Roy McDonald said he shelved his campaign for the state Senate on Thursday because he believed it was the best thing for the Republican Party, and with that, he took a step backward.
Last year, when McDonald provided one of the key votes to legalize gay marriage in New York, he said it was because he wanted to do the right thing. He voted against the beliefs of many of his constituents, went against his party and voted his conscience.
I respected that, and you should, too.
How many of us have ever stood alone among our peers to utter a contrary viewpoint that led to an argument? How many of us took a stand our closest friends would rebuke? How many of us ever drew a line in the sand knowing it might cost us our jobs? All because it was the right thing to do.
That’s what Roy McDonald did.
Most of us are great at sharing our opinions in front of the television, but few of us stand up at a town hall meeting when it really matters.
Roy McDonald stood up against his party on one of the most contentious issues of our time. Brave politicians are a scarce commodity, a commodity that is increasingly rare, almost extinct.
McDonald’s stand for gay marriage last year and his stand for the Republican Party this week are total contradictions, and leave me scratching my head.
I thought we had finally found a politician who not only had found his own voice, but one determined to do what was right no matter what the cost, the party be damned.
In one interview I did with McDonald, he pulled no punches about his contempt for the corruption of some of his fellow senators in Albany and the hypocrisy he was seeing on a daily basis. And he said it on the record.
I loved the idea someone like McDonald was going to stand up for those ideals and take on the corruption in Albany, whether they were in his party or not.
On Thursday, he gave up that fight and for the worst possible reason: the party. Just like any run-of-the-mill political hack, he caved to party pressure.
When is it going to be about us citizens? For once.
McDonald issued this statement: “I believe maintaining the Republican majority in the New York State Senate will continue to positively change state government. It is important to recognize the need for checks and balances in our democracy, which can only be assured by a multi-party system.”
But exactly the opposite happened.
With McDonald still in the race, voters had a real choice between two strong candidates. That’s what voters need. They need choices, they need debate and candidates to be challenged. But Albany will never clean up its act until we have devoted men and women willing to put the people first and the party second.
The possibility McDonald and Kathy Marchione would split the Republican vote and open the door for a Democratic victory was something the Republican Party would not tolerate.
When politicians are looking for votes, they talk a lot about what they will do for the people, but in the end, they almost always do the party’s bidding.
Roy McDonald was the one guy I thought wouldn’t do that.