I don’t like piling on, because during his lengthy tenure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo generally showed both style and substance. But: “when the cure’s worse than the disease” is a cliché (regarding the virus, along with criminal justice “reform”) that helps define his tainted legacy. Unfortunately…
Because as the health crisis deepened a year and a half back, what we got was something like coronavirus fascism, including from this well-spoken gent in Albany, among other politicos across the land.
Cuomo’s words and, worse, policies that so impacted the regional economy felt both wan and horrid. For what was mandated not only had a huge effect on many businesses but, more sadly, on people in the millions who kept dancing to each and every tune called from above. Yes, by this governor and his aides in a bubble of sorts, never adequately feeling that indescribable impact on myriad humans both running and working in these concerns. Not to mention on those in nursing or care homes, kept for interminable amounts of time away from their beloved.
Both sectors were tragically afflicted by Cuomo’s dicts. But even a word like “tragic” doesn’t capture the horror of all this. Much better again to say that there were thousands and thousands of individual tragedies endured.
Think of those poor people incarcerated month after month — which is what it amounted to — in these abodes for the aged and ill; And when the weather was fine a summer or fall ago, not even able to go outside, maybe on a one-by-one basis, and at least speak at 20 feet to near and dear.
Who became the enlightened seer on all this? Not any good nurse, I can tell you. Such types would know that many seniors were dying day to day just from broken hearts, while their loved ones were dealing with depression aplenty, too.
Did Andrew “get” this when he should have, or simply hope that people would conveniently forget? Not to mention that dangerously unthought-out idea of his: mingling Covid-afflicted with general nursing home populations! Why did it take so long to cop even a hair to such a lethal move?
Additionally, he showed only brief, grudging gratitude to President Trump’s administration for aiding the state (and its largest city) on the ventilator need that had been signaled to him several years earlier. And for quickly equipping new hospital spaces that were little used, and which might have helped obviate his strategy of sending the virus-stricken back into vulnerable care-home environments. And worse, minimizing (aka undercounting) the resultant number of deaths.
Instead of taking with aisle-crossing realism, what did he do, and well before the harassment probes grabbed center stage? He continued on with polished knocking, also penning a self-righteous book on his driving abilities.
In this state many called him Governor “Como.” I rather like that old ethnic way of not wasting effort by pronouncing it “Cuomo.” But I think some would feel bad conflating such a bromide-proffering politician with the famous crooner.
However the name gets pronounced, this governor’s legacy will indeed remain tarnished, despite how convincing he seemed during the Covid crisis in his TV discourses (pulpits granted him on a lavish basis).
Of course growing ire over “Como’s” responses to the pandemic was part of Western New York culture well before “legacy” became an issue. However, I’m too space-restricted to go at the business end of things (noted above) in a way that beleaguered sector deserves. But one strand that many feel, though not as much as the owners and staff, is what happened to one of this region’s glories, ie, its fine restaurants. Of course there were similar tragedies occurring in Governor Newsom’s California, particularly in Los Angeles or San Francisco, where the demise of this or that hallowed eatery became a regular occurrence. None of which can console those nearer to home, nor all the faithful customers who’d for so long patronized these spots offering dependably good, generous fare.
The “ivory tower” used to be a term reserved for academe, but now applies as well to the offices of detached politicians minting demarches that prove disastrous. Sure, the coronavirus challenge was unprecedented, constituting a truly extenuating circumstance. No question.
And I reiterate: this ex-Governor Cuomo once seemed a rather estimable politician. But maybe he should have chosen a career like advertising.
BB Singer has taught at several area colleges including Niagara University.