway to a thriving Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island, " she said.

Activists spent more than an hour sharing opinions and posing questions on local concerns.

Before addressing local community issues, Senator Schumer described his experience of January 6, beginning with the election of 2 Democratic Party Senators from Georgia, becoming Senate Majority Leader and ending in the attack and insurrection by supporters of President Trump at the Capital. 

According to Senator Schumer:

 ... As a nation January 6 could be described, at least from my point of view, by the opening line in Charles Dickens novel A Tale Of Two Cities,  the best of times the worst of times.

You may remember that January 5th was our election day in Georgia where we had two Democratic senators if they won, we knew we'd get back to a Democratic majority. Well, I was very nervous, I stayed up all night watched the results  Tuesday night bled into Wednesday morning.

I'm on the computer at 2 a.m. What's the results in Chatham county, how many African-American turnout was there in Dekalb county. Finally at 4 00 a.m in the morning, it's clear that we've won and we would gain the Democratic majority. 

I would replace Mitch McConnell as the majority leader...

... you probably asked yourself the same question I asked myself. How could 74 million people vote for such a despicable human being as Donald Trump and I don't care if you're a liberal or a conservative Democrat or Republican, he is a vile man, he is dishonest, he is divisive. That's what he loves to do, just divide and have people fighting with each other. He's a racist and he always appeals to the dark side of human nature which he's very good at unfortunately. 

How did they vote for him and I realized that for too many Americans they no longer had faith in the American dream. We are a bright sunny optimistic country or have been but in the last 20 years or so a sourness has overtaken our land and people don't have faith in that American dream. If you ask the average American what is the American dream to you  they say it means if I work hard I'll be doing better 10 years from now that I'm doing today and my kids will be doing still better than me.

When people don't believe that, they can turn to a demagogue and that's what they did to some extent in 2020. We didn't give them a bold strong vision. Middle class and the people struggling to get to the middle class don't expect us to snap our fingers and make all their troubles go away but they expect to see progress. Our mission and moral was to restore that progress and hope, so they would never turn to a demigod like they did in 2016 and almost did in 2020. So those were my feelings, joy but awe. 

I can't sleep. I get in the car at 7 30 in the morning, drive down to Washington and get on the floor of the Senate for the first time as the putative majority leader. At 1 pm we're counting the votes as you may remember and within an hour before even giving my first speech a police officer in a bulletproof vest with a submachine gun strapped across his waist grabs me firmly by the collar. I'll never forget that feeling and says Senator you're in danger. You got to get out of here.

He had to explain to me what the danger was. You may have seen this because the video security cameras overhead caught it and they showed it at the impeachment trial. First time I saw. But they show me walking out the Senate chamber door turning to the right. I'm walking briskly with police officer on either side go through the door, you don't see me for 20 seconds and then 20, 25 seconds later we're running out the door at full speed.

I was within 20 feet of these insurrectionists horrible people, these racist insurrections, insurrectionist bigots. Had one of them had a gun, had two of them blocked off the door, lord knows what would have happened. One of them was reputed to point at me and say there's the big Jew let's get him. Worst of times. Now we're getting back to the better of times, they've arrested about half of those who invaded the capital...

Stay tuned for more on the meeting with Senator Schumer and discussion of local community issues.

UPDATE 7/24 - Here's video from the Roosevelt Island & Upper East Side community meeting  with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Part 1 - Introduction and description of best and worst of times from January 6.

Part 2 and 3 are questions from community members and response from Senator Schumer.

UPDATE 7/26 - In response to a question from an Upper East Side restuarant owner (17 minute 14 second mark of Part 3 video), Senator Schumer says he is a strong supporter of small business and describes his experience as a young man trying to collect an overdue bill from a landlord refusing to pay for services provided by his father's small exterimantor's business.

UPDATE 7/26 - Roosevelt Island residents Matt Katz and Joyce Short were among those asking questions of Senator Schumer. The Senator interrupted Mr Katz's question by saying he has ridden his bicycle from Brooklyn thru Queens to Roosevelt Island and will do so again. Mr Katz asked Senator Schumer about Roosevelt Island governance:

... On Roosevelt Island where we live we have been activists. We have had an issue with the voting rights and American democracy. We are denied it. 

We are part of New York City. We vote for our City Councilman, Borough President but they do not make the decisions...

...We are run by a New York State Public Benefit Corporation ... appointed by the Governor.... That's not American democracy as i understand it...

... My question is we would love to sit with your staff to give them a fuller picture of what's going on on Roosevelt Island  because American democracy starts in the local community.

Senator Schumer replied:

Many of these questions will be state and local issues and while I'm not directly involved I have indirect involvement because i helped ...  I got the state 23 billion dollars, I got the City 6 billion and the MTA so they sometimes, not always, but sometimes, listen to me so I'll be happy to listen to you and weigh in.

Joyce Short asked about domestic violence and a federal law defining consent in the context of sexual assault.