The Life And Times of Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn
These days, we all have reasons to look back at the past. For some, those reasons stem from resurfaced sorrows, loss, and tragedy. For others, it’s the memories of things that could have been, but were not.
But sometimes, when you look back, despite a lack of complete satisfaction, you cannot help but be intrigued, if not astonished, by what you’ve witnessed and by the lessons you’ve learned as a result.
I know I feel that way about my fellow writers and Brooklyn Republicans in the past few years.
Anyone familiar with Brooklyn GOP politics in recent times knows how much it has been reshaped and impacted in a manner that few county party apparatuses can be, in many ways surprising if not outright stunning those who have followed it.
For years, it came as no surprise to a healthy minority if not a slight majority of insiders that the establishment system of politics in both major county parties–Democratic and Republican–was troublingly flawed, autocratic and corrupt. For years, intra-party squabbling and establishment totalitarianism was a semi-private subject that few party foot soldiers, either blindly or ignorantly, openly engaged in. For years, the average voter could not bother to worry about these issues either.
Yet, in the Brooklyn GOP, the party establishment was entirely blindsided by the gathering storm of discontent over sickening wheeling-and-dealing, status quo politics. That local discontent was surely recognizable in a greater universe of national upset, captured in the then growing Tea Party and libertarian movements that, for better or worse, have dominated the political headlines in just the past year or so.
That discontent and disappointment in the Brooklyn GOP did not start with Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn.
In fact, the hewing of political victims in the Brooklyn GOP has been going on for at least a generation, and was almost certainly done well before that. Sometimes those victims found various niches and outlets to continue to share their voices in their neighborhoods, but they often enjoyed limited press attention and given timeshares on the ash heap of GOP history (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan).
The internet changed all of that.
Yes, to a degree, the internet is a place where kooks can run amok and say the nastiest things with limited repercussions. But it is also a transformative and critical forum for the unheard voices in any arena to exercise their free speech.
And so, Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn came along.
My fellow writers and I, who had all seen first and second-hand the failure of the party to progress and promote reform (both internally and in government at large), told you we sought, simply, “reform in Brooklyn’s Republican Party, from the bottom up, from within and from without.”
At first we were ignored by the establishment, who silently hoped we would fail and frankly did not understand the power of online media–remember, this is the same gang that kept a post about Arnold Schwarzenegger on their antediluvian website long after he sent their Lincoln Dinner a video tape of himself, let alone while he was popular.
But once Atlas started to challenge the figureheads of their poorly led posse–such as the estimable Craig Eaton, aptly mocked as “The Duke of Bay Ridge” for his self-important reign of irrelevance in the wider borough–they began pawing desperately at their keyboards and using party hacks and Vietnam era political consultants to “fight back.”
In the meantime, many of our writers became purveyors of news that had never reached a broader audience beyond the small throngs of insiders huddled in chintzy Bay Ridge political haunts.
The establishment “powers that be” were not pleased one bit. Their deals with Democrats were being documented and dots were being connected demonstrating their egregious mismanagement of party funds and insular support of Bay Ridge locals at the expense of the rest of Kings County.
You have to understand that we are dealing with a group of individuals–termed “The Bay Ridge Cabal” on this very blog–who are not used to being questioned publicly. Why? Because it simply was not done by insiders. At the very least, people did not have the opportunity to do so in the past in any meaningful way.
In that way, Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn was novel.
It offered a variety of reform-oriented, frustrated Republicans and libertarian-minded individuals to express (and yes, occasionally vent) on what was wrong with things as they were and where things were (or were not) going. Our writers had the privilege of communicating with hundreds of thousands of visitors over the course of our time on the internet, which is truly humbling. We don’t benefit personally from this communication (no monetary or personal political benefit) beyond sharing our voices with each of you.
Meanwhile, the only thing the establishment could do was engage in petty guessing games on their own engendered hate blogs, impotently crowning which “douche bag” (not our term, theirs) was behind our Randian namesake–showing us all, frankly, what unprepared children the establishment is full of.
After tensions escalated, we’ve now transitioned into full blown civil war within the party, something Thomas Jefferson probably would think is a medicine necessary for its sound health. Bitter rivalries, both old and new, have been kindled, traitors have become friends (and vice versa), and feuding seemingly has no end in sight.
It was amidst this din that our writers took a step back from the fray, perhaps realizing just how much the civil war needed to play itself out without our voices muddling it. This did not go unnoticed.
Where did you go? many emailed us asking.
What happened? others asked.
In the interim, party loyalists were turning against their own, even taking their beloved Duke of Bay Ridge to court. Primary battles were raging and politics-as-usual reigned supreme in many quarters. Some major opportunities opened up (such as NY-9), and some groups continued to distinguish themselves. Yet, in these unseen wild times of GOP in fighting, attempts at meaningful reform were difficult for the most seasoned of veterans, let alone the average voter.
And so we arrive at today. Yes, the war within the party rages on, largely the product of the egomaniacs in that petty establishment Cabal refusing to either reform or say goodbye.
But some things just need to be said that aren’t being said right now. Some stories that just aren’t being told need to be told. And with elections in a few days, some issues that need to be addressed must be.
Revelations. Opinions. Predictions. All things you can either take or leave, as you always have.
So, in the coming days, we’ll be here as actively as we can. Hopefully, you’ll stop by…
- John Galt