New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned, brought low by a New York Attorney General report that found that he had harassed multiple women. His resignation will take effect in 14 days, at which point he will be succeeded by New York’s lieutenant governor. He continues to be investigated by multiple legislative committee and district attorneys.
Only a year after Cuomo was lauded by the news media and social media, and mentioned as a potential presidential candidate as a result of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic–a handling that later gave rise to its own set of questions about Cuomo’s truthfulness and transparency–the formerly defiant, powerful politician has been dethroned, done in by his own wretched excesses and improper conduct. He thought the rules didn’t apply to him, and now he has found that they do. He deserves his sorry fate, and one can only hope that his plummet from the heights to the ashes will serve as a cautionary tale and lesson for other politicians who believe, in their hubris, that they also are bulletproof. One can also hope that his story might cause other people to hesitate before giving unqualified and gushing praise to political figures who might turn out to have feet of clay.
Cuomo’s dizzying fall reminds me of the poignant poem Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley:
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”