Cuomo had repeatedly likened to his state’s battle with coronavirus to climbing a mountain, and here it was—a to-scale model of a steep spike and gradual, sustained decline. The only problem—one that would have occurred to anyone with a sense of propriety—was that the mountain Cuomo produced was composed of dead bodies.
At the risk of sounding overly stern: When more than 32,000 of your fellow citizens have died over the course of a single season, you have not won any sort of “victory.” All you have done is come out the other side of a devastating tragedy. Instead of boasting, you ought to be figuring out what you could have done better so that you can do better in case—God forbid—there is a next time.
But Cuomo wanted to keep spiking the football. Two weeks later, the governor’s office produced a second mountain—this time in the form of an artful poster depicting New York’s experience with the coronavirus as though it was an epic poem with the governor playing the role of Odysseus.
The mountain of dead was back. It was accompanied by a calendar marking out key events in the “111 days of hell” through which New Yorkers slogged. It featured demons blowing the “winds of fear,” the “sea of division”—whatever that is—planeloads of COVID-bearing Europeans the governor routinely blames for seeding his state, President Donald Trump sitting on the edge of a crescent moon downplaying the virus as “just the flu,” and even a self-referential nod to his own extemporaneous diatribes about his daughter’s vexing love life deemed “the boyfriend cliff.”