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Andrew Cuomo And The Black Political Class – OpEd

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Black politicians shamelessly rallied to Cuomo, ridiculously comparing him to Emmett Till and the Central Park Five, in hopes that he will dispense patronage their way if he remains in office.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo led a charmed political life, benefitting from connections and name recognition as the son of Mario Cuomo. He married a Kennedy and served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Bill Clinton administration. Along the way he made the right connections and was able to raise the requisite $30 million needed to make a credible run for governor in New York. He won election three times and was expected to run again.

Now Cuomo’s luck may have run out after multiple allegations of sexual harassment and improper conduct have been made public. Far from being the hero of New York’s COVID-19 crisis in 2020 he actually contributed to the deaths of thousands of people. In a time of crisis he continued his petty dislike for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and refused to heed his advice on shutting down the city sooner, a choice which may have cost 17,500 lives .

Not only did his feud get in the way of sound policy decisions but it was later revealed that Cuomo allowed COVID-19 infected patients to be sent to nursing homes , where they infected other patients and staff. Other states made the same decision but Cuomo also worked with the nursing home lobby to absolve them of legal liability. Cuomo also directed his staff to lie and claim there were 10,000 COVID related nursing home deaths when there were actually 15,000.

While editorials and other politicians call for Cuomo to resign there is one group that has been quite vocal in supporting him. Black politicians, clergy and so-called civil rights leaders have rallied to his side and disparaged any efforts to dislodge him or to face impeachment by the state legislature. They have deliberately emphasized the sexual harassment allegations and downplayed the issue of death and double dealing with nursing home and hospital lobbies. They know that many people are wary about judging issues of personal behavior so they downplay the serious issue of death and conflicts of interest which would be of greater concern if they were given attention.

It was sad to see Cuomo hold a vaccine event at a Harlem church where preachers, politicians, and other “leaders” out did one another in expressing support  and ignoring what may be criminality. New York NAACP president Hazel Dukes referred to Cuomo as her son and added for emphasis, “He ain’t white.” Former congressman Charles Rangel saw fit to be only slightly less embarrassing when he compared Cuomo to the plight of someone who was facing unfair treatment. “You go to your family, you go to your friends because you know they will be with you.” 

Rangel and Dukes were not even among the worst of the Cuomo defenders. A leaked recording  of an Assembly meeting revealed that one black lawmaker compared Cuomo to the exonerated Central Park Five, who spent years in jail for a crime they didn’t commit. Another compared him to Emmett Till as they falsely claimed that impeachment would deprive him of due process.

There are black political leaders who have called on Cuomo to resign, but there is no other community in the state that is represented by people so willing to debase themselves for so little. Cuomo can never again expect to have rich New Yorkers and corporate interests bankroll  campaign war chests that have made him the top fundraiser among all governors in the country. He has outlived his usefulness and at best can hope to remain in office for the rest of this term.

Of course there is a method to the Negro leadership madness. Cuomo refuses to resign and the state Assembly is divided about beginning impeachment proceedings. That means he still has goodies to distribute and perhaps two more budget cycles to dispense patronage. The misleaders know a sugar daddy when they see one and don’t care about deaths in nursing homes or the hospitals serving poor New Yorkers that Cuomo continues to close.

The Urban League’s Marc Morial was among those at the shameful Harlem lovefest. New York state is funding a $240 million Urban League Empowerment Complex. That simple fact explains the open hustling and preening before the cameras. Other communities can treat Cuomo as the corrupt and ruthless bully that he has always been. As a young man he was said to be his father’s “hatchet man” and he has lived up to that name ever since.

But the misleaders are out for themselves. The webs of connection go back decades and end with the same result. The community is sold out so that the political class can pretend to represent their interests while always making sure to do well for themselves. They would never turn their backs on a sitting governor, no matter how many laws he may have broken.

After the politicos and their friends in the non-profit industrial complex publicly humiliated themselves for Cuomo, a new revelation emerged. While New York was becoming the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020 tests were few and far between but not for anyone named Cuomo. The governor secured tests for his brother, CNN anchorman Chris Cuomo, and other relatives, in violation of state law. The misleaders would surely defend Cuomo again and make up nonsense about false accusations and comparisons to Black lynching victims. Such is the sad state of Black America.

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR (http://www.blackagendareport.com), and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.

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