Having grown up in arch-, arch-, arch-, arch-, arch-conservative Putnam County, N.Y., I was blessed to have my interests represented by one far-right Republican after another. Some were OK, most were bad and a few were nothing short of scary in their devotion to all things ignorant and fear-mongering.
Which leads us to Greg Ball.
As we speak, Ball is the assemblyman who represents the 99th Assembly District, aka the place where I grew up. He’s a modern-day political cliche—early-30s, decent looking, fancies himself a young JFK-type, served in the military, decides-to-enter-politics-but-first-joins-every-local-civic-group-to-prove-to-people-that-he’s-involved-and-cares. Oh, and he’s evil. Like, really evil. Like, Satan with a tan.
Ball is currently running against a woman named Mary Beth Murphy for the GOP nomination for New York State’s 40th Senate District. Like Ball, Murphy is a Republican (she’s currently the supervisor for the Town of Somers). Like Ball, she seems to be moderately OK at her job. Unlike Ball, Murphy is—by all accounts—decent. Snazzy? No. Exciting? No. But a good and sound public servant who seems genuinely interested in helping people out.
So here’s what Ball does. First, he decides the election’s No. 1 issue is going to be illegal immigration. Now, is the 40th Senate District in New York State overrun by illegals? Uh … no. There certainly are illegals, and an argument can be made that they’re not ideal members of a community. But is it a problem like, oh, crumbling schools or escalating taxes? Not even close. However, as Ball knows, illegal immigrants scare people. Especially rural, white Republicans.
Hence, without having the guts to use his name, Ball does this. A group is created … given a moniker like Taxed Too Much In Somers. They put out a video with Murphy saying illegal immigration isn’t a problem in Somers (which it isn’t. At all. Are there a handful? Probably. But I used to work in Somers. I rank it 543,321,221st on the Somers Problem Scale, right after “My Tissue Box is Nearly Empty and Fall is Approaching.”)—then interjecting snippets of men working. Men who appear to be … illegal!!!!! Now, are they illegal? We don’t know. But for racist, xenophobic punks like Ball, it matters not … because they look illegal. Brown skin. Doing hard work. Etc … etc.
I’m not a Republican, so it’s not like Murphy is my cup of tea. But guys like Ball—well, they make me want to vomit. No class, no decency. Can’t win on merit, so they toss out bullshit like this.