Amidst a recession and against the rigid political order that dominated New York in the early 1980s, Ed Koch managed to pass a landmark bill for New York City prohibiting discrimination by the government based upon sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing, and education. As the former Mayor explains in today’s Big Think interview, the process wasn’t exactly straightforward; it involved a good deal of clever political maneuvering on his part--something we’ll need to see done in Albany if the state is ever to legalize same-sex marriage.
Koch has some other advice for politicians today, particularly for President Obama: get out of Afghanistan. Fighting a war with waning international support and no real prospect of victory will not only severely damage the Democratic Party, it will make him a single-term president.
Koch also reflected on his time as Mayor of New York, explaining the most significant challenges that came with the position as well as his biggest mistake. The quintessential New Yorker also weighs in on what it takes to be a New Yorker—not ten years, as is traditionally prescribed, but 6 months and a faster stride.