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Who Steps Forward?

December 21, 2014

Try to separate yourself from the moment. Try to float above it so you can make some kind of assessment of what needs to be done.

The New York City mayor and police union leader are at odds in the middle of a crisis. This cuts deeply into that special thing that makes New York special: It’s the hardest of hard core places, but in an emergency, in a crisis, we are brothers and sisters all.

That these two guys keep going at it under these circumstances is bad enough. That others, the adults in the room, aren’t calling them to task is worse. It just shows that we’re in a period where we don’t have adults in the room. Ed Koch would have said something. Mario Cuomo would have said something. Cardinal Dolan tried to say something but nobody listened. Al Sharpton is saying something that is not constructive and thankfully nobody is listening.

Again, separating ourselves from the action and issue, we see there really isn’t anyone in charge now. There’s no one who, when they speak, is clear thinking enough and forceful enough to shame people into doing the right thing.

This includes the media, which is both encouraging bad form while also lamenting it. Editors were once figures with extraordinary judgment, but now they just go about searching for ways to keep a story going.

Who steps forward here?

Andrew Cuomo is supposed to be good in a crisis after all those years as HUD Secretary where he rushed to the scene of disaster. He’s had several natural disasters that he handled well over the last four years, but he’s not rushing to the scene of this crisis – even though race relations statewide are on the verge of a meltdown.

Chuck Schumer – you could make the case – is the transcendent political figure in the state. He’s a guy for whom no issue is too small, but many issues are too big. In this regard, he never seems to step forward at moments like this.

Hillary and Bill, for sure, are New Yorkers now, but will they step forward? Not if it doesn’t cut the right way in their positioning for 2016.

As we write this, nobody with the standing to make a difference seems poised to intervene, and it’s a little scary.

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