Just When So Many of Us Thought We Found a True Hero in Politics, What a Letdown
A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted August 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Yes I know. At least some of you may be asking why is a news site that should be focused on issues in Niagara, Ontario posting a commentary on the Governor of New York State for.
Well here is the reason why?
Back last year, when a COVID-19 pandemic that would ultimately take the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and Canadians – more that died in two World Wars combined – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo held daily public briefings that were so inspiring, they went viral across his country, and across Canada and other countries around the world.
At these briefings, Cuomo soared to prominence as one political leader who inspired us to do whatever we could to fight this killer plague in the name of the common good, and who was putting into practice plans to turn around the health and economic damage.
Those briefings were so well received that I remember many in Niagara, Ontario saying they wished we had more of that kind of leadership in Canada and I have to admit, I often felt that way too.
I also recall people on the Canadian side of the border saying at the time that they hoped our American friends would support Cuomo if he decided to make a run against Trump for the U.S. presidency.
Cuomo was so celebrated in his own country during the early months of the pandemic that he achieved something most celebrity figures can only wish for. In May of 2020, he was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
Then, like the mythical character Icarus, with his wings of feathers and wax flying too close to the sun, it all came crashing down.
A number of months ago it was learned that he played a shell game with figures that would have more accurately reported the high number of people dying from C)VID-19 in New York State’s long-term care homes.
Then it was learned that a book he released at the end of last year, trumpeting his efforts in the war on the virus, was written with at least a little help from staff, paid for by New York State taxpayers.
And week, there was a bombshell report that broke through any bunker Cuomo had left to shelter him – a report from New York State Attorney General Letitia James, describing in detail several cases of sexual abuses committed against women working for or around him.
The report is so damning that it has drawn calls for his resignation among fellow Democrats, up to and including U.S. President Joe Biden.
How deflating all of this is. What a bloody shame.
We all know that there is a good deal of distrust and cynicism out there when it comes to politics and politicians, and in this age of social media, it has gotten far worse.
Yet for at least some of us, there is still this yearning in our hearts for profiles of truth, courage and decency in politics, and Cuomo seemed to fill that bill, just one year ago.
As I said, the loss of public trust in our elected leaders and our systems of government is bad enough.
This episode just feeds on that lost trust and, most disturbingly, offers con artists and populists like Trump more ammunition to tear down the only democratic institutions we have to protect us from autocratic rule.
One of the messages here is that our elected leaders, whether it be Cuomo, or some of our municipal councillors in Niagara who trade Nazi salutes, as two Niagara area mayors did four years ago at a public meeting, or more recently, a Niagara area mayor and regional councillor who places comments about a resident’s menstrual cycle on twitter, have an extra responsibility to conduct themselves in a responsible way.
Some of them like to argue, if they get caught in conduct that is out of line or reprehensible, that they have the right to express themselves too.
Yes, but if you choose to run for public office, you also have a responsibility to conduct yourselves in ways that set a good example for the rest of the community.
If that is too much for you, then resign, which is why so many across New York State are calling for their governor’s resignation now.
For those looking for some real leadership in politics, you really let us down Sir.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
To review a CNN report on the sexual abuse allegations against New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, as cited in a New York Attorney General investigation, click on – https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/03/politics/andrew-cuomo-new-york-report/index.html .
NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.