tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN January 6, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EST
th anniversary visiting battlefields and key events. american artifacts to discover what artifacts reveal. history book shelf the presidency, looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders and chief. lectures in history. and our new series real america featuring archival government and educational films. created by the cable tv industry. watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. we take you to manhattan as mourners gather. vice president joe biden was among those who came to pay
mr. president and honorable clinton, distinguished guests and all who have gathered here this morning, we come to this house of worship as members of different faiths and of no faith in order to celebrate the life of this great public servant and child of god, mario cuomo. his life touched countless others from all walks and means of life from all philosophies and religions. his spirit was one of great inclusivity. in that spirit please know that all are welcome here today.
as pastor of this parish i extend condolences to all of you who knew and loved mario, particularly you, matilda, your children, grandchildren and your entire family. our hearts are with you. it is good and right that we gather here in this church st ignatius loyola for this has come a cuomo parish. two of mario's children and families are parishioners. five of his grandchildren have either graduated from or are currently enrolled in our grammar school. and mario has attended here many
times for first holey communions, confirmations and other celebrations. this is for us a family gathering and a celebration of mario's life on earth and his new life with god. and so united together let us pray. all mighty god and father it is our certain faith that your son who died on the cross was raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep. grant that through this mystery your servant mario who has gone to his rest in christ may share in the joy of his resurrection. we ask this through our lord jesus christ your son who lives and reigns with you and the holy
spirit, one god forever and ever. amen. please be seated. and at this time i invite mario's daughter maria cuomo kole to come forward to proclaim our first reading. >> thank you for sharing and celebrating with us this morning. the reading from the book of wisdom. the souls of the just are in the hand of god and no torment shall touch them. they seemed in the view of the foolish to be dead and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us utter destruction but they are in peace.
for if before men indeed they may be punished yet it is their hope full of immortality. chastised a little they shall be greatly blessed because god tried them and found them worthy of himself. as gold in the furnace he proved them and as sack rificial offerings he took them to himself. those who trust in him shall understand truth and the faithful shall abide with him in love. his care is with his elect. the word of the lord. >> thanks be to god. ♪
♪ the lord is my shepherd there is nothing i shall want ♪ ♪ our lord is my shepherd there is nothing i shall want ♪ ♪ lord is my shepherd there is nothing i shall want ♪ ♪ fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose ♪ ♪ near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit ♪ ♪ the lord is my shepherd, there is nothing i shall want ♪
♪ he leads me along the right path, he is true to his name ♪ ♪ if i should walk in the valley of darkness nothing would i fear ♪ ♪ you are there with your crook and your staff ♪ ♪ with ease you give me comfort ♪ ♪ the lord is my shepherd, there is nothing i shall want ♪ ♪ you have prepared a banquet for me in the site of my foes ♪ ♪ my head you have anointed with
oil, my cup is overflowing ♪ ♪ surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life ♪ ♪ in the lord's own house shall i dwell forever and ever ♪ ♪ the lord is my shepherd there is nothing i shall want ♪ our second reading will be proclaimed by margaret cuomo mayer, another daughter of mario.
a reading from the letter of st. paul to the romans. i consider that the sufferings of the present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed to us. for creation awaits the revelation of the children of god. for creation was made subject to futillity and of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of god. we know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now. not only that but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the spirit, we also grown within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. for in hope we were saved. now hope that sees for itself is
when jesus saw the crowds he went up the mountain and after he had sat down his disciples came to him. he began to teach them saying blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted. blessed are the meek for they will inherit the land. blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. blessed are the clean of heart for they will see god. blessed are the peace makers for they will be called children of god. blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven. the gospel of the lord. please be seated. with the great outpouring of love and support that has come to the cuomo family from every part of the nation and the world, it is quite humbling to be the one to address you this
morning. surely there are far more well known speakers who could offer powerful testimony to mario's many accomplishments. but before he died mario himself made it quite clear that as much as possible he wanted a simple, local funeral with minimal fanfare. this has been hard to pull off. but for those who knew him well, his desire comes as no surprise for despite the great successes of his career mario cuomo was fundamentally a humble man. and a man of great faith in god.
honoring his wishes, then, we gather this morning not to hear of his legal or political accomplishment accomplishments, but instead to focus on his faith and to hear a word of hope. the gospel passage that i just read commonly referred to as the beattitudes was by his own admission a favorite of mario's. it captured for him the heart of the christian message, god loves and supports us even in our brokenness and lowliness. and we carry the responsibility to help others in theirs as best
we can. it was this combination of trust in god and commitment to action that made his faith so powerful, so practically applied. of course it was at home that this showed itself primarily. mario was a great family man. 60 years of marriage with you, matilda. five wonderful children margaret, andrew, maria, madeleine and chris. and 14 beautiful grandchildren 13 girls and 1 boy little
mario. he loved you all so very deeply and he, along with your mom led you constantly through word and example, through thick and thin to a family life rooted in christ rooted in catholic education and faith. no one knows better than you, of course, that he was not perfect. no parent is, no family is, but you also know how blessed you are and what a great hole his loss leaves now in your lives. our sympathies are with you.
his love of course was not confined to the home. as one of his daughters told me the other day the cuomos knew that in a way the entire state of new york compromised his family. and they were happy to share him. he touched the hearts of so very many people. and they are mourning his passing. how is this so? because mario cuomo ever communicated a spirit of inclusivity and care, a spirit of decency and uprightness that inspired love and respect. he was blessed with a unique set of gifts, a keen intellect, a
humble spirit, a principled approach to life and a warm heart. in the end, it was not so much the eloquence of his words that spoke to us but the eloquence of his life. and the world is a sadder place today without him. but as sad as we may be those of us who are christian trust that this is not the end. for just as jesus was raised to new life after the pain and the loss on calvary, so, too, are we given new life. this is the word of hope today.
death is not the end of the story, just a point along the way. the end of the story is ever lasting life. the utter conviction that this is so was the driving force of mario's life and his understanding of it was very deeply shaped by theologian. he taught that all of creation is still evolving and that we have a responsibility to help complete god's work while we are still on earth. but when our life is finished, we continue to live in christ. the end point of all creation.
st. paul said it somewhat differently in the passage we heard from the letter to the romans. all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now and we also grown within ourselves as we await the redemption of our bodies. the bottom line for theard, for st. paul and for mario was the great hope that this life is not all there is. so those of us who are christian dare to hope that mario continues to live with god with the saints with his parents and with all who preceded him in
life. and at the end of our journeys we will all be re-united again. this is where we place our trust. so allow me then to end with this prayer composed by theard himself, mario's great mentor in the spiritual life. it is easy to imagine mario praying it with great hope and faith and trust in the lord. when the signs of age begin to mark my body and still more when they touch my mind, when the ill that is to diminish me or carry me off strikes from without or
is born within me, when the painful moment comes in which i suddenly awaken to the fact that i am ill or growing old and above all at that last moment when i feel i am losing hold of myself and am absolutely passive within the hands of the great unknown forces that have formed me in all these dark moments, oh, god, grant that i may understand that it is you provided my faith is strong enough who are painfully parting the fibers of my being in order to penetrate to the very marrow
mikala samantha and kristin to please come forward. i invite everyone to please stand. >> the response to each petition is lord hear our prayer. in baptism our grandfather mario received the light of christ, scatter the darkness now and lead him over the waters of death, we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> he was nourished at the table of the savior. welcome him into the halls of the heavenly banquet. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> many friends and members of each of our families have gone before us and await the kingdom. grant them an ever lasting home
with your son, we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> many people died by violence war and famine each day. show your mercy to those who suffer so unjustly these sins against your love and gather them to the eternal kingdom of peace. we pray to the lord. >> hear our prayer. >> for those who knew and loved our grandfather, see comfort and consolation, heal their pain. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> god, our shelter and our strength, you listen in love to the cry of your people. hear the prayers we offer for all of our departed brothers and sisters. cleanse them of their sins and grant them the fullness of redemption through christ our
♪ you shall speak of foreign lands and all will understand ♪ ♪ you shall see the face of god and then be not afraid ♪ ♪ i go before you always ♪ ♪ come follow me ♪ ♪ and i will give you rest ♪ ♪ if you pass through raging water s waters in the sea you shall not drown ♪ ♪ if you walk amid the burning flames you shall not be harmed ♪
pray brothers and sisters, that my sk nice and yours may be acceptable to god the allmighty father. look favorably on our offerings, o lord so that your departed servant mario may be taken up into glory with your son in whose great mystery of love we are all united. through christ our lord. >> amen. ♪ the lord be with you and with your spirit ♪ ♪ lift up your heart ♪
♪ we lift them up to the lord ♪ ♪ let us give thanks to the lord our god ♪ ♪ it is right and just ♪ >> it is truly right and just. our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks. lord holy father, almighty and eternal god, through christ our lord. in him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned, that those saddened by the certainty of dying might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come. indeed, for your faithful lord, life is changed. not ended. and when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven. with angels and archangels we
all you have created rightly gives you praise. for through your son, our lord jesus christ bit power and working of the holy spirit you give life to all things and make them holy. and you never cease to gather a people to yourself so that from the rising of the sun to its setting, a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name. therefore, o lord, we humbly implore you, by the same spirit, graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to you for consecration. that they may become the body and blood of your son, our lord, jesus christ, at whose command we celebrate these mysteries. for on the night he was betrayed he himself took bread and giving you thanks he said the blessing broke the bread and gave it to his disciples. saying take this, all of you,
and eat of it for this is my body which will be given up for you. in a similar way when supper was ended, he took the chalice and giving you thanks he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples saying take this, all of you, and drink from it. for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant which will be poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. do this in memory of me. ♪ the mystery of faith ♪
♪ when we eat this bread and drink this cup ♪ ♪ we proclaim of death of god ♪ ♪ until you come again ♪ >> therefore o lord as we celebrate the memorial of the saving passion of your son, his wondrous resurrection and ascension into heaven, and as we look forward to his second coming, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice. look, we pray upon the oeblation of your church and by whose death you reconciled us to will to yourself granted us who are nourished by the body and blood of your son and filled with his holy spirit may become one body, one spirit in christ.
may he make of us an eternal offering to you so we may obtain an inheritance with your elect, especially with the most blessed virgin mary, mother of god, with blessed joseph, her spouse, with your blessed apostles and glorious martyrs and with all the saints on whose constant intercession we rely. may this sacrifice of this reconciliation we pray, o lord, advance the peace and salvation of all the world. be pleased to confirm in faith and charity your pilgrim church on earth with your servant francis, our pope, and timothy our bishop, the order of bishops, all the clergy and the entire people you have gained for your own. listen graciously to the prayers of this family whom you have summoned before you. in your compassion, o merciful
father gather to yourself all your children scattered throughout the world. remember especially your servant mario, whom you have called from this world to yourself. grant that he who was united with your son in a death like his may also be one with him in his resurrection. when from the earth he will raise up in the flesh those who have died and transform our lowly body after the pattern of his own glorious body. to our departed brothers and sisters, too, and to all who are pleasing to you at this passing from life, give kind admittance to your kingdom. there we hope to enjoy forever the fullness of your glowy when you will wipe away every tear from our eyes. for seeing you, our god, as you are, we shall be like you for all the ages and praise you
>> at the savior's command and formed by divine teaching we dare to say -- our father who art in heaven hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. >> deliver us lord we pray from every evil. graciously grant peace in our days, that by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress. as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our savior, jesus christ. >> and the power and glory is yours forever and ever. >> lord, jesus christ, who said to your apostles, peace i leave you. my peace i give you.
look not on our sins but on the faith of your church. and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. who live and reign forever and ever. >> amen. >> the peace of the lord be with you always. >> and with you as well. >> let's share with one another a sign of peace. a handshake, a hug, a kiss.
for communion, we invite those seated in the main body of the church to come forward by way of the center of the aisle and return by way of the side aisles. those seated on the far sides, if you would come up by that side aisle and return to your seat that way. please follow the instructions of the ushers. it is the long tradition in the church that only those who are catholic and disposed to receive should present themselves for co- communion. we want everyone to feel welcome. if you're not receivinge inging communion, we still invite you to come forward. you can put your arms across your chest and we will offer you a blessing instead.
♪ the snare of the fowler who never capture you ♪ ♪ and famine will bring you no fear ♪ ♪ under his wings your refuge ♪ ♪ his failthfulness your shield ♪ ♪ and he will raise you up on eagle's wings ♪ ♪ bear you on the breath of dawn make you to shine like the sun ♪ ♪ and hold you in the palm of his hand ♪ ♪ you need not fear the terror of the night ♪ ♪ nor the arrow that fly by
>> let us pray. grant we pray, o lord, that your servant mario, for whom we have celebrateded this sacrament may pass over to a dwelling place of light and peace. through christ our lord. i invite everyone to please be seated. and at this time i invite governor andrew cuomo to come forward to offer his remarks.
>> good afternoon to all of you. first, let me begin to say st. ignatius loyola, we thank them for their courtesy and hospitality, especially father witt and all the co-celebrants. all the grandchildren, five girls defid all odds. the boy was born just before christmas to my brother christopher, and my brother christopher and christine named the boy mario because some people will do anything to earn the praise of their father.
there is no jealousy on my part, however. we want to thank columbia presbyterian for the fantastic care of my father during these difficult months. dr. engel, dr. mora, were extraordinary. the health aides who took care of my father at home from steve crockette to dan o'connor tom, sharon, 24 hours a day, they were magnificent and they made his life much more pleasant and also for the family. his partners he practiced for law 20 years after public servant and he really enjoyed it and it was a beautiful partnership. to his team, no administration, no government works without a team. and my father had a fantastic team. they worked 24 hours a day seven days a week because that's the only way they knew how to work. and pam and mary and mike and
jerry and tony and john howard and john mary ann and my father's third son, who sometimes i think he loved the most, joe, really did an extraordinary job and they did an extraordinary job with his funeral. we want to thank them. i want to thank president clinton for being here and senator clinton. they both meant so much to my father for so long. and we are all so proud not only that you're here but that you are new yorkers. thank you. it's a pleasure to be with you. president obama sent remarks. vice president biden was here last night. senator gillibrand is here, attorney general eric holder, u.s. attorney loretta lynch, soon we hope to be attorney of the united states. loretta, you make us all proud also. mayor bill de blasio, who my
father and i were with the other day. my father was saying that he was the first political supporter for the mayor. and i said to my father, well, actually you were the second. i was tech alleynically the first because i introduced you to bill. to which my father said, well, you were only the hud secretary i was the governor. that doesn't count. sometimes we could be brutally honest. mayor bloomberg, whom my father had tremendous respect for. mayor dinkins who served with my father when the city and state were in a very difficult time and they did an extraordinary job. to my colleagues from the state senator, senator scelose and so many state senators who came from around the state, i thank you very much. speaker sheldon silver, the same thing, we have assembly members
from all across the state mayors, county executives from all across the state. i also thank them for their indulgence of moving the state of the state a few days. it was supposed to be tomorrow. i thank them for the personal indulgence in moving the state of the state. and the literally thousands of new yorkers who showed up yesterday to pay tribute to my father at the wake. it was an amazing outpouring of support. thousands of people standing outside in the cold. my father hadn't been in public service in 20 years. think about that. 20 years. and he had gotten very quiet after public service but people remembered, and they remembered enough to show up 20 years later. people from all walks of life, all parts of the state, who he touched. and it was really an inspiration for all of us. we thank them all very much for
being here. one day when i was at hud, i was talking to my father on the phone. he had given a big speech that day. i had called to ask how it went and how he did it. did he do it from notes? did he do it on cards? did he do it off the cuff? he said, oh no it was a very important speech so he wrote it out and he read every word. he went on to explain his theory which he had explained before that you can't possibly deliver a speech extemporaneously that is as well done as a written speech. he then invoked winston churchill as a proponent of the reading word for word theory of speech-making. now, you must understand the rules of engagement with -- in debate with mario cuomo. invoking an historical figure as a source in this context was not -- was more of a metaphor than a literal interpretation.
it really meant winston churchill could have said or would have said that reading was best. but my father es invoking the gravitas of churchill meant he was truly serious about this point. i explained that i was uncomfortable reading a speech word for word because i needed to see the audience's reaction and then adjust accordingly. you summarily dismissed my point. he said, that's all unnecessary. he said, who cares about what the audience wants to hear. it's not about what they want to hear. it's about what you need to say. and that, my friend, was the essence of mario cuomo. he was not interested in pleasing the audience. not in a speech. not in life. he believed what he believed and
the reactions of the audience or the powers that be or the popularity of his belief was irrelevant to him. mario cuomo was at peace with who he was and how he saw the world. this gave him a great strength and made him anything but a typical politician. but then again, he wasn't really a politician at all. mario cuomo's politics were more a personal belief system. it was who he was. not what he did. in his early life my father was never interested in politics. in general he was disinterested in politicians and the political system. he never studied politics. until his late 30s he was all about becoming a lawyer and building a law practice. but once he became a lawyer he became quickly bored with the corporate practice because fundamentally my father was a humanist. he had strong feelings about
right and wrong based on his religion, his philosophy and his life experiences. he was very concerned with how people were treated. and that was the arena that eventually drew him in. the bridge from law to politics arrived for him when he took on the representation of the homeowners in corona, queens whose homes were being condemned by the city to build a ball field. they were poor working families. they couldn't possibly fight city haul. they were going to lose everything they had, which was their home. and they were frightened and they went to a lawyer named mario cuomo for help and he took on their cause to write the injustice as he saw it. the law combined with his natural skill empowered him to do battle, and he did. central to understanding mario cuomo is the fact that mario
cuomo was from queens. now, for those of you not from new york queens is what they call an outer borough. like brooklyn the bronx staten island. there is no borough referred to as the inner borough. there are only outer boroughs. that's probably the point. there are insiders and outsiders in life, and one defines the other. there are others from the other side of the tracks. there are those from the other side of town. an outer borough is where the working families live, the tradesmen, the civil servants the poor. mario cuomo was the son of italian immigrants who were part of the great unwashed masses who came with great dreams but also came with great needs. who struggled but ultimately succeeded in this society due to the support they received in this great state of new york.
mario cuomo's birthmark from the outer borough was deep and he wore it with pride. he had a natural connection with the outsider looking in. the person fighting for inclusion, the underdog the disenfranchised, the poor. he was always the son of an immigrant. he was always an outsider. and that was his edge. his early days in politics were not awe-inspiring. he had an earlier aborted run for mayor in 1973. in 1974 he lost in a democratic party to mary ann krupsac. he lost to ed koch in. he was elected lieutenant governor to governor kerry. in that campaign i was the campaign manager. we had no opponent.
but it was a win, nonetheless. and after that stretch, we needed one. while it is different now, historically the job of lieutenant governor was not all that taxing. governor david paterson said it best when describing his role as lieutenant governor. david said he would wake up, call the governor. if the governor answered the phone, he would go back to sleep. my father was living in the hotel wellington in albany at the time and i started law school there. we became roommates. the typical schedule was my father would be in albany monday night and tuesday night and he would leave on wednesday during session months. a third roommate was fabian palomino. he was my father's life-long dear friend. they clerked in the court of appeals together. fabian came from a mixed origin. he called himself a heinz 57. part italian part native
american part african-american, part anything else. he was truly a unique man. we would have dinner together on the nights they were in town. my mother would send up care packages so all we had to do was heat up prepared meals. my father insisted that we sample every wine made in the state of new york. we were soon connoisseurs of new york's best wines. fabian, who was a portly fellow at the time, would wear a t-shirt with no sleeves, which stretched over his large belly tighter than a drum skin. he wore boxer shorts with dark dress socks over the calf. i assumed he had chronically cold calf muscles. my father, who was modest and always formal in attire, was perpetually frustrated with fabian's dress. and he would say to fabian why can't you dress for dinner,
fabian? and fabian would say, out of respect for you, i have. he would say, i wore my fancy boxers. and then fabian would say, i dressed out of respect for your position as lieutenant governor and the fact that you're one heart attack away from having a real job. fabian would laugh that hearty laugh and his whole belly would shake. my father, not loving being mokd, would smile slowly. after dinner we would sit on the couch and we would watch television. we would watch a bowl game with the new but it didn't really matter. the function of the tv was just to introduce a topic that they could debate. and they could debate anything. an item on the news or a soap
commercial, it really didn't matter. they debated to debate. they just loved it and they were great at it. eventually the debate invariably turned to politics and government. and i could see my father refining and honing his own personal philosophy. in 1982 my father ran against ed koch for governor. it was the impossible race. it couldn't be won. but my father believed he was ready and he believed he was better suited to be governor than ed koch because he knew the entire state and the issues of the whole state. the pollsters with their charts demonstrating the impossibility of his pursuit were unpersuasive. if my father thought he was fighting the right fight it didn't matter whether he was going to win or lose. it was, quote/unquote, the right thing to do. and there is one rule to live by, which is you always do the
right thing. mario cuomo did not fit neatly into any political category. he believed that government had an affirmative obligation to help the excluded join the mainstream. he believed it was the country's founding premise and that more inclusion made the country a stronger country. better education better health care, economic opportunity more mobility. help the new immigrants progress and made the community stronger. not to invest in the progress of others was a disservice to the whole. he believed in compassion for the sick and the needy. this was also the essence of christianity and jesus' teachings. but there were no giveaways. responsibility and hard work was expected from all. he was not a spend thrift. he was from a culture of physical responsibility. he was an executive. and as a governor, he needed to balance a budget.
he cut taxes and the workforce. when he took office, the top tax rate in new york was 14%. when he left office, the top tax rate was 7%. the state workforce 12 years later was actually smaller than when he took office. mario cuomo intellect actually was all about subtlety and nuance. he was called the great liberal. he resisted the label. his philosophy defined the single label especially in undefined and nebulous one. my father called himself a progressive pragmatist. progressive values but a pragmatic approach. he believe he needed to separate the two components. the goals and the means. his goal was progressive but his means were pragmatic. i told him at the time, it was
too complicated to communicate and no one would understand what he was saying. frankly, i still don't understand what he was saying. but he said he didn't care and that he wouldn't be reduced by the shortcomings of others, including mine. my father was skeptical of the people in the organizations that profited from government to whom government was a business rather than an abovocation. he focused on the product not the process to help the people, the student, the parent, the citizens. the truth is, he didn't love the day-to-day management of the government, the tedium and absurdity of the bureaucracy was mind-numbing for him. neither did he appreciate the political back and forth and posturing with legislature. as governor, he was criticized by the right as the icon for the left. he was criticized by the zealots
on the left because they couldn't match the reality of his government. we commiserated. we called it the curse of the executive. no understanding or appreciation of the economic reality of needing to balance a budget or having to get the votes from a republican senate no matter how pleasant a task that is deemed. at his core, at his best he was a philosophy. and he was a poet. and he was an advocate. and he was a crusader. mario cuomo was the keynote speaker for our better angels. he was there to make the case, to argue, to convince. and in that pursuit he could be a ferocious opponent or a powerful ally. and he was beautiful. a speech never started with
words. it was about the principle the idea and the passion. the righteousness, the injustice. and then came the words, arranged like fine pearls, each chosen for its individual beauty but also placed perfectly fitting just so with the one that came before and the one that followed so that there was a seamless flow, in logic and emotion, leading one ultimately to the inevitable conclusion, which was his conclusion which was the point of the speech in the first place. he was a religious man and his relationship with the church was important and complicated. his famous and influential speech at notre dame was done more for himself, to explain how he separated his personal views from his professional responsibilities. the public official for filling a constitutional responsibility was different but consistent
with laymen following christ's teachings. he believed jesus' teachings could be produced to one word. and the word was love. and love means acceptance and compassion and support to help people to do good. and that's what he wanted government to be. a force for good. his love was not a passive love, but an act of love. not tough love but a strong love. the good fight was a fight for love. and it was a fight he was ready to wage. in many ways my father's view on the church was ahead of its time. he was excited about our new pope francis and his enlightened perspective on katrinaicism with an emphasis on exclusion and understanding. my father thought that pope francis would agree.
that jesus himself was probably from an outer borough. as you heard from father witt, my father loved a french jesuit who modeled dedication to a sustainable community as a way of life. my father was a lincoln scholar, attracted by lincoln's example as government is the pursuit of great principles. he also appreciated that lincoln was the triumph of substance over style. and that his life exemplified the relative isolation of people in power. we were a working class family and we were proud of it. no fancy trips. no country clubs for us. he was the working man's governor. and he remained loyal to the old neighborhood values always. his grandchildren, my children, will speak of grandpa's sweetness. my father always had a
sweetness, but it grew over the years much as a fine wine turns into a brandy. i, however, remember his younger years. and sweetness is not the first word that would come to mind. make no mistake. mario cuomo was a tenacious, competitive, incredibly strong man. he was impatient with the bureaucracy, unrelenting in the face of bigotry and he was really, really, really tough. it would have been malpractice not to be. these battles were for real consequences. and made a difference to real people. and he was also competitive by nature. whether in a campaign, fighting the legislature on a basketball court, you opposed him at his own risk and peril. i have the scars to prove it.
the basketball court remained for him. the one place where he could allow himself to be his fully aggressive self. governors, you see are supposed to comport themselves with a certain dignity and decorum. my father took that very seriously. he always tried to be elegant and a statesman. but the basketball court was the one exception and it was his liberation. we had epic battles, he and i. he hated few things as much as a tim mid opponent on the basketball court because you cheated him of a real contest. i was bigger than my father and i was not intimidated by the fact that he was governor. he couldn't fire me. we played in the state police gym in albany. he liked to play one-on-one because it was the purest form of competition. he was a solid 240 pounds. and fast for a big man.
he would make faces at you. he would taunt you. he would talk constantly in a distracting and maddening banter designed to unnerve you. he would hit you in places the human body did not have anatomical defenses. the issue of calling fouls plagued us. we tried using state troopers as referees. but they were afraid of angering my father. with one wrong call they would wind up in a weigh station somewhere up on the northway. we tried selecting troopers that he didn't know so they could be anonymous. then there could be no fear of retaliation. but the troopers also wanted to be able to wear a gun after one was attacked by my father or myself. i can't recall which now. for making a bad call.
after i left albany, the basketball competition became more institutionalized. my father started a banl league with a number of teams. they had professional referees and any referee disputes would be settled by the league commissioner. and my father served as the league commissioner. at the end of the season, there would be draft selections depending on the results. some people accused my father of hiring state employees only for their basketball talents. he denied that had ever happened. at least let's say it didn't happen often. basketball was my father's outlet and it was always in good humor and always with good sportsmanship, at least by the next day. my father loved to battle the press. they were like the opposing counsel in a courtroom. he thought if they could judge
his actions and communicate that to the public, then he had a right to challenge their facts and their judgment. he was unmoved by his staff's passionate arguments that this was counterproductive. you don't fight with people who buy ink by the barrel. as the old saying goes. my father was undeterred. the crusade was too important to tolerate sloppiness or misinterpretation. the public deserved the truth and the press did not have the right to distort it. certainly not with impunity. he railed against the ivory tower pundits, the reporters with an agenda. he had no problem calling a reporter at 7 a.m. to give them a critique of their article. most often fair to say, the critique was not overly positive. i have evolved and i would never call a reporter at 7 a.m. i wait until at least 9 a.m., which i think is decent.
he also admired journalism done well. and he respected the occupation. jimmy breslin and pete hamel and jack newfelt, and mike, marsha kramer, gay pressman all profound crusaders for justice. he was humbled to be in public service and this disdain for those who demeaned it with scandals or corruption or cheap public relation stunts. it was a position of trust and it deserved to be honored. mario cuomo served 12 years with integrity. you could disagree with mario cuomo over those years, but he never dishonored the state and he never dishonored his position. in his private life he was exactly as he appeared in his public life. he had a 60-year love affair with his wife matilda.
and it was beautiful to watch. this was not a phoney late night tv made for romance. no late night kissing in the park, at least as we knew, but a real life partnership built on respect and love and tolerance, commitment to mario cuomo was sacra sacrasanct. although i look the oldest margaret is actually the oldest and a source of great pride. he beamed when he would say my daughter, the doctor. maria, his artist, ulaltruistic delight. madeline made his proud as a great mother and tenacious attorney. chris, talented and funny. could always make him laugh pep loved his daughters-in-law and
his sons-in law, with whom he had a special relationship. ken sxet howard and brian. they enjoyed a true father and son relationship. it was mutual and they were adored. he had a small group of friends, jimmy breslin, mike, sandy, joe, fabian, were his intimate world. over the years the press would love to give their dime store psychoanalysis of our, quote/unquote, complex father and son relationship, which was all a lot of huey. it is this simple. i was devoted to my father from the time i was 15. joining him in every crusade. my dad was my hero. he was my best
my only regret is i didn't return from washington to help in his 1994 race. whether or not i could have helped, i should have been there. it was the right thing to do. and i didn't do it. i loved winning the governorship more for him than for myself. it was redemption for my father. cuomo was elected governor. the first name was not all that relevant. it was a gift to have him with
us this past election night. the doctors didn't want him to go, but i insisted. bringing him on the stage for one fist pump, holding up his hand i could feel his energy surge. his face brightened. his eyes shined as he gave us that great satisfied smile one more time. he walked off the stage and said, wow, what a crowd that was. it was the best medicine i could provide for mario cuomo. he loved being governor, and he thought that he could do four terms. and he valued that over anything else. he wouldn't trade six more years as governor even for the supreme court. why didn't he run for president people ask. because he didn't want to. that's all. but that's everything to mario cuomo. he was where he thought god
wanted him to be. he was a man of principal of honor, of duty and service and that defined his life. he had simple tastes. no expensive cars no planes, no fancy homes. a weekend meal with family watching a baseball or basketball game with my father's running commentary reading a good book or just talking, but really talking. there was no small talk or super fishalty with mario cuomo. my father never lost his interest in public affairs. we would talk at 5:00 a.m. and he would have read all the newspapers and had his full analysis ready and was ready to tell me everything i did wrong the day before. we would talk about the problems and try to find a way through the maze. he was recently very troubled with what he called the mess in washington. he was concerned about our city. my father's 1984 speech was
called a tale of two cities. he was adamant about pointing out inequities in our society and the division in our society. but the goal was always to unify, never to divide. and the current factions in new york city were very concerning to him. he governed during howard beach and bensonhurst and he knew the racial and class divisions are the new york city fault lines. they say your father never leaves you. if tu listen carefully, you will hear his voice. i believe that's true. but one doesn't need to listen that carefully or be his son to know what mario cuomo would say today. that it's time for this city to come together. it's time to stop the negative energy and to move forward. that the intelligent course, the constructive course, the
responsible course is to learn the lessons from the past tragedies, to identify the necessary reforms to improve our justice system, to have better safety measures for police officers and to move this city forward. that's just what we will do. i promise you that, pop. for mario cuomo, the purpose of life was clear. to help those in need and leave the world a better place. matthew 25, in christianity, to heal the divide, to do justice. it's that simple and yet it's that profound. it's that easy and yet it's that hard. by any measure mario cuomo's voice inspired generations. his government initiatives helped millions live better lives. he left the world a better place than he found it.
his list of accomplishments goes on and on leading opponent of the death penalty it appointing the first african-american and hispanic judge to the court of appeals, the first two females, his liberty score lalship programs, his pioneering child health insurance program leader in aids treatment and research, new york is a better state thanks to mario cuomo. the last few days he was slipping. and i said to him to give him something to look forward to that he needed to stay strong for the inaugural because i wanted him to hold the bible. and he asked in his semi-conscious state which bible? which only mario cuomo would ask. and i said, the king james bible. unless you want a different one.
he said no, king james would be okay for this purpose. i didn't follow up. a few daze later he said to me that he was too weak to hold the bible. but that he would be here, he said, he would be here. the day of the inauguration i stopped at his apartment. i went to his bed. i said, dad, the inauguration is today. do you want to come? you can hold the bible or you don't have to hold the bible. and there was no response. i said, well let me know because there's a second event in buffalo this afternoon and it starts at 4:00. if you change your mind, you can come to buffalo. during that yoof noonafternoon my sister played my inaugural speech for him. he knew the buffalo event was at
4:00. my father passed away at 5:15. he was here. he waited and then he quietly slipped out of the event and he went home. just like he always did, because his job was done. we believe the spirit lives. and i believe my father is not gone and that the spirit is with us. it's in amanda's south, in tess's dance, christopher's laugh and in every good deed i do. i believe my father's spirit lives in the hope of a young boy sitting in a failing public school who can't yet speak the language. his spirit lives in a young girl pregnant and alone and in trouble. his spirit lives in the south bronx and in south jamaica. it lives in all the outsiders
living in the shadow of opportunity and still striving for their chance to join the family of new york. pop, you were right once again and i was wrong. tell winston churchill i now agree. i read every line, pop, word for word, because it's not about what they want to hear, it's about what i wanted to say. and i said it. pop, tell oflsficer ramos and liu we miss them already. tell fabian and uncle frank and grandma and grandpa we love them. i will listen for your voice. pop, you taught us well. you inspired us. we know what we have to do and we will do it. we will make this state a better
>> as we prepare to offer up our final prayers, the family wants you it know how grateful they are for your presence and your support and your great love through this most difficult time. they also would like to let you know that the interment at the cemetery will be a private family affair. so before we go our separate ways let us take leave of our brother mario. may our farewell express our affection for him. may it ease our sadness and