The Grinch who stole Thanksgiving

My father, may he rest in peace, would have had a good laugh at Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting gatherings at private residences to ten people since there were 14 children in our family. The Amish in New York state must also be laughing, since many of them have large families including two families in Montgomery County with 19 and 21 children respectively.

Normally, I do not support scofflaws, whether it be mayors who run sanctuary cities or sheriffs who say they will not enforce the SAFE act, but it does seem like it is going too far to ask sheriffs to enforce Cuomo’s grinchy, just before Thanksgiving, executive order limiting gatherings at private residences. Sheriffs Richard Giardino of Fulton County and Michael Zurlo of Saratoga County are among the upstate sheriffs who have said they will not enforce the order. It is simply too much of a burden for sheriff’s departments when many are understaffed to start with and when there are real crimes being committed.

While governors generally are given special powers during emergencies and most of us are okay with that, I do often wonder how extensive those powers are. Does the governor have the power under New York State’s constitution to limit the number of people gathering at a private residence? I don’t know the answer to that. A question of equal concern, however, is where is the New York State assembly and senate? It appears they handed off their responsibilities to the governor back in March and are happy to have him rule the state by executive order. The legislature has had plenty of time to take back the reins of government. I would feel a lot more comfortable about the health of our democracy in New York State if our elected representatives, not just the governor, were making decisions about our physical health.

Hopefully, all of this will be moot in a couple of months, now that we have the good news of not just one but two promising vaccines. Unfortunately, as someone who wants the vaccine, I may have to travel to another state to get it, as President Trump has responded to Cuomo’s expressed doubt about the vaccines and will not ship the them to New York state until Cuomo asks for them.

Apparently Cuomo has the idea that Trump is down in the basement of the White House, mixing batches of vaccine and putting poison in the vaccine destined for New York State. Cuomo sounds like a conspiracy theorist when he says he will not trust the Federal Government’s evaluation of the vaccines stating “New York State will have its own review.”

Even Michael Specter, who thinks Cuomo has done a good job with the covid crisis, writing for the less than conservative New Yorker on November 16, said, “But to ignore any eventual approval made by the Food and Drug Administration, a decision that Cuomo stressed again in an interview with Katy Tur, on MSNBC, immediately after Trump spoke, is worse than dangerous.”

There is nothing political about the vaccines. This can be seen by the way Pfizer and Moderna Therapeutics waited until after the election to announce their vaccines. If they had wanted to give Trump an edge, or if Trump had undue influence on either company, they probably could have announced the vaccines before the election. We need the vaccines here in New York, and we don’t need Cuomo standing in the way of getting them. Nor do the vaccines need to receive a second clearance by the NYS Department of Health. Enough people have died in New York. More people shouldn’t die just because Cuomo doesn’t like Trump. Cuomo needs to humble himself and ask for the vaccines to be sent to New York as soon as possible.

I still don’t buy the lie that Cuomo has handled the covid crisis well. All the good that Cuomo has done was undone by his callous and cruel executive order sending covid positive seniors back into nursing homes. And no matter how you cut it, New York State still has more covid deaths than any other state and more per hundred thousand than any state except New Jersey. While limiting gatherings may reduce the number of covid deaths, so will obtaining the vaccines as soon as possible. Cuomo needs to be more concerned about getting us the needle rather than needling the president. And he needs to be more concerned about protestors running amok without masks than how many law abiding people are sitting down to have Thanksgiving together.

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