LONSBERRY: Andy and The Geneseo Swimmers

 Five years from now we should track down the members of this year’s SUNY Geneseo swim team, and see how many of them still live in New York.

               Odds are it won’t be many.

               Odds are they will be victims – like some one million other displaced New Yorkers – of the tyranny of Andrew Cuomo. Unable to vote him out, they will move themselves out.

               Here’s the background.

               Four years ago, North Carolina passed a transgender bathroom law that Cuomo didn’t agree with, so he imposed a travel ban to the state. No New Yorker could travel on state business to North Carolina.

               He wasn’t the only one who had a problem with men using men’s rooms and women using women’s rooms, as various businesses and even the NCAA threatened to pull out of the Tar Heel state. So North Carolina changed its law. Toilets became you pick and everybody was happy. The businesses dropped their threats and the NCAA stayed to play.

               And everybody was happy.

               Except Andrew Cuomo, who still has a travel ban in place.

               Sort of like the Soviets wouldn’t let people travel to America, fearing they would defect, Cuomo doesn’t want New Yorkers going to North Carolina, fearing they won’t come back.

               North Carolina, after all, is a growing, dynamic state with low taxes and a commitment to personal freedom, and New York is a crumbling hulk.

               But back to the travel ban.

               Nobody knew it was still in place until 13 athletes from the State University of New York system qualified for the Division III NCAA national swimming and diving championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ten of the students attend SUNY Geneseo, with two from Brockport and one from Cortland.

               And they earned the right to go to the national championships.

               But the governor stood in the way. His last-in-the-nation (New York’s unofficial nickname) travel ban would keep the swimmers at home. Forty-nine other states’ athletes were eligible, but New York’s had been DQed by the governor’s self-righteousness.      

               But Andrew the Merciful, according to dictums from his office, was willing to make an exception, to grant a royal order allowing the swimmers to compete in North Carolina, but not to sleep there.

               His courtiers have not yet said if the swimmers can eat in North Carolina, or if they may do so with food purchased in another state.

               The position of the governor of the state of New York is that a bunch of college kids can go to a swim meet, but they may not lodge within the state. Instead, they must find accommodation across a state line – presumably in Virginia – some 45 miles away.

               Apparently, the interests of urinating transgenders are respected by such a dictate, whereas crucial human rights will be disrespected and bigotry will be advanced if New York athletes sleep in North Carolina, like all the other athletes at this meet. There has been no word yet from the Unholy See about napping between heats in North Carolina.

               Impressed that driving 13 people an hour each way to different events and heats over a 16-hour competition day was impractical and bound to hurt the New York athletes’ competitiveness, SUNY Geneseo alumni swimmers started a GoFundMe page to privately pay for North Carolina motel rooms for the New York swimmers.

               The money was quickly and easily raised.

               And apparently that pissed off the governor.

               Because another edict issued forth and his nuncio said that the governor forbad any such arraignment. Even if paying with private money, Andrew Cuomo would not allow New York athletes to lodge in North Carolina. The money must be returned to donors and the swimmers must comply with the governor’s wishes.

               The SUNY Geneseo administration said nothing, as its lips were too firmly planted on the governor’s ass.

               The students said nothing, for fear of being smashed by the governor’s hubris.

               And the transgender community said nothing, for reasons that aren’t obvious.

               Does anyone honestly think that inflicting this ridiculous and unnecessary hardship on college swimmers advances or protects the rights of transgender people? Is it the assertion of the governor of New York that the NCAA and all the states sending swimmers to its national championships are facilitators of bigotry?

               Is, by implication, every person who rents a motel room in North Carolina a bigot?

               Are these students and others at the championship disrespectful of trans rights for even agreeing to go to North Carolina?

               Or is this just a cancerously egocentric man, spinning in a narcissistic delusion of power and self-importance? The Empire State has long since stopped being an empire, but it is most assuredly has an emperor, a man who rules with an iron fist some 19 million people who he clearly despises.

               Including 13 college students who are being used as pawns by a man whose “Let them stay in Virginia” is the “Let them eat cake” of our day.

               Thirteen more New Yorkers who are very likely to join the Cuomo diaspora as soon as they possibly can.

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