“We’re idiots, babe. It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.”
– Bob Dylan
At this point, it’s just a matter of time before the murder hornets finish us off.
Over a three-month span, New York City has lost 20,000 residents to a global pandemic and been hit by a wave of looting that hasn’t been seen since the 1977 blackout. Did you ever think the subways would go dark or a curfew would be announced? We’re at new level of difficulty in SimCity – except this is painfully real.
Protesters outraged over the killing of an innocent man by police in Minnesota are the spark to a keg that’s slowly been filling up since Donald Trump moved into the White House more than three years ago. Add a deadly disease and three months of quarantine to the mix, and it’s no surprise that some people are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Stuck in the middle of this is Mayor de Blasio, whose political origin story is rooted in trying to reform the NYPD but now ostensibly is in charge of the department.
Trying to appeal to everyone, and thereby winning over no one, the mayor initially defended the police who plowed two vehicles into protesters in Brooklyn over the weekend. It was a startling image that echoed a horrific moment in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a white supremacist drove his car into protesters in 2017.
“I’m not going to blame officers who were trying to deal with an absolutely impossible situation,’’ said the mayor, who at that moment sounded more like Rudy Giuliani than David Dinkins.
The mayor reversed course on Monday, saying the obvious that unfortunately needed to be said: “There is no situation where a police vehicle should drive into a crowd of New Yorkers or anyone.”
Meanwhile, is anyone else worried about what this all means for flattening the COVID curve?
Having thousands of people travel across the city and gathering in groups and then dispersing to go home is the sort of thing that makes people like Dr. Fauci stay awake at night. There was a lot of understandable finger-wagging at conservative anti-quarantine protesters. So should people get a social-distancing pass just because it’s for a cause that’s more palatable to the average New York liberal?
It would be sad if the legacy of George Floyd’s death in New York City is a bunch of burnt-out stores and a bulging COVID curve. But that’s where leadership comes in. And up until now, there’s been a leadership vacuum from the federal to the local level about guiding us through unrest and helping create meaningful change.
The city that never sleeps is getting a curfew. Let’s hope someone is left to turn the lights back on in the morning.
For more of Bob's columns, visit the NY1 Political Buzz homepage.
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