Thursday, November 4, 2021. A beautiful sunny day yesterday in New York with masses of white cumulous clouds passing over, and the temp in the Sun in the mid-50s. By nightfall it dropped into the mid-40s. Cold; heavy jacket and a cap for the head. Autumn in New York.
Yesterday morning, I had the pleasure of seeing our new New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams speak before his campaign staff, supporters and associates after winning the election Tuesday night. I make a point of not discussing party politics on the Diary because with each of us, it’s always a matter of personal opinion — which is the right of all of us.
However, I had been watching the Mayoral race from afar. I’d volunteered and voted in elections over the years. I was first inspired as a college student witnessing a personal campaign experience when John F. Kennedy made a midnight appearance on a cold late November night in 1960 in Lewiston, Maine only days before the Presidential election.
Most of the hundreds attending, having waited in the cold for hours (JFK was about three hours late) were very excited to just witness his presence, but then to be impressed by his youthfulness and authority sealed it. Not a few of us, I’m sure, went away thinking that someday maybe someday they’d like to run for President of the United States. Youth is always game. I’m sure that within a few years or another decade after that such a thought had evaporated and disappeared for almost all.
My emotional investment in elections, particularly the top offices, has lessened measurably since those days of golden youth. I do observe and read about the world, the politics, the financials and the “leadership” daily — like a lot of people who follow those roads in life. I’ve lived long enough to see the Chief Executive accompanied publicly by a couple of Secret Service men, to nowadays when it often seems like hundreds of individuals are guarding the Presidential Self. And for good reason — since power provokes enmity and always has, for good reasons and for bad.
But yesterday morning I watched and heard our Mayor-elect speak for the first time, and it felt like we were witnessing an actual New Day in New York. I was very moved by his presence, his words, his enthusiasm, his common touch and his Common Sense. I was reminded of that night in Lewiston 61 years ago this month (coincidentally, the birth year of our new Mayor). I found myself responding to his enthusiasm by repeating some of his words of wisdom and victory as he spoke. It pleased me also that he is among other things, a man of color, ready to aid and lead all of us of all colors in solving the problems of us humans in these harried times.
I found myself wishing, maybe even believing he could really restore our faith in our city and in each other. After witnessing his ebullience and his public conduct, it seemed that I was seeing indeed a Leader. Maybe a great leader — always a possibility no matter how rare. I tend to think along those lines, and for all of us New Yorkers, everyone of us, I am hoping it is so, and that he will succeed. He’s got what it takes (and he had a great mother, which he related) and he knows whence he came — from where we all came to this moment.
So here’s to our new Mayor; may his presence benefit all of us and our great City of dreams and possibilities.