Or how do such smart people do such dumb things? Given the age in which Andrew Cuomo has held public office I am hard-pressed to believe that he believes what he is saying. He comes from an area and upbringing where women did what they were told. It was common to whistle at them, common to tease them, common to make comments about their anatomy while they were in ear shot. It was alright if they were smart just as long as they knew their place. Sound familiar?
It was the odd woman who worked. She was either single or the family needed her income. If she had a job she took the same guff at work as she did at home or on the street. They worked long hours doing hard work, being underpaid for it and got no break from getting dinner on the table and taking care of the kids as if she had been home all day. Whether this was Andrew Cuomo’s household, I do not know. It certainly was his environment. He also had a hot temper, something reserved for men or lower class women. Those woman often suffered physical and or emotional abuse for their outbursts.
Take this package that is the Governor of New York and add power to it. Now we have a witch’s brew. Several of his accusers have said they didn’t feel his comings on to them was about sex. It was part of a power dynamic. It wasn’t about a roll in the hay, it was about control. Rough sex when not consensual, fantasy sex when not consensual like bondage and domination are about power and control.
Now let’s add elective office. You are treated with deference and because you are so “busy” you expect it and demand it, that cup of coffee, a lunch order (“I don’t have my wallet, I’ll pay you back”…maybe), catch-up drinks after work. For a young woman it can be intoxicating. “Hey I want some of that.” So they take it, hang around, and hope some will rub off.. In a way it is worse for the young male interns and assistants. They watch, they hear, they think, “Someday that could be me.” Rarely does it cross their mind that for many of them, if that did in fact become them, their mothers would kill them.
Let’s look at the single man. Clearly we know that the siren song of power is not always resisted by many a “happily married man.” And those not so happily married? Worse yet. So, we turn to the single man and think, “This must be tough.” He probably could have any woman he wants but he’s living in a fish bowl. He can look but not touch. He’s so well known there’s no place to run, no place to hide. What’s a guy to do?”
I don’t exactly know but I can tell you this, a lot of them have it figured out. Let me leave politics for the moment and go to show business. Remember xxxx Lyman? He was Michael Jackson before Michael . Everyone wanted him. He managed to “legally” marry three women in three different states and raise three different families. Of course this was before the internet but still… Books have been written about the affairs of presidents and famous personas. They figure it out. They have a code of conduct with their mistress, and they are surrounded by protection that is sworn to take a bullet for the boss and be as silent on personal matters as the silence coming from the guards at Buckingham Palace. Oh occasionally they screw up. Take Wilbur Mills, in his day, one of the most powerful senators in the legislature. Nothing got proposed about spending or passed about spending without Wilbur Mills; we assume he had some good stuff upstairs. Yet Wilbur Mills was one of the homeliest men imaginable. Some might say this mild mannered power broker was, well, ugly. Who was his mistress? An Argentinean stripped named Fannie Flag, who had her 15 minutes of fame when the two of them, drunk as Roman Lords, ended up a night in the reflection pool in front of the United State Congress.
It comes to a point where reality gives leave to fantasy. You forget that you put your jodhpurs or skirts on the same way as everyone else of your sex. The coat of many colors you wore when you ran for election, suddenly has turned to cashmere. The shoes with the worn soles are replaced with pairs costing hundreds of dollars or more. You look in the mirror and you’re still the same guy who wore that coat, except you are the only one who sees that reflection. Power has gone to your head, or at least to your retina.
“Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” An oldie but goodie and so it seems to be with Gov. Cuomo. Corruption is not necessarily sticking your fingers in the cookie jar or having some contractor fill his hands with money and stick them in yours. It is shredding of morals, ethics, and ideals.
I’m not going to make a call on whether the Governor should resign. I’m not going to make a guess on his re-electability. The odds in the political game are as dicey are they are in Vegas. I am going to say that the abuses that come with power, coupled by environmental training may have cooked his goose. Do I feel sorry for the citizens of NY? No. You push the lever and get who you vote for. Do I feel sorry for those who worked for him? Not really. Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there.” If you are working in a politically charged environment without a road map with off ramps and detours you’re a sap. The Governor’s accusers had choices. They made the wrong ones. As for consequences, let the Attorney General figure those out. Who do I feel sorry for. The embarrassment of the family is beyond cruel and unusual punishment. The worst though is baby brother Chris. I had an older brother who I worshipped. He did me know wrong but when bad things fell to him, I hurt to depths I couldn’t fathom. To to pursue power to the point that you forget family stinks–at least from my perspective.
For happier tomes and tidbits there’s always, “The War of the Itchy Balls and Other Tales From Brooklyn” and Bill can almost officially announce that come June/July his next Magnum Opus (if one can have more than one) will hit the stands under the title, George Washington Didn’t Sleep Here.” Watch this space.