If you seek to understand what lies behind former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's recent rude, rabid, rancid rant, then consider one more R-word: relevance. The man once termed "America's Mayor" in the wake of the September 11, 2001 despicable terrorist attack which took down New York's World Trade Towers knows in his heart of hearts that he is no longer relevant to much of anything in America, or for that matter in the rest of the world either. And such irrelevance does not sit well with Rudy Giuliani, whose ego and hubris have to be among the biggest on this planet.
Consider only the latest well-publicized rant by this frequent-flyer on Talk Radio and TV, whose Thunder on the Right seems to have endeared him to many Republican and Tea Party denizens, and others who prefer to swim in shallow water full of untruths:
"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country."
Rudy is of course correct, that this is a "horrible thing to say" -- but then, why say it at all? And, of course, it is also a totally-untrue thing to say, which merely demeans Rudy Giuliani rather than our President.
However, respecting the truth is not a high priority for the man who has descended from "America's Mayor" to the level of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and all those other purveyors-of-right-wing-trash who also gravely fear irrelevance. To that crew of buffoons, despicable denigration of the President (and of so many other positive factors in America) is their stock-in-trade, as it has also become for Rudy Giuliani.
As a native New Yorker, I have followed the careers of many mayors with great interest. After all, when I was a boy I listened to the legendary Fiorello La Guardia read the Sunday comics over the radio, as I followed along in the paper. I was privileged to meet former NYC Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins at events, while working for a New York-based worldwide securities firm. And I even once respected former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as first an effective prosecutor and then an apparently-competent mayor who had, as it is sometimes put, "the second toughest job in America."
Whatever was left of my respect for Rudy Giuliani lapsed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. When that tragedy occurred, I was working as Hazard Mitigation Consultant to the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management. We did not see the first plane hit the World Trade Towers -- but by the time that second plane flew into that second Tower, we were stationed in the Emergency Operations bunker in the basement of our building on the State Campus in Concord, New Hampshire. We remained down there for several days, just in case more terrorist attacks occurred in New England; and while we were watching and waiting, we all heard Rudy Giuliani's words of inspiration.
It was only much later that I learned that "America's Mayor" had repeatedly rejected requests from New York City authorities for adequate funding for vital emergency management and related activites there, such as the provision of working two-way radios to first responders such as fire, police, and EMTs. The old, often-defective radios which Rudy Giuliani refused to replace, for budget reasons, helped lead to the tragic deaths of many first responders who had no way of knowing that both World Trade Towers were coming down around them.
Rudy Giuliani has never apologized for -- or even admitted -- his failure to make first-rate equipment for first responders a top priority of his mayoralty. Such an admission just might have damaged his dearly-beloved image of himself as "America's Mayor." That self-constructed image seems to be much more important to Rudy than is the truth or the facts. His denigration of President Barack Obama has been virtually continuous and virtually oblivious to any reality-or-fact-check. His dislike of President Obama has become somewhat legendary. But then, that is what happens when a man whose worst fear -- of his own irrelevance -- interacts with his own gigantic ego. Now, "America's Mayor" has turned into "America's Fool." Shame on you, Rudy Giuliani!
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)