Point of View: Don’t Blame Us

Gershon swept all 19 election districts here, Montauk included

Soon after the midterms I considered ordering a bumper sticker that would read: “Don’t Blame Me — I’m From East Hampton.”

That variant, of course, derives from the sensationally failed 1972 presidential candidacy of George McGovern, the liberal Democrat who was to carry only one state, Massachusetts, many of whose residents afterward proudly put “Don’t Blame Me — I’m From Massachusetts” bumper stickers on their cars. (The comparison, while admittedly clever, is, I confess, somewhat invidious inasmuch as Perry Gershon gave Lee Zeldin a much better run for his money. Had all 16,000 absentee ballots gone to Gershon, he would have won!)

McGovern’s striking “Getting It All Together” poster, rescued from dusty oblivion at The Star, has hung for years in our bedroom, testimony, I suppose, to the coupling of lofty ideals with dashed hopes. 

“Don’t forget to call on Wednesday,” I said to our eldest daughter, who lives in Ohio, a couple of days before the election. “Mary,” who had knocked on doors for Gershon, “will either be over the moon or under a cloud.”

I’m happy to say my prediction was wrong. While obviously disappointed with the First Congressional District result, her fighting spirit — an inspiration to me, a phlegmatic type — bent but did not break.

That Gershon swept all 19 election districts here, Montauk included, was good news, I argued, testimony to her — and to all of the other Bonac door-knockers’ efforts. So, don’t blame us.

I still remain mystified, though, that an incumbent who, while he voted against the “tax reform” bill, which gores our oxen locally by denying state income tax, property tax, and mortgage interest write-offs, but did nothing really to prevent the deficit-ballooning giveaway; who apparently fails to support extensive gun control laws — even in the face of repeated mass killings — and whose party is seemingly bent on denying insurance coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, and on meddling with Social Security and Medicare, would attract support from somewhat more than half of those, most of them aging middle-class homeowners I suspect, who turned out at the polls. 

As for immigration, I don’t know if Lee Zeldin — as the president does — tends to characterize all immigrants as members of the El Salvadoran gang MS-13, or if he is utterly laissez-faire when it comes to Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, but here too I would think he’d be out of sync with the district’s sizable Latino population.

So, don’t blame us — we’re from East Hampton.