Curtis Sliwa may be New York City’s only hope for a real people’s mayor, but his campaign is also setting the standard for authentic populism nationwide. Every 2022 and 2024 Republican hopeful should pay close attention to his campaign in the effort to take back America.
Don’t sleep in on New York’s mayoral Election Days, especially the June 22 primary. The two-man race on the Republican side features Sliwa—and that’s the only name that matters.
It’s worth knowing more about Sliwa and how his approach pertains to authentic populism.
Sliwa’s mayoral campaign rests upon his record of genuine public service, not a career in politics. His message is not new but it’s credible. His battle-ready stances against corruption, elitism, rampant crime, and overall social decay have people clamoring.
Sliwa got his jaw broken last summer by rioting and looting leftists, so he literally can feel the pain so many business owners and other law-abiding Americans are feeling. Dig a little deeper into his past, and you will find he rescued people from a burning building while on a paper delivery route at age 16.
Leading by example and keeping skin in the game are qualities that are naturally rooted in true patriots—not utopian, woke leftists. For this reason, it should be all the more embarrassing to Republican voters that the Democrats compete so closely for the mantles of populism with standouts like Bernie Sanders and AOC, who are as inauthentic as anyone could be.
Whether it’s a race for mayor or U.S. senator, the leading themes or issues on a populist campaign inevitably will be at least a few of the following: anti-corruption, quality of life, fostering community, and of course economic reform. These all usually go hand-in-hand.
And are perennial issues in NYC.
Some folks like to slag Curt Sliwa as a publicity-hound, a right-wing thug, and/or a phony, among other things. I’ve always liked him myself, going back to the days when I listened to the great Bob Grant on WABC. Sliwa was a regular on the show, occasionally guest-hosting himself when Grant was on vacation.
A lot of people have either forgotten or never knew in the first place, but it was Curtis Sliwa who exposed Al Sharpton’s vicious rabble-rousing at Freddie’s Fashion Mart, which eventually resulted in riots, arson, and mass murder:
In another violent incident in which Sharpton was even more directly involved was a mass murder at Freddie’s Fashion Mart in Harlem. Freddie’s Fashion Mart was a clothing store owned by a Jewish businessman and located in space he rented from a black church. When the store owner attempted to expand his floor space into space which was occupied by black sub-tenant Sharpton led a series of protests at the store.
Sharpton called the owner of Freddie’s a “white interloper” and the protesters led by Sharpton shouted about the “blood-sucking Jews” and “Jew Bastards”. Sharpton and his partner went on the radio and referred to the owner of Freedie’s as a “cracker” and promised that he would be “made to suffer”.
One of Sharpton’s protesters forced his way into Freddie’s Fashion Mart and fatally shot three white people, then he shot a Pakistani immigrant to death because he “looked Jewish” and set fire to the store. A fire in which five Hispanics, a Guyanese immigrant and a black security guard (who had been referred to by the protesters as a “cracker lover”) all lost their lives.
Of course when confronted with the logically predictable consequences of his incendiary rhetoric Sharpton promptly denied any connection to the protest except to say that he had visited there once to “express his support” and to engage in discussions with “all the involved parties”. When Curtis Sliwa played tape recording of Sharpton’s venomous speeches, delivered to the picketers on more than one occasion, on his WABC radio program Sharpton responded by calling WABC “hate radio”.
Sliwa first played those tapes on Bob Grant’s show, if I remember right, blowing Sharpton’s brazen lies denying his starring role in the mayhem at Freddie’s all to hell and gone. I was listening when he did; believe me, it was a thing of beauty. Of course, Sharpton was greasy enough to ooze his way out of facing justice for his repeated exhortations to violence, and he still is. But hearing Grant and Sliwa gleefully chortling as they played TV news reports featuring Sharpton’s gradually-disintegrating fabrications originally claiming complete non-involvement, then admitting to having attended the Freddie’s demonstration “once,” or maybe “once or twice, can’t remember,” and so on was priceless just the same. Then they would play Sliwa’s tapes capturing Sharpton denouncing the “white interlopers and blood-sucking Jews” over a bullhorn, inspiring the Rush Limbaugh Show parodies hilariously lampooning him, in which Sharpton was always pontificating through a bullhorn.
The charlatan never stopped trying to miminize his role as the primary instigator:
It is noteworthy that when Al Sharpton wants to see black faces in high places in the recording industry he does not refer to them as “niggers” or “black interlopers”; he speaks of equal opportunity for blacks. But when a Jew owns a store in a part of America that Al Sharpton thinks should be off-limits to white people, then that businessman is vilified as a cracker and a white interloper. He’s saying that blacks should have business opportunities in every part of America, but white folks should stay the hell off the sacred soil of black communities. It’s a strange message coming from a man who claims to teach the lessons of Jesus.
The “drums” of the Harlem community had done their job. The word was out. One of Sharpton’s picketers forced his way into Freddy’s Fashion Mart and shouted: “I will be back to burn the Jew store down.” Before he could make good on his threat, another Sharpton protester named Abubunde Mulocko burst into the store with a loaded .38 caliber pistol and shot three white people. Then he shot a Pakistani because he mistook him for a Jew. Then he torched the store and burned alive five Hispanics, a Guyanese and a black security guard whom the protesters had vilified as a “cracker lover.”
After stirring up racial hatred with his heated rhetoric on 125th Street and broadcasting his hostility on two radio stations for months, the Reverend Al Sharpton abruptly claimed total ignorance of what his underlings had been up to. He had a sudden case of global amnesia. In his sanitized autobiography, Sharpton makes no mention of the incendiary broadcasts he and his buddy Morris Powell had made. To hear him tell it, he barely knew of the loud and vulgar protest at Freddy’s. “I visited once to support the picketers and to talk to all sides,” he says with feigned innocence. (p 268) Sharpton continues: “but after a few days, tapes of some statements made by me calling a lessee a white interloper, and then some more offensive and hateful statements made by others when I was not present, at my Saturday morning rally, were released by a right-wing media watch group to further the mayor’s reckless charges.”(p268) Mayor Giuliani had criticized Sharpton for turning the Freddy’s dispute onto a racial powder keg. If my memory serves, the “right-wing media watch group” that Sharpton refers to was just one guy with a pocket tape recorder who had gone to one of Sharpton’s rallies at the request of Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels. Sliwa played the tape on WABC radio in New York. Sharpton calls WABC “hate radio.”(p 141) I have heard this recording a dozen times. Sharpton did not speak the vulgarity “white interloper” in some cool detached tone of voice, he employed all the rhetorical skills he had acquired in a lifetime of preaching. He was struggling mightily to fire the crowd to action. His words, “white interloper,” sprang from his lips like a curse. His tone left no doubt: he wanted the white Jew gone from the sacred soil of Harlem.
In his own defense Sharpton says: “I was not guilty of inciting violence, but I was guilty of not upholding the standards of my speech.”(p 268) Well, spank me Mommy! Seven innocent people are dead, four other people had suffered gunshot wounds, Freddy’s Fashion Mart is a burned out shell, and the firebrand Reverend Sharpton thinks he is only guilty of sub-standard language skills.
Oh, I’m sure Sharpton thinks no such thing; deep down, this shameless race-warmonger knows full well what he’s guilty of, however little that bothers his conscience (if any) in the long, still watches of the night. What he actually thinks is that he’s a skilled enough liar to con everybody else into thinking it, that’s all. Thankfully, the ever-intrepid Curtis Sliwa was on hand to puncture that balloon forever.
That’s reason enough to like him right there, at least for me. There are others.
My favorite has always been Rudy Giuliani. He’ll never get his due. People take for granted—now, they don’t even talk about crime as being one of the top issues of stop-and-frisk, which is used to draw the crime down, not about people carrying guns and using guns—you almost never hear about that. What he had to do—the bull in the china shop—he had to go in there knowing you weren’t gonna make friends, you were gonna make a lot of enemies. And he came in with his wrecking crew, and let me tell you something, he did a lot of things that alienated a lot of people, but if he hadn’t taken all those political risks we would not be in the situation we are now. Bloomberg was able to take advantage of that and he added to it…
Now people who are enjoying all of the benefits—and I see people attacking Rudy, criticizing Rudy, I say, “Look, do you remember what it was like? Do we have to go on a retrospective?” So, I like Rudy, but they’ve all disappointed me, and you learn a lesson from this: It’s about principles, not people. People are always gonna fail you. I’ve failed many, many times in my life. But I promoted certain principles: self help. I don’t believe in government basically taking care of you form the cradle to the grave. That’s why for 34 years I’ve exported the Guardian Angels now to 17 countries, 130 cities. I believe in self-help. If you have a problem, don’t depend on government. There’s not many people in New York City who talk about that, even people now who are Republicans or conservatives, you know, they’ve sort of morphed a bit. People in New York City are very much into the government has to do it or it can’t get done.
He’s by no means perfect, of course; he has his flaws and his failings, as do we all. But New Yorkers could certainly do a lot worse than having Sliwa as mayor. Hell, they have done worse. And will again.