“And although my eyes were open
They might just as well have been closed.”– Gary Brooker
The news today was simultaneously shocking and expected all at the same time. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation. It will officially take effect in a couple of weeks. His statement came with the usual caveats. He was doing it in the best interests of the state yaddada yaddada yaddada…
For those that haven’t been paying attention, the writing was on the wall when an official investigation revealed that he had sexually harassed a number of women on his staff. Add to that to the scandal over a cover up on deaths in retirement homes and there was really no other direction that this could have gone for Cuomo.
Except, we all know that isn’t true. That’s what makes handicapping this thing so very hard. On the one hand, a resignation is the bare minimum that could have been expected, so praising anyone for the bare minimum seems ghastly. Yet, so many of our current politicians can’t be bothered to do the bare minimum. I suppose it’s the absence of shame.
We begin with the former president and the over twenty women that accused him of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and whatever else falls under that umbrella. We continue with Matt Gaetz and the persistent charges that he recruited underage women to travel and have sex with him.
Then there are the numerous politicians that continue to kill their constituents. Cuomo is definitely responsible for his own decisions. Still, what’s the difference between that and Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis? The difference is that one of them is at least doing the bare minimum to own his shame.
We have seen a shift in American politics. The party of personal responsibility has become the Democrats. Al Franken resigned when he was ambushed by a series of charges. Now, Cuomo has resigned. The Republican party seems incapable of feeling shame. They double down on shame. They project that shame to others. They do everything but accept their own shame.
So, I cannot praise Cuomo for his resignation. I certainly can’t praise him for anything he has done. He deserves his shame and he gets to wear that albatross around his neck for eternity. Yet, we can do the bare minimum and acknowledge him for doing the bare minimum. For many of our politicians, the bare minimum seems insurmountable today.