A fallen politician teaches us about power

Michael Guido, News Editor

It may be hard to remember, but close to a year ago, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on top of the world.
As the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the country, Cuomo was the face of the response in his home state, holding daily press conferences that captured the attention of viewers across the country and in the process took credit for handling the pandemic outbreak.
His accomplishments were so lauded in fact that his book “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” was a bestseller when it was released.
However, the coming up was just as quick as the coming down. Criticism of Cuomo first began when it came to light that his administration had undercounted by upward of 50% COVID-19-related deaths at nursing homes in the state, undercutting the notion that the governor’s plan had been the model to follow for COVID-19 public safety.
Then, allegations of sexual harassment came to light, with five women at the time this column was written coming forward to allege that Cuomo had engaged in inappropriate workplace behavior and had made unwanted sexual advances on female staffers.
Things continued to get worse for Cuomo as politicians in Albany lambasted the governor for creating a culture of fear and intimidation both amongst his staff and among members of the General Assembly.
Assemlymember Ron Kim said that the governor had even made a threatening personal call to him; according to Kim, Cuomo used this call to say he would ruin the lawmaker for criticizing him over his handling of the nursing homes during COVID-19.
Other elected officials in Albany have accused Cuomo of similar altercations with threatening undertones.
The fall from grace has truly been a magnificent political spectacle; to see a man who many urged to challenge then candidate Joe Biden at the summer Democratic convention for the presidential nomination and someone who was being considered by now President Biden to be the next attorney general, fall from grace in such rapid time has been unlike any we have seen in American politics recently.
But frankly, it is well-deserving and indicative of the need for one major thing in this country: accountability of power.
Power is a precious thing and every election, we elect individuals who will own that power for a given time with the expectation they will use it responsibly.
History, however, has shown that that has not always been the case and the revelations with New York state’s chief executive are a prime example.
With great power comes great responsibility, and too often politicians abuse that power and are not held accountable for their sins.
In many cases, we simply make excuses depending on what letter is placed next to the person’s name in articles, on TV and on official documents; in order to prevent abuse of power and corruption, we need to get past the partisan groupthink and hold the feet of politicians who have betrayed the public’s trust to the fire.
Whether it be in the case of a Democrat like Cuomo, or a Republican like former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), it is imperative as a citizenry that abuse of power is not tolerated amongst those in positions where power is everything.
Call out shortcomings and corruption when it happens, expect more from public officials and don’t be afraid to move on from a toxic leader.
Let’s treat our democracy and system with the care and respect it deserves.



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