Posts Tagged ‘Culture Wars’

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, apologized for his perceived behavior on Wednesday with a few of his aides. But once bitten, I’m finding it hard to give up on him.

I would ask Great Grandma Ada almost every day, “Did you watch President Cuomo?” With our past-serial-predator Mr T’s disastrous mismanagement of the coronavirus, we liked to pretend that Cuomo was our real president as he faithfully kept New Yorkers up-to-date through one of the biggest public health pandemics in the century. He took on epic proportions, he was handsome and down to earth. I knew very little about his personal life, but then we found out he was single, eureka! Ever the marriage counselor Ada and I had fun fantasizing about the next Mrs Cuomo.

So the feminist in me wants to believe the young women who have lodged sexual harassment allegations against the Governor. But I can’t help feeling like he’s been misunderstood.

First of all, he’s Italian. Bob tells me it’s similar to being Jewish – big extended families, lots of hugging and food all the time. So we have a cultural difference. Would I be happy if an older guy cupped my face and asked for a kiss? That would depend… we all know that guy who could hug just a little too tight and too long. Was this my boss, or my uncle or a friend of Ada’s perhaps? But asking for a kiss in a public place like a wedding does not seem malicious at all. I might turn my cheek for a kiss, or slip right by the face and offer a hug instead. If I felt repelled or cajoled, I’d push him away with a smart remark.

That cupped face picture at the wedding is reminiscent of the 11 year old picture of Al Franken on his comedy USO tour almost cupping (ie not actually touching) a woman’s breasts in her flak jacket for a laugh as she was sleeping. He was caught in the midst of the #MeToo movement and forcibly asked to resign in order to fill his Democratic seat in the Senate. There was NO due process and NO ethics investigation. Don’t forget, his previous job was Comedian! A Progressive pillar was sacrificed, to what end? This is part of his farewell speech to the Senate.

“I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day,” he said, soon after a former Democratic Senate aide accused him of trying to kiss her after his radio show in 2006. “I know there has been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am.”


Maybe seeing is NOT believing. We are being asked to believe what Cuomo’s intentions were… If there’s one piece of Ada’s marriage advice I’ve clung to over the years, it’s that a man doesn’t really know what you’re thinking unless you tell him! We may want him to intuit that we really need a neck rub, but if we don’t actually say this it won’t happen magically. In fact, the clinical term for this is magical thinking. So in the same respect, did Cuomo’s aide just think he wanted a relationship? And is it a crime?

Think back to Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. I was dumbstruck by that investigation; a judge had been talking about porn and asking his clerk for dates constantly. She didn’t need to intuit what he wanted, he was constantly telling her exactly what he wanted sexually. If only Hill, in 1991, had a smart phone in her pocket to record his harassment. That man is now a judge on the Supreme Court. I had debilitating deja vu when the Kavanaugh committee hearings started. And this is where the trouble lies, at the intersection of youth and gender with political power. It’s the age vs time difference.

Thirty years ago things were different. There was no worldwide pandemic for one, and the Bride was twelve years old. She was learning about HIV in health class, and I was trying to empower her fierce, feminist side. She actually wrote a letter to then Senator Biden, asking him to run for President! Biden has a reputation for being “handsy” himself, but in a good way. Let’s not go overboard with our #MeToo sensitivity. We wanted empathy and compassion back in the White House, and we’ve got it. Should we pillory a highly competent, progressive Governor who thought a little flirting with a staffer was innocent? After all, over the years I’ve known a few married couples with big age differences, one friend married her law professor. The NY Governor was lonely, and if these women felt threatened, they should have told him to knock it off. Then go to HR if it continued.

After all, where else would a guy with a pandemic on his plate even meet a woman in lockdown? Let’s not let the GOP or the Pro-T Patriot Party incite another culture war to their advantage. Let the process play out, take a rest.

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