Cuomo’s resignation is today’s breaking news. So let’s break it down.
I am a Democrat and lean left. More than lean.
I am of Sicilian descent, generally a huggy culture. Andrew Cuomo is partly of Sicilian descent and partly southern Italian descent. We were raised in similar, if not the same, cultural milieu.
I am seven years older than Mr. Cuomo, so in that same generational spread, but came up even earlier than he.
I am a native of New York State, born and raised.
The Cultural Excuse
I come from the same culture as Mr. Cuomo. But I still know how to conduct myself in the workplace. I did not hug and kiss my bosses or those who have reported to me. I did not run my hands down their back to their butt, feel their muscles or press up against them.
I know how to conduct myself in different settings.
Mr. Cuomo also knows how but didn’t think he had to.
Well, surprise! He did have to.
The Generational Excuse
Coming of age in the late 1960s, I saw a lot of the casually superior and arrogant male attitude that Mr. Cuomo exhibited with his female staff. I was subjected to sexual harassment on the job. And sexual discrimination. At the time we thought it was just the way things were. No one liked it. But those who spoke out got replaced or worse. A boss once ordered me to kiss him. I was in my early 20s but I told him to “F … off.” When I returned from vacation the next month I had been replaced.
But as the years passed and women spoke out, I felt validated by changes in laws to protect women from such behavior. I paid close attention to the Me Too movement. I believe the women. Sure, some have ulterior motives but not all and not even most. I start by believing them because I was in their shoes once, too. They rarely prove me wrong.
Cuomo is a politician, and a LIBERAL one, so he, more than anyone in any other profession, was expected to recognize and behave in accordance with the changes, the PROGRESS, made in the treatment of women in the years since he was a young man. We have had years of headline news on this, if not decades. Many high profile cases. Laws. He is lawyer. So for him to say (disingenuously) that he just didn’t understand? Doesn’t ring true.
Any man with even half a brain would have adapted his behavior to contemporary social mores–not to mention LAWS. He did not. He had been Teflon all his life, likely a result of his father’s influence. (see the links at the end of the post.) He had no reason to expect he would not continue to be bullet-proof. He was, after all, entitled.
Well, not so much.
Walking right into Republican hands
From a political strategy standpoint, any Democratic politician and especially one eyeing the big white house is expected to understand that the venal wing of the Republican party salivates when a big liberal messes up. That it ruins things for the politician (hello, resignation; goodbye White House dream) but it also ruins it for those of us liberal Democrats who want to see progress in our nation. Oh, the glee with which Mr. Cuomo’s resignation must have been met in those corrupt circles.
This was not a plot by Republicans. This was an arrogant, tone deaf elected official who walked right into Republican hands. He did it to himself. And to us.
Mr. Cuomo had a responsibility to keep his behavior in check. And didn’t meet it.
But what about Trump?
“But Trump should be punished first!” That’s not how the system works. It is not chronological. And when so much of a smokescreen has been put up, it’s difficult to get traction on Trump’s charges just yet. I hope that time is coming. But if it doesn’t, it’s because they outpoliticked us.
How did Trump get away with it? That is SUCH a good question. He and his corrupt people have done a fabulous job of recreating history, redefining facts and in general creating a fog of obfuscation. They are masters at it. Lies and deception.
Republicans are incredibly good at the single message drumbeat. Their forces all converge on media and public outlets with the same message and gullible voters believe them. Consider how they are recasting the January 6 insurrection. We know what happened. But they’re saying something else.
On the left, we do a lot of handwringing, and lot of blather about how it isn’t fair –and basically never execute a single strategy. You would think by now we would have learned, but nope. There’s the Squad, the Bernie bots, the traditionalists–we are a divided party by issue. The Republicans capitalize on this, knowing they can divide us and conquer. Which is why we will lose every time. The Republicans get it: one message, lots of messengers. At a seminar four years ago, 60s activist Mark Rudd pointed out how we were focused on “issues” while over the past several decades, Republicans focused on getting power. That’s why they are so effective. We’re still arguing issues while they are limiting voter rights, gerrymandering and lying.
I am not going to waste a minute feeling that Cuomo’s resignation was unfair because Trump is skating through. Unlike Al Franken’s so-called “sins”, Cuomo’s were right now in the Me Too world. Glad he’s gone. Another one bites the dusts.
Yes, Trump needs to face the consequences of his actions. And it has nothing to do with Cuomo.
Lessons to be learned
If you are a powerful man, you will face your comeuppance some day.
And even more important: Democrats, let’s get our act together by taking a lesson from the very effective Republican playbook. It’s all about who has the power. Let’s fight these corrupt “Republicans” and get some.
Live links of interest:
From the 1980s