Mayor Eric Adams, who way back in 2021 positioned himself as a “common–sense Democrat” in a successful mayoral campaign, is now proving that such a position is close to extinction in the age of hyper–partisan politics.
During a Wednesday community meeting in Washington Heights, Adams traded barbs with an elderly constituent over the city’s Rent Guidelines Board approving rent increases, something Adams reportedly supported. This caused the woman to jab her finger at Adams in disapproval, something that the mayor didn’t take too kindly to.
“First, if you’re going to ask a question, don’t point at me and don’t be disrespectful to me,” he said calmly. “I’m the mayor of this city and treat me with the respect that would deserve to be treated. I’m speaking to you as an adult.
“Don’t stand in front like you treated someone that’s on the plantation that you own.”
The exchange between the two quickly went viral, with people across the political spectrum condemning Adams for his inappropriate and insensitive remark. Twitter users decried his remarks, noting that the woman was not being racist or disrespectful in any way, but just passionately disagreeing with a major decision of his.
In an era where politicians from both sides of the aisle are jostling for power and control over policies, with both sides resorting to extreme and degrading tactics to get their way, it’s understandable why Adams’ exchange with the woman would not be judged kindly.
For instance, his suggestion that the elderly woman was somehow a plantation owner was not only unnecessary, but it was also rude, disrespectful, and just plain wrong. No one should be made to feel like their opinion – no matter how heated – is not worthy of consideration.
That isn’t to say that we should not criticize Adams’ decisions — criticism is a vital part of our democracy. But we should criticize Adams’ decisions in a way that is respectful and constructive, and not through name–calling and shaming.
In an age where the politics of personal destruction has become the norm, it’s both saddening and concerning to see a prominent elected official such as Adams resort to such political tactics. For New Yorkers to trust their government, it is essential that elected officials remember the power of their words and remain respectful during political exchanges. Let’s hope Mayor Adams remembers this the next time he finds himself in a similar situation.
.@NYCMayor went off on a woman during his town hall tonight: “I’m the mayor of this city and treat me with the respect that would deserve to be treated. I’m speaking to you as an adult. Don’t stand in front like you treated someone that’s on the plantation that you own.” pic.twitter.com/Qwn8TgYFD1
— Myles Miller (@MylesMill) June 29, 2023