I have observed often that people who preach tolerance and want it for themselves are often intolerant. Take the case of Thomas Hurd-Toften. Hurd-Toften is a resident of the Town of Root. A couple of years ago, he and his boyfriend applied for a marriage license from the town clerk, Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen. The two men alleged that Eriksen refused to grant them a license. Subsequently they sued the Town of Root, and the town settled with them for $25,000.
A couple of weeks ago, Thomas Hurd-Toften decided to post some vile things on facebook about Liz Joy who is running against Paul Tonko in the 20th NY Congressional District. Some things Hurd-Toften posted were so disgusting I cannot repeat them in a newspaper. Let me just say they were both sexual and sexist in nature.
The other comments focused on Joy’s daughter-in-law who is biracial. In response to a post by Joy who shared a post from her daughter-in-law that said “Biracial babies shouldn’t have to choose, Hurd-Toften posted “Using your biracial daughter in law as your pawn? Classy Liz. Wonder if she realizes she is your ‘black friend.’” He also posted, “Hello fellow NY’ers. If you would like a dips@@t with no experience, who has a foul mouth, bad attitude, and who claims to want to represent YOU while degrading others. This b@@@h is your girl! For only $10 she can pretend she understands your plight, while living in her white privilege.”
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. If Joy is foul mouthed, she is hiding it well. Hurd-Toften does not hide his foul mouth or bad attitude, all the while claiming Joy is foul mouthed and has a bad attitude. Hurd-Toften’s comments I left out of this column are incredibly degrading of Joy and all women, yet Hurd-Toften has the nerve to say Joy degrades people. I have never read or heard anything from Joy that degrades anyone.
It’s ironic that Hurd-Toften is also white, appears to be quite privileged and worked as Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at the New York State Justice Center when he was venting his spleen. I deliberately used the past tense “worked” because, to their credit, Hurd-Toften’s bosses at the Justice Center immediately suspended him upon finding out what he had done.
There is not much else to say about this incident except “karma.” Oh, and Paul Tonko, another preacher of tolerance, did not call out Hurd-Toften as he should have. He was too busy attacking Joy himself.
In a recent fundraising mailing, Tonko said, “I am facing the most well-funded, organized and divisive opponent that I have ever faced in the upcoming election.” The only truth in this statement is that his opponent, Liz Joy, is organized. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org), Tonko has raised $946,977 as of June 28, while Liz Joy has only raised $166,830. It looks like Tonko is the one who is well-funded. He has taken in nearly $800,000 more than Joy yet has the gall to call her campaign well-funded.
Tonko doesn’t explain how or offer proof that Liz Joy is divisive. That’s because he cannot. I have seen nothing divisive about Liz Joy or her campaign. If anything she is uniting conservatives, Republicans and independents.
Could it be that Tonko is running a bit scared? For the first time in its history, the Albany County Sheriff’ Union Local 775 has endorsed a Republican, Liz Joy. Why wouldn’t they? Tonko has been unwilling to speak out against the current state of unrest, violence and lawlessness in the United States, including in his district. He also will not speak up on behalf of our beseiged police departments.
Joy, on the other hand, has posted a meme with three overlapping circles. One circle says “Outraged by George Floyd’s death,” a second says “Does not condone looting and rioting,” while the third states “Supports good police officers.” Where the three circles intersect is the word “Me.”
Violence must be condemned whether a cop is violent or a citizen is. Bad cops must be removed from office and punished. Good cops need our support. Unfortunately, Democrats seem incapable of denoucing violence by looters and rioters and unable to support the vast majority of our police officers who are good people. Paul Tonko appears to only support the message in the first circle. Liz Joy supports the message in all three circles, which seems to to me to be the correct and unifying position.