Dear Commons Community,
Fighting the coronavirus pandemic has evolved into a major test of governmental leadership. It brings out the best in our leaders and maybe the worst. On Thursday morning, Presidential historian Jon Meacham on MSNBC, was asked about leadership in times of crisis. He responded by quoting Winston Churchill as follows:
“There is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away. The . . . people can face peril or misfortune with fortitude and buoyancy, but they bitterly resent being deceived or finding that those responsible for their affairs are themselves dwelling in a fool’s paradise.” Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, Vol. 3 
Later on Thursday, I watched a press conference with Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York. He has been giving them almost daily. I am thankful that what he says is honest and consistent. He also gives us bitter pills to swallow that hopefully will lead us out of the coronavirus crisis in our state. I accept these pills because I believe him and what he says.
Last night, I watched Donald Trump’s press conference and it was the exact opposite, Everything is going to be “great” even though the United States has now more reported coronavirus cases than any other country in the world and millions of Americans are unemployed. He criticized governors, General Motors and Ford for not doing enough. He attacked news reporters who asked him tough questions. All in all his arrogance, ignorance, and deceptive tendencies were on full display.
I am grateful that I live in New York where our governor is trying hard to navigate us out of this crisis even though we have a president who lives in a “fool’s paradise.”
NOTE: After I made this post, Maureen Dowd had an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled, Let’s ‘Kick Coronavirus’s Ass’ comparing Cuomo and Trump.