The New York Daily News published an op-ed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today on New York's commitment to fighting for democracy and the American ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all.
The text of the op-ed is available below and can be viewed online here.
America, these days, is a frightening place:
The unspeakable deaths by gun violence at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland last month; 800,000 Dreamers, American young people, afraid and unsure; the abandonment of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria; a tax cut for the rich as the middle class is forgotten; attacks on organized labor; the surfacing of the language of hate; white supremacists marching in Charlottesville; and widespread distrust of our criminal justice system.
Each is its own incident with its own consequences, yet there is a through line that connects, and that line is the misguided trajectory of the country: our young people in danger, our democracy degenerating, and the sense of community deteriorating.
In many ways, our country is becoming more unrecognizable by the day; in other ways, it remains all too recognizable only for the persistence of long festering problems.
As President Trump pursues a politics of division unlike any in modern presidential history, pitting rich against poor, blue states against red states, and people of diverse backgrounds against one another, it has fallen to us, the individual states to continue to uphold our highest American ideals of liberty, equality, and justice for all.
Not just because those are our values, but because they work.
We have seen that they work on the ground in our states, which have always been the laboratories for democracy in this country. It is on the state level where the experiment of democracy has produced its most telling results.
The formula that is turning states around all across the country is clear: fiscal responsibility plus social progress, the MC-squared of democracy.
As a national beacon of social progress and economic power, the state of New York has been a non-stop laboratory, innovating new ways, despite challenges from the White House, to stay true to our vision.
Our vision is to unite, not divide; to narrow the gulf of economic inequality, to tax fairly; to protect the environment; to protect immigrants; to advance opportunity for women; to make our criminal justice system fair for everyone; and to enhance common sense gun laws.
But New York is not the only state with this resolve.
While the President attempts to build a political trophy in the form of a border wall, states with common beliefs are uniting to erect walls of legislation around what we collectively value most.
In the face of the dangerous policies and negligence of the administration in Washington, we will use our jurisdiction to protect our economies, our environment, and the right of our students to pursue an education free from risk to their lives.
We did so when the GOP Congress passed a tax bill that would devastate middle class families by creating a multi-state coalition to sue the federal government comprised of New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland and representing nearly 15% of the nation's GDP.
We did so when President Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the Paris Accords by creating the U.S. Climate Alliance committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Today the Alliance represents 15 states and Puerto Rico, representing 40 of the nation's population.
And now we are doing so again. In the absence of responsive federal action on gun safety, states will pick up the mantle of leadership and protect our children, our families and say we hear you to the students who keep us all honest about the cost of defeat.
Last month New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island announced the launch of the "States for Gun Safety" coalition. Shortly after, we announced Massachusetts, Delaware and Puerto Rico were joining the fight to combat the gun violence epidemic.
Unlike Washington, we hear the cries of Americans, 97% of whom support background checks for all gun sales.
And so we stand in solidarity with the brave high school students rallying across our states and the whole of our nation, who have experienced gun violence first hand and are marching and fomenting change.
They are rightfully appalled that their government has let them down. They're taking names, making notes, and, soon, they'll be voting.
At the state level, we experience the full-spectrum of our nation's challenges each and every day, and we can't — we won't — abdicate our responsibility.
While the federal government incites and exacerbates division, we will fight — not only for unity but with it.
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