As the 109th mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio faces a long road to recovery in the wake and aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
But is he the right person to lead, one who can effectively rise to the occasion and overcome the challenges ahead?
For Alexander Nazaryan, author of The Best People, maybe not.
Nazaryan wrote an interesting opinion piece on The Atlantic, "The Mayor Who Can’t Rise to the Occasion,” where he sums up his thoughts on de Blasio's efforts thus far as NY’s top leader.
Though de Blasio has had some “genuine successes,” he has failed or come up short in a lot of other areas that count the most.
On the positive side, Nazaryan believes that New York is “pretty much the same global metropolis it was when he took over” in 2014.
But in areas in which the democratic mayor has been deeply lacking, de Blasio easily blames his not being able to push the city forward on others like conservatives, capitalists, and newspaper headlines writers, those Nazaryan calls de Blasio’s “legion of enemies.”
It is this legion of enemies that has blocked and obstructed de Blasio’s vision for the city.
Yet leadership is never more apparent than when it is clearly missing. In a week, de Blasio’s actions, words, and inaction pertaining to the coronavirus and COVID-19 shattered his six-year tenure as mayor. New Yorkers are desperate and in need of a real leader, be it de Blasio or someone else, who they can count on for reliable information about the nature of the coronavirus threat and the state’s response to it. Someone who would act as a true authority figure from the start and maximize all resources to protect the public -- not put them in harm's way and advise them to continue their lives as normal, even after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
Embracing normalcy to de Blasio meant wanting to keep the schools open, initially declining to cancel the St. Patrick's Day parade, telling a 311 call center operator who had just returned from Italy that she did not need to self-quarantine, and declaring to a radio host that people who don’t display symptoms can’t transmit the disease -- adding more misinformation to an already chaotic situation.
To top it off, on a Sunday night the New York City government implored that all residents remain in their homes except for essential activities like grocery shopping, medical services, and work, but on Monday morning, de Blasio worked out at his gym in Brooklyn. His decision to go to the gym, a non-essential business, provoked criticism and ridicule. Nazaryan describes the act as “petulant defiance.”
The coronavirus has become our bête noire, a tortuous trauma that has forever changed our lives. Nothing may ever be normal again, especially when family members, loved ones, and friends are dying at an alarming rate from COVID-19.
The City of New York needs a leader with fortitude and foresight, and at the moments when it has mattered the most, de Blasio has proven not to be it. In face, some may actually call him “incompetent.”
(via The Atlantic): Because New York remained prosperous and safe during most of de Blasio’s generally hapless tenure as mayor, his constituents have forgiven the man his shortcomings, whether these involve ethical lapses or embarrassing displays of national ambition. But of the many luxuries the coronavirus has effaced, one is the tacit acceptance of incompetence. New Yorkers no longer have any patience with rhetoric, nor any taste for purposeless fulmination. De Blasio rails against Trump on cable news and it means nothing, because people are dying in Elmhurst and Flatbush. The people need something; they crave it. Maybe it is the thing Aristotle wrote about, or maybe it is something else entirely. Maybe it is a ventilator; maybe it is hope. Whatever it is, Bill de Blasio is simply unable to give it to them.
De Blasio, once a presidential contender, told MSNBC two weeks ago, “He’s [Trump] not acting like a commander in chief, because he doesn’t know now. He should get the hell out of the way.”
As the great leader he claims to be, maybe de Blasio should take his own advice.