New York City Mayor Eric Adams chose to honor the legacy of Indian independence by comparing himself to Gandhi, a central figure in India’s struggle to free itself from the violent colonial rule of the United Kingdom.
“I am Gandhi-like,” Adams told a crowd of people during a flag-raising ceremony on Tuesday. “I think like Gandhi. I act like Gandhi. I want to be like Gandhi.”
These comments came after a long section of his speech where he speculated about what Gandhi would be doing if he were still alive today.
“If Gandhi was here today, he would be dealing with homelessness,” Adams said. If that were true, then we also wish Adams was a little more like Gandhi.
As of last month, the number of people sleeping on streets and in subway stations in New York City had increased by 18 percent since the beginning of the year. This number increased even after Adams promised that finding shelter alternatives for unhoused New Yorkers would be a top priority for his administration in 2023. Since coming into office, the mayor has instead prioritized involuntarily hospitalizing homeless people and limiting their stays in shelters to only 60 days.
The comparison is also beyond strange, given Gandhi’s complicated legacy and his overtly racist and sexist personal views. Comparing yourself to Gandhi is also just a really weird thing to do—especially when you’re a former police officer and have boosted pay for New York City Police at the expense of other departments. Real Gandhi-like.