Don’t make me come down there.”
Who doesn’t recognize that phrase? Whether you were the kid whose parents were warning you of dire consequences that weren’t entirely clear, or you were the parent trying to keep your kids in line, you’ve heard it.
New York City was given fair warning. When videos of crowds of people, partying together without masks, surfaced on social media, the governor fired back on Twitter.
“Don’t make me come down there,” he wrote alongside a video of happy, heedless New Yorkers. That tweet, for me, cemented Andrew Cuomo’s role as New York’s exasperated dad. He’s led the state through the pandemic with fatherly logic – his goal was to lay out the facts and convince New Yorkers that his plan to try to shut down a pandemic made sense. He wanted voluntary compliance, like any good dad.
“I can’t make millions of New Yorkers do anything,” he has often said, with the awareness that comes from raising teenagers. “They have to agree to go along.”
There are New Yorkers who hate him. They hate that he bosses them around. They hate that he thinks he can tell them what to do. Sounds like a family dynamic to me.
Like any father, Cuomo has had lapses — times he’s lost his cool, vented a little, or times he’s changed his mind or revised his stand. Like a lot of dads, he hasn’t wanted to admit he might have been wrong. He’ll tell you he’s doing his best. He isn’t always right at first. But at least he’s willing to change his mind when he’s wrong.
Sounds like a dad, doesn’t it?
There’s been some good-natured ribbing of his staff, particularly regarding the state’s online dashboard, which never looks as cool or as car-like as he wants. He’s embarrassed his daughters and tried to scare off their boyfriends.
But he’s fiercely protective of his family, both his blood kin and the family of New York. Woe to those who badmouth any of them or don’t give him what he needs to protect them.
And as the rest of a reckless country begins to see the virus come roaring back, get ready. Andrew Cuomo is going to do whatever he believes has to be done to keep the people of his state safe. Not everyone will agree. Some people will scream bloody murder. And he’ll do it anyway. He’ll keep talking, keep telling you the same facts over and over until there’s just no resisting anymore. And you’ll listen. ‘Cause he’ll probably convince you.
Who’s your daddy? It’s the gov.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.