Late one evening not long ago, I had left the TV tuned to the David Letterman show while I finished up some writing. As the former president of two different public universities – one in the United States and one in Canada – imagine my shock when I heard the following: “I’m dumb, I went to a state college.” Let me repeat that: “I’m dumb,” said Mr. Letterman, “ I went to a state college.”
Earlier this week, the US Justice Department announced that pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay more than $2 billion in fines and penalties for illegally marketing the drug Risperdal to doctors and patients.
There was a time not so long ago when I could select my own doctor. There was a time when I could choose my health insurance company. There was a time when everyone believed Marxism was a failure, an idea relegated to the ash heap of history. There was a time when class warfare occurred in other places far away, but Americans believed in opportunity, not sponging from others.
When this is aired, I will be in Washington, D. C., where my students and I went to the U.S. Supreme Court to hear cases argued that we have been studying. Since it is also election day, I had to fill out an absentee ballot. On the ballot, the casino proposition leads the group of ballot propositions. Governor Cuomo had “submitted a concurrent resolution to the State Legislature to amend article I, § 9 of the State Constitution to allow for ‘casino gambling regulated by the state.’”(1)
As a nation organized by émigrés stirred by selfish design or desperation, should one expect out-comes according to what originally impelled them? Hardly—and yet, much of what our visionary antecedents desired came to pass, despite selfish side-steps and stubborn reluctance, by single-minded saboteurs. But when such hindrance becomes the stock-in-trade of those invested with responsible representation, just to gain political or financial profit or mere personal satisfaction --- honorable defenders must mount forceful opposition.
This Election Day voters will have an opportunity to amend the New York State constitution. When you get to the polling place, in addition to voting for candidates, you will have the opportunity to vote on six proposed changes to the state constitution. If you want to get the text of the actual amendments, you can access the language by going to the state Board of Elections website at www.elections.ny.gov.