Bloomberg and the runners walk back their imperial mistake

Even after Mayor Michael Bloomberg relented and canceled the New York City Marathon, it is still confounding to think he held out as long as he did.

It was a delayed obvious decision, delayed by wrong-headedness and Bloomberg’s frequent tilt toward an imperial mayorality. As the New York Times reported:

Behind the scenes, there were also concerns about what the world would see: images of runners so close to neighborhoods that had been battered by the storm, at a time when gasoline remained in short supply and mass transit was still not fully functioning.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Deputy Mayors Howard Wolfson and Patricia E. Harris all argued for calling off the event.

Look, runners will run. I have friends who run “only” 15 miles when they’re sick and should be in bed. They run more obsessively than the post office delivers the mail. But sometimes they have to be hauled in with a bit of reality.

How could the mayor play the tune that, just as after 9/11, the marathon would be a uniting force for New Yorkers? In the case of 9/11, first of all, that was also an arguable call. But at least there was a two-month interval between the event and the race. In this case, the victims and homeless and powerless are still in the process of being rescued and restored.

Tweets are saying that the thousands of runners and the generators and the food should be put to good use in helping people in need. Sounds like a great idea.

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