For several hours on Sept. 11, New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani stepped in for President George W. Bush to lead a nation faced with tragedy. Flanked by police and fire officials, New York’s emergency response to the terrorist attack’s was highly commendable – a model that all cities should follow. Giuliani proved he is indispensable to New York and the country, and he should continue to serve in that role.
Fewer symbols capture the American dream than New York City. Whether it is the Statue of Liberty, the scrambling markets of the financial district, the sickening yet perennial success of the New York Yankees and the bustle of Broadway, the city encapsulates the American Dream. In just three weeks, Giuliani’s determination and visible strength has kept a city and a symbol for American strength glued together seamlessly, at a time that would ordinarily demonstrate cracks in a foundation.
While the recent past has been an impressive display of will and patriotism, Giuliani’s eight years in office are equally notable. His record speaks for itself: the first mayor to address the United Nations since its first session, a 44 percent reduction in overall crime, a 70 percent murder rate reduction and an additional 170,000 private sector jobs.
But the strong state of New York City is vulnerable. The only defense against this vulnerability is continuity – and who better to keep the city intact than a mayor who transcends politics. Giuliani won his last election by a landslide, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by a five-to-one margin.
Although term limits technically bar Giuliani from seeking a third term as mayor, these restrictions can be altered for extenuating circumstances that call for consistent leadership. While there is no doubt that other qualified candidates exist, New Yorkers clearly want their mayor to stay during a time of healing that could last a substancial amount of time.
Although it would be undemocratic for anyone to circumvent the vote of the New Yorkers, in this situation voters should at least have the opportunity to choose continuity over change, which could ultimately harm the healing process.
If for no other reason, Giuliani should have the opportunity to run for re-election to teach other mayors how to run a city.