“If [the people are] given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” – Abraham Lincoln
Every day this health crisis grows more critical. Every day we hear conflicting information. Every day people are dying for lack of medical support, some of which is sitting in a federal government warehouse.
And so begins yet another disorienting week for millions of Americans looking for honesty, compassion and meaningful action from a political leader.
There is such an individual and his name is Andrew Cuomo, governor of the second most populous state in the country, currently the epicenter for the coronavirus. Watching Cuomo at his daily briefing yesterday I thought, this is what leadership looks like, this is what compassion and truth sound like. And when that truth is hard, Cuomo doesn’t softball it.
“You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” Cuomo said, referring to the federal government’s response to his needs. “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000? You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”
Cuomo is an official who has proven that he can be trusted by stating the facts and soberly describing the problem and this problem is massive. In this crisis, his credibility is second only to health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the go-to guy and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci gives us the medical facts.
Cuomo gives us the facts on the ground.
“Look at where we are, today,” Cuomo cautions other states. “You will be here in three weeks!”
Nonetheless, adding to the cacophony of confusion (through blatant political misinformation from those who should know better) some Americans would rather stand by political ideology than stand by experts on immunology.
Governor Cuomo is the calm voice of reason, competence and strength. He serves as a counterpoint to the politicization by some officials in the midst of one of the worst crises facing the world, as well as the United States. And his is not the only voice.
Governors Gavin Newsom of California, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have demonstrated their competence by describing the issue to their residents. Except for medical personal and first responders, citizens in sixteen states are now under a directive by their governors to shelter in place; not just social distancing, but remain in their homes.
Meanwhile, Cuomo has ordered the national guard to convert New York’s Javits convention center into a disaster hospital for coronavirus patients.
“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow,” Lincoln said. “The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
With a medical crisis that threatens to overwhelm hospitals, we are witnessing “the real thing” from New York’s governor.