Three strikes and you’re out.
This may work only during the game of baseball, but in many other activities, especially politics, you may be able to continue playing after experiencing that many or more strikes before you are out. Let me analyze one case, but before getting into the details I need to describe the playing field.
The country at present is fighting perhaps one of the most challenging wars in our history. It is a war in which every citizen is fighting against an invisible enemy, in which the most vulnerable are the feeble and elderly but, in general, it can strike and kill any individual.
This war is being valiantly fought by our entire population. The commanding “generals” leading the fight are the governors of each state and principal government agencies who are providing advice and recommendations, as directed by the president of the country. The president and the federal agencies set policies to guide the entire country to defend against the enemy. These policies include tactics for fighting the enemy (e.g., the use of face masks, hygiene, social distancing, and limited assembly) and moreover provides funding and all necessary support to protect the population (e.g., vaccines).
The federal government urges governors of all states to follow the federal rules to make sure that the people in their states are protected. Governors depend on the federal government for the supplies of defense mechanisms such as critical equipment and eventually the most critical element: the vaccines.
To fight the war effectively, governors need rapid, transparent information from the federal government so that they can plan their strategies. Also, the federal government must know the needs of each state and that the governors are following directions to coordinate the entire operation.
This war has been upon us for one year, and during this period the federal government has performed its duties in a remarkable way and, in general, has supplied in a timely way equipment and facilities to needed states. And, most impressive, the federal government has led the effort with private industries to develop what is expected to be the weapons that will destroy the enemy — namely, the different vaccines.
The states, following the guidance of the federal government, have with different success rates navigated through this critical period. Now that vaccines are available, everyone hopes that the end of this war is within our reach. Most governors have worked closely with the federal government to protect and safeguard their constituents, but there is apparently evidence of an appalling exception.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of conspiracy and obfuscation of essential reporting to the public.
Count the strikes against him.
First strike, he ordered the transfer of 9,000 recovering patients from hospitals into retirement homes, exposing members of nursing homes to potentially contagious patients. Of the 15,000 retirement home deaths, the possible number due to this move is still not known.
Second strike, he provided false information on the number of deaths by elderly people in retirement homes, while he continually demanded transparency from the federal government.
When questioned, he replied, “All the deaths in the nursing homes and hospitals were always fully, publicly and accurately reported,” but when his state reported the number of deaths related to people in retirement homes, it reported a number almost 80% lower than the actual number (8,500 vs. 15,000).
The reason the state reported the incorrect number was to avoid criticism from the Trump administration.
Perhaps Gov. Cuomo should have remembered that “The buck stops here.”
It does not really matter whether Gov. Cuomo personally directed this subterfuge, or whether it was done by some subordinates. He was the commanding general in charge of protecting his constituents.
Finally, strike three. He has been accused by multiple female employees of sexual harassment.
Unless he has some extraordinary explanation, the general feeling is that he has miserably failed in performing his duties as a governor.
Dante Alighieri in the “Divine Comedy” describes his trip through the inferno (hell), which has nine rings in depth. The eighth ring is where he finds the corrupt politicians immersed in a lake of tar guarded by demons.
Several politicians have been deceiving their constituents. During this critical era in our country Gov. Cuomo may justly belong in the eighth ring.
During the next few months, we will see if the strikes have been effective and the governor is delivered to Dante’s Inferno.
Or was it all just an illusion and a short trip to purgatory will be adequate?
The author lives in Santa Barbara.