Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ed Koch, R.I.P.

One of the greatest mayors of New York City,
or any American city, and a man that your
appreciative Peasant has long admired for his
honesty, integrity, and candor, Ed Koch,
has passed away at the age of 88 years.

One of a parade of colorful New York mayors
(a prerequisite for the job, it seems), Koch
distinguished himself with his fairness,
dedication, independence of thought and action,
and a lack of hesitation to reach across the
political divide to get important objectives
achieved; he even endorsed more than a few
Republicans for various offices when he found
the quality of the GOP candidates exceptional
and that of the Democrat candidates substandard.
And he always spoke his mind, never trying to
be confrontational but never holding back either.
Would that we had more politicians like Ed Koch!

Some examples of Koch's candor: As mayor of
the Big Apple he called welfare advocates
"poverty pimps" (keep in mind, the mayor was
a liberal Democrat!), told visiting schoolchildren
from the Soviet Union that their country's
government was "the pits", and that a crack-
smoking lawyer who murdered his daughter
"should be boiled in oil!". This is what made
your delighted Peasant a big fan of Hizzoner!
He still held some traditional liberal political
nostrums; Koch took the "choice" side on
the issue of abortion, and was squarely in favor
of gay rights; as mayor, he established a
school exclusively for gay students so that
they could receive an education in a safe and
accepting environment free of harassment.
But Koch was always open to good ideas
regardless of where on the political spectrum
they originated from; he was no ideologue.
Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax and a
long-time friend of the mayor paid tribute to
him, saying "He set an example for other
public figures when, again and again, he was
able to rise above party labels for the public
good." Contrast Mayor Koch to the elected
officials from the two major parties and how
they behave toward each other these days.

And Koch was an unabashed flag-waver,
showing New Yorkers and all Americans
that one does not have to be a Republican
or a conservative to be patriotic, to have
love and appreciation for our country. Your
appreciative Peasant will gladly put Ed
Koch's patriotism alongside that of any
conservative office holder or seeker, or
everyday citizen for a comparison anytime!

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Koch's
career took him from the New York City
Council to Congress to the Office of the Mayor
of his adopted city. A reformer, he sought to
increase efficiency, cost-savings, and trust-
worthiness in city government while cracking
down on the opposites of these virtues;
however, not everyone in his cabinet was on
the same page as the mayor. After several
successive terms as Mayor he was defeated
for re-election because of this unfortunate
development, but Koch remained a larger-
than-life figure in New York, both on its
political scene and its social scene, with his
many public appearances long after the end
of his mayoral administration.

Your mournful Peasant regrets never having
met Mayor Ed Koch, but is grateful that we
have had such a public servant, such a patriot,
such a man, in our midst. Ed Koch made New
York a better city, and our country a better
country, for the example he set in the political
arena. He would always ask everyone he passed
on the streets of New York "How'm I doing?",
his main method of soliciting feedback on how
his performance was. Your Honor, you did
beautifully! Enjoy your well-earned, most
perfect, most peaceful rest.


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