There was a man many years ago who led a city through unprecedented tragedy and despair. He rallied, he led, and he literally willed this great city to recover and rebuild and to regain its spirit after being punched in the face by unimaginable evil. In the process, he gained the admiration of many.
Many years passed, others took his place to lead this great city, and we didn’t hear much from this man. In most of our minds, his image remained frozen in time. When we thought of him, we saw a man in a FDNY hat with a mask to protect him from the toxins, or standing next to a President surrounded by destruction, a declaration that we are together, we are one, we will rebuild.
As our lives went on and the city regained its rightful place as the greatest city on earth, the man reappeared; an older, more slouched version, but still recognizable. Except now there was something noticeably different.
He returned to the public eye not as a leader or to rally the masses but rather as a supporter and enabler of a shady, corrupt friend, and fellow resident of this great city. His words didn’t bring us together, rather they pulled us apart.
Gone was the man who shared a common goal with those around him. He was replaced by someone willing to publicly spread lies, plant seeds of doubt where there was none, and put forth conspiracy theories long ago proven to be exactly that. Still, he persisted with his new mission of defending the indefensible.
One day this man will pass away, as all of us inevitably will. But now instead of remembering someone who led a great city, we will see an incoherent, delusional, destructive force. He will no longer be viewed as credible in any sense. He will be viewed as someone motivated not by rebuilding but by tearing down.
What a shame.