Chris Collins is guilty.
And he’s my congressman.
And he and my party are demanding I vote for him, to re-elect him.
Not as some place filler to facilitate a special election in the new year, but as a political castrati drawing a check and living in legislative limbo pending the outcome of a trial well more than a year away.
Somehow, if I don’t vote for a man who puts himself ahead of his constituents and country, I’m the bad guy.
And the disgusting thing is, I might do it.
I might take the moral certitude of “Right makes might” and flush it down the toilet. I might vote for a bad man to achieve a good end.
Or at least what I still tell myself is a good end.
And before you give me the lecture on “innocent until proven guilty,” let me say that calling your stockholder son with inside information that leads to a vast sell off is a crime all day, every day, even if you don’t do it from the White House lawn. This is not a shade of gray. This is not fake news or some Pelosi plot.
This is one of those things that makes you turn in your Eagle Scout medal.
And Chris Collins did it.
And now he’s posing with cardboard Trump cutouts saying that we have to keep New York 27 red.
Red with embarrassment, perhaps.
Red with rage, maybe.
Red with his bloody hands, absolutely.
It’s the classic choice: Do you want to eat cow manure or horse manure?
Do you want to vote for a crook or a communist?
With apologies to Democrat Nate McMurray, his centrism is new found. He’s stopped talking about single-payer healthcare and started referring respectfully to “President Trump.” But he’s a progressive. And there’s nothing wrong with being a progressive, it’s just that in this congressional district, there aren’t very many of them.
A few shrill whiners tenured at one SUNY or another, and some true-believer Bernie Bros, but this district is overwhelmingly salt-of-the-earth Americans who don’t go in for that Democrat bull crap.
And when young Nate says he won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House, we don’t believe him further than we can throw him. His mere presence as a Democrat will be a tally in support of Pelosi control of the House, no matter what he actually does with his vote.
Nate might be a nice guy, but it’s the pack he runs with – or, in the parlance of Washington, will caucus with – that are the exact kind of loons who drive folks in New York 27 nuts.
A vote for Nate McMurray is a vote that brings back the world of Obama, and empowers the feminists and the Antifas and the Congressional Black Caucus and all the division and rage that empower the Democrats’ coalition of the aggrieved.
A coalition that just happens to hold people like those who live in New York 27 in hateful contempt. It’s bad enough we’ve got Cuomo telling us there’s no place for us in New York, we don’t need congressional Democrats telling us there’s no place for us in America.
That’s one choice on the ballot.
The other choice is a guy who knows he’s guilty and won’t even explain himself to his constituents.
If you vote for the nice guy, you get Marx on The Mall. If you vote for the crook, maybe you stave off the barbarians.
And that’s just a maybe.
As there start to be little clues that the White House and the congressional leadership expect the Democrats to take control of the House of Representatives, Nate’s argument that it would be nice to have somebody on the inside starts to sound good. Especially against the prospect of re-electing The Stockbroker only to have him be a member of the minority caucus.
It’s a mess. A disgusting mess.
That the people don’t deserve.
That the county chairmen brought on by forcing Collins on the voters years ago, and that Collins now owns completely by his patently criminal conduct.
Nate is a nice guy, but I don’t trust his kind with the keys to the country. Collins is a crook, but he might help keep in power a party that pisses me off only slightly less often than the Democrats.
That’s not a choice I like to make.
It’s not a choice that today I can make.
And when I slip the little ballot into the machine one of these first Tuesdays, I’ll be curious to see which little black circle I filled in.