This afternoon the Governor’s smile was priceless.
Yes, yes, we are going to go through the numbers and give you the facts, but after all that, we are going to cut a ribbon here, on one big fat present of a project.
They were at La Guardia, ready to open up a new terminal and show all the plans for making an airport ready to bring in the 21st century with style.
“You know who said it couldn’t be done?”
There are all sorts of affirmative actions in the business plan, including the support of female-led businesses. Apparently this is becoming a reasonable priority in investment consideration, female-leadership in business. Who’d have thought? The benefits of collaboration and equality.
We went through a rough 101 days, he says, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. We are building for the future.
The Governor is proud. And he should be proud. Mario and Andre are both up there in heaven smiling.
“Planes are gonna fly. Cars are gonna roll. Trains are gonna move. Life goes on!”
(The Dreams and Reality of a Post-Covid World)
We’re gonna cut a ribbon, he says again. Carpe Momentum. It’s like having a child. All that planning, the excitement, looking at the ultrasounds — then suddenly there it is, indescribable in the moment.
I smile to see the Governor’s fourth child, a new La Guardia Airport. For all my transatlantic and domestic travel, I have actually never visited the postage stamp that is La Guardia. But here we are, or will be, apparently. An affirmative strategy that energizes the economy. That is the goal in New York.
(All the while as Texas spikes a 30% increase in cases, Florida is floundering, and their Governors seem to be looking the other way. Other than young people contracting the virus in restaurants and bars, it appears to be largely affecting the Hispanic populations of laborers all across the US, many of whom who were told they would lose their jobs if they stayed home.)
How do we learn? How do we grow?
Now we are stronger, smarter, better, revitalized.
This is why I continue to listen to the briefings of the Governor. Because I want to learn and grow, and be stronger, smarter, better, revitalized. Because the quality of our mind determines the content of our actions.
He works to maintain his positive momentum, not just for himself, but for the state he calls his home, and the country, and perhaps in a long stretch by extension, this precious planet we call Earth.
We have to be willing to accept change.
Life never goes backwards. The Governor says it again.
I’m going to say that a few more times, as many times as you need to hear it.
Life never goes backwards.
Apparently we have laws about such things. Chokeholds and gunshots to the back. Never shoot a brother while he’s down, don’t you remember that?
Dignity and respect
Unexpected human behavior
People are people. When you think your life is going to be taken from you — that’s a moment that most people don’t ever experience. Lawful but awful. Running down Peachtree Street. The roles and goals of police —which are in first place to protect and serve.
The Warrior Mindset vs the Guardian Mindset : Coffee and guns and donuts; or “Mom Cops,” socialized and professional, making sure you get home alright, keeping law and order.
Like this, we are here; insulated, isolated. Not racist in a traditional sense. It’s structural. Advocating use of force.
(There were options they didn’t decide to use)
Now we are looking at an entirely new universe of human safety where no one with a gun would have shown up at this scene in the first place. Maybe there’s no officer with a gun. Maybe no one gets hurt. We are defunding the police because the system isn’t doing what it is supposed to do. We need to dismantle the Old Boys Club and send those boys to therapy instead, try to help them understand what it is they’re all so angry about, dismantle those insecurity complexes.
I eat my late lunch and celebrate the daily routine. Going to the park. Once again having happy hour with the Governor. I missed a few days in there between Day 100 and Day 108 and it pleases me to return to his voice and presence. Something that seems regular and sane amidst the continual explosive exposure to so much human pain.
“What a pleasure to see all your smiling faces — well, you’re not all smiling,” he says.
It was a long road, says the Governor.
Was. 108 days.
Suddenly it’s all in the past tense. Is this it? Is this my last afternoon with the Governor?
He is talking about the Criminal Justice Industrial Complex. All those taxpayer dollars we could have been using to send inmates to Harvard.
Change doesn’t happens if you just say ”Change.”
Demonstration. Legislation. Reconciliation.
The Reverend Al Sharpton watches over his shoulder as the Governor signs into law The Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act. Once again New York is leading the way in progressive governance.
This is not about rubber bullets or tear gas, he says. This is about making fundamental change to the system. The status quo will rear up to resist change. Don’t expect it to be easy. You have to have the hard conversation. Get it done. Answer the tough questions that will actually bring about change.
How do we want to use force?
(And then to recall the sonata of Simone Weil, the crucial distinction between force and power)
In New York City they did 68,581 tests in one day. Here in Berlin I can hardly find a place to get a test.
Go New York, says the Governor.
Damn straight, I say.
That’s great news.
That’s why I’m such a happy-go-lucky dude.
That’s why I’m a cool dude in a loose mood.
Great Great Great.
Go trace the positive triggers.
See if they lead us to something.
That’s bad news, and that’s good news.
With this information we become smarter.
Today we have the lowest number of hospitalizations since we started.
Compliance and enforcement. These things matter. It’s moral, ethical; and it’s also legal.
This is what we call a “Phased Re-opening,” in which we watch the dials on the dashboard, check the levels and the numbers. This is not a political statement, it is factual. And let me remind you, it is not your right to infect me. It is not your right to place your rights before the health of our shared community. This is a virus. It doesn’t respond to politics. You can’t tweet at it, you have to treat it.
Wake up America.
People in Florida and Texas and Arizona can get on a plane and come to JFK and this could start allllllll over again. Smell the coffee…
And yes, we are considering imposing the same quarantine on your states, as you imposed on ours, way back when we were the ostracized Them, and you were Us. States with high levels of infection may be barred from New York City, just as the European Union is now considering putting the same restrictions on all citizens of the United States of America.
(America, Brazil, Russia. Just the countries with vaguely fascist male leadership who failed to properly address the pandemic and now have correspondingly high levels of coronavirus.)
We return to the Tale of Two Cities. Two Countries, shall we say.
The federal mistake is undeniable, says the Governor.
Or, as put by so concisely by Rachel Maddow: We are not a well-run country right now.
“In our disastrous and still cratering relationships with allies; in our submarining of international institutions that we not only helped to set up but that we have bolstered for decades because they are in our own interests as well as in the interest of world peace and stability; in our inexplicable and troubling relationships with our supposed adversaries; in our basic adherence to things like the impartial rule of law, which is fundamental to our basic self-worth as a nation; in our botched incoherent fatally mismanaged response to largest and deadliest public health disaster in a century; we are poorly run,” she says, shaking her head. “It’s bad.”
Actually, it’s really bad. This is what we call braggadocio. Moving from a unique global power to no longer even capable of governing itself effectively.
Yes, it is a good question. How did we do that so quickly?
The Vice President says the number of tests increase the number of cases.
I don’t even know what that means, says the Governor.
Forget your interpretation of the numbers. The number of people walking into a hospital is going up. People don’t walk into a hospital when they are feeling well.
New York is on the decrease for a solid 60 days. How do you explain that?
Good government and good management and compliance.
There was no preordained path.
There was no preordained curve.
To the extent that the White House lets science speak, they projected this! We just assumed the White House would vote for mitigation, rather than decide to kill a million more people. No, the Governor says, the model wasn’t wrong. He smiles, a small smile. It wasn’t a model. It was an extrapolation. Based upon our actions. Because of what you are doing (or not doing), more people are dying.
What do you say, America, when they tell you 30,000 more people are going to die? Do you keep doing it? Or do you say, I don’t want 30,000 more people to die. This is not rhetorical or hyperbolic. They told you.
The Governor shows us once again a picture of the mountain we climbed together, and says that he wants a power point eulogy when he dies.
I want someone to put this up in my eulogy.
The New York models — which show 18,000 lives lost, rather than 130,000.
We CHANGED what we were doing. That’s how we bent the curve. We changed. And it worked.
What are you going to do America?
The results are in: NY Tough won.
(Meanwhile Texas swaggers into the future like a drunk cowboy trying to find his way home)
The Governor sits up in front of the press corps feeling like a pin cushion, but he’s smiling. Thanking the press, applauding them, all across the state. I’ve been everywhere in this time, he says, because I wanted to be. You’ve done a great service. The totality worked.
59 million of us worldwide were tuning in each day.
Information, Dialogue, Drama, Comfort, Hope
A Plan, A Vision
Empowerment, Trust, Credibility
108 days thus far. A holy number if there every was one.
My deepest respects, he says, and we bow our heads in turn.
I’m a little tired, he says, a little reflective.
But I was talking about you. About us.
Here we have gone a full 180 — if you went to Florida in March you had to quarantine for two weeks. Fast forward 100 days and we are on the other end of the circle. Who would have believed this turn-around?
Aspirational…That’s the scenario I advocate for. That’s what I’m striving for, he says, the theoretical possibility of an ideal new normal.
We made it over the mountain, now why not shoot for the clouds?
Here there thought it was the economy vs. public health, and now you see the Dow Jones sinking like a stone in the water. Maybe they will wise up. They don’t want to see their rich friends get less rich, after all.
What if, What if, What if, What if?
That’s all you ask me.
What if I drop dead tomorrow, then I wouldn’t have to answer these questions.
I won’t do this every day now, but I’m not going anywhere. Been watching that mountain every day. We took that journey together and the journey is over. I hope the journey stays over. I hope there is only one mountain. I am not interested traversing a mountain range.
We needed to tame the beast and we did.
Congratulations. Feel good.
I’m not running for anything. I have one agenda, and that is working for you. I want you to believe me, I want you to believe what I say is true. For the sake of credibility, just to take the politics off the table.
We’re going to be the leading state in the nation on police reform. You watch.
I’m going to stay Governor of New York as long as they’ll have me. Then I’ll go see what’s available in Argentina.
As AJ Parkinson said: You are what you do.