New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio simply can’t catch a break. Between accusations of power abuse and his ill-recieved decision to keep New York City schools open amidst brutal snowstorms, to say that the newly elected mayor has had a rough first two months would be an understatement. Despite these recent controversies and the fact that de Blasio may have lost some brownie points in the eyes of the masses, criticisms of his character and ability to effectively manage are premature. They amount to nothing more than people looking for something they will never find in public figures: perfection.
For the first four weeks of de Blasio’s tenure, he did a modest job of keeping the peace. He appealed to animal activists by proposing a ban on horse-drawn carriages and catered to the populace by appointing a well-liked police commissioner. Prior to last week, de Blasio had been the picture of likeability. But it was only a matter of time before de Blasio made a decision that didn’t sit well with the city of New York and his popularity started to wane.
It began with his choice to keep city schools open on the morning of a major snowstorm. It continued when de Blasio implied that New York City pre-K programs were more deserving of increased funding than in other schools across the state, an idea that incensed Gov. Andrew Cuomo. De Blasio’s string of questionable decisions reached its tipping point when it was revealed that de Blasio was on the phone with the deputy chief of police prior to his political ally Bishop Orlando Findlayter’s release from jail.
But before we start branding de Blasio as a failure, it is important to remember that de Blasio is still new in his regime. To expect him to have mastered the art of grand-scale leadership overnight and not take any missteps would be nothing short of ridiculous. Surely, there must be some sort of learning curve granted to a person like de Blasio, whose every move has never been scrutinized as closely as it has been since his induction.
With that in mind, I am by no means suggesting that de Blasio should not be held accountable for his actions. He was elected to be an apt and effective leader for one of the most important cities of the world, and if he cannot handle that responsibility, it will affect millions of people’s lives. But, that being said, branding de Blasio as an unremitted failure after just one particularly rough week is undoubtedly irrational.
De Blasio may have stumbled following his quick sprint out of the gate, but that was absolutely to be expected. His actions of late may not exactly be popular ones, but one has to assume that he has only the best interests of the city at heart and hope that his decision-making skills will improve in time. De Blasio is only human: He is entitled to make mistakes, and like each and every one of us, he is not perfect.