Has the Cuomo Dynasty ended in New York after more than 20 years?
The dynasty cycle began in 1982 with the election of Mario Cuomo, Andrew's father, to the governorship and continued uninterrupted for three terms, or 12 years. The Republican Revolution of 1994 intruded on the dynasty, but Andrew Cuomo reintroduced the family with his election in 2010.
The cycle seems to be ending with the resignation of Andrew Cuomo, effective toward the end of August.
Like many political dynasties, the Cuomos are ending with a major disaster. That disaster may overshadow any accomplishments made during Andrew Cuomo's tenure. The disaster focuses on three scandals: the COVID-19 nursing-home deaths, a multibillion-dollar bridge and sexual harassment.
The harassment scandal proved to be the impropriety that transformed Andrew Cuomo from a questionable member of the Cuomo dynasty to an imploding star, resulting in his resignation as governor of New York.
Sexual harassment refers to behavior characterized by unwelcomed and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situations. Workplace sexual harassment can be verbal, physical or visual.
Sexual assault includes any type of sexual contact or behavior that transpires without the consent of the recipient. The assailant may make every effort to force the recipient to engage in unwanted sexual activity. According to nine of the 11 women who finally spoke out against Cuomo, he engaged in sexual harassment; two of the 11 suggested he also encouraged activities that might be considered attempts at sexual assault.
Cuomo's reported behavior has contradicted both civil law and moral decency. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law; the act made sexual harassment illegal in the workplace. The act protects almost all private and public employees working in companies operating in the United States as well as U.S. companies functioning internationally.
Several state laws, referred to as Fair Employment Practices, also give attention to sexual harassment. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has, since 1964, accumulated a significant body of regulations and guidelines intended to prevent sexual harassment at work.
As regards moral decency, Cuomo's behavior infracts long-established principles of right and wrong; he can expect social condemnation of his sexual harassment and assault from the general public and representatives of various faiths. He has betrayed the morals most individuals use to guide their actions.
The American code of ethics does not support sexual harassment or assault for working people. A professional or on-the-job code of ethics forbids a supervisor or employer to engage in harassment of any person, thereby creating a hostile professional or workplace environment.
Throughout the Holy Bible, God shows His special concern for and His willingness to intervene on behalf of victims. Scripture condemns sexual harassment and assault and categorizes them as unacceptable behavior. It suggests that those individuals who have been victimized deserve comfort and emotional healing. They should be able to enjoy a future free from fear and uncertainty.
Islam does not accept sexual harassment or abuse as normal behavior. In an online article titled "Sexual Abuse, Assault & Harassment: 14 Tips for Imams," Abdul Malik Mujahid states that sexual harassment and assault represent terrible crimes. He admits that such crimes are generally committed against women and says it is the duty of an Iman, the religious leader of a community, to deal with the situation "in a just, firm and proper manner."
Even though Buddhism has not traditionally given much attention to sexual harassment and assault, Buddhist leaders have become aware of such violations and have begun to listen to the abused. The Dalai Lama has admitted that violations have occurred within the Buddhist community.
Sexual harassment and assault should not be ignored but regarded as serious tragedies that demand action. Justice should be administered to everyone who has been mistreated. Emotional comfort and healing that no court can alone provide should be made available.
What should happen to Andrew Cuomo? The New York state Assembly should determine his precise professional future, but he should be impeached and not be allowed to run for public office again.
Franklin T. Burroughs was awarded a Nishan-e-Homayoun by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for his work in the Iranian Ministry of Court and has received certificates of recognition from the California Senate and state Assembly. He is a member of the adjunct faculty of John F. Kennedy University and has served as president of Armstrong University and interim dean of the School of Business at Notre Dame de Namur University. He has taught at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been the managing director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Iran and has served as consultant to the Ford Foundation, UNESCO, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the government of Iran. He has also been visiting scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy. He serves as an English language officer (contractor) with the U.S. Department of State. Dr. Burroughs serves as an international consultant in education, Middle East affairs and cultural diplomacy.
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