The Preacher Who Would Be Mayor

11/02/2009 4:00 AM |

Over the last several weeks—with the primaries over, and the form filing finished—it has been on to pure campaigning, where the reverend shines. He and the choir have been appearing, among other places, on subway lines, singing songs and handing out literature. And, as always, pastoring. (He is also the one who, in an act of civil disobedience, interrupted the mayoral debate, in which he was not invited to participate. “We voted for term limits!” he shouted to modest applause during Bloomberg’s opening remarks. “Why are you here? Why are you here?”) The campaign is based around serious issues of affordability, viability, gentrification, overdevelopment and consumerism, but gussied up in the trappings of raucous performance art.

“Politics is a very conservative, gestural play,” Billy tells me over cider at his dining room table. Within those parameters, there are a limited number of moves to make, like kissing babies. “Why not break open the theater a little bit?” he asked me. “Why not?”

3 Comment

  • It’s easy to dismiss a campaign that has the look of self-promoting parody. When you open it up though– it’s a huge mistake. 95% of what Billy advocates is EXACTLY what this city needs WAY WAY more of. Hoory for this heroic campaign. Let’s hope he gets enough votes to get someone’s attention.

  • A long and worthwhile piece, kind of a definitive piece on the Rev. Really good, thanks.

  • Excellent piece. I agree with the first commentator. It can seem like an ackward marriage until you actually discover the depth and value of the Reverend’s vision and policy directions. I think he’s done a great service by putting this together and showing how an integrated message can be delivered–even without hairdo’s and choirs. May it bring benefit to the future and influence future candidates! Thanks for putting this out there.