GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s intended zinger at rival Donald Trump as the embodiment of New York values puzzled many residents of the borough, where The Donald was born and bred before moving across the river to Gotham.
The Texas senator defined New York values as being “socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and (focused) on money and the media.”
Queens has evolved into a more culturally diverse place since the “All in the Family” sitcom introduced Archie Bunker, the lovable conservative bigot to TV audiences in 1979 from a fictional address in Astoria. Archie might have agreed with Cruz at first, but the moral of the series was for the blue collar worker to face the truth behind his prejudices.
Today 48 percent of Queens residents are foreign-born. These new New Yorkers speak 135 languages and come from 120 countries, making it next to impossible to definite “socially liberal” in the borough.
But not to Cruz’s surprise, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-1 in Queens, which has only one GOP lawmaker on the books. Still it’s a bigger Republican margin than in any other borough except Staten Island.
As for abortion, all the borough’s elected officials support free choice whatever their personal views.
Back in 1999 the St. Pat’s Parade for All kicked off in Sunnyside as an inclusive alternative to the March 17 extravaganza down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan which has banned gay groups from marching under its banners. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with both a Dem and GOP pedigree, marched in the parade, as has Bill de Blasio, in what has become a huge family event attracting thousands of onlookers.
On the money and media front, we concede that territory to Trump’s Manhattan. We’re a middle-class borough filled with resilient newcomers whose mantra is hard work to achieve the American dream.
But even the head of Goldman Sachs, the investment banking empire where Cruz’s wife worked and wangled a loan for $500,000 for his Senate campaign, has a connection to Queens from its Lower Manhattan lair. Under Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who grew up poor in East New York, the bank gave LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City $2 million—the biggest gift in its history—as part of a long-term relationship.
He told graduates at the June 2013 commencement that he understood their sacrifices.
“You built up muscles that others who’ve had an easier time don’t have. Those muscles will serve you for the rest of your life.”
These are Queens values.