OH! THOSE BLACK AND HISPANIC ELECTEDS FROM NEW YORK!
I guess it was just too much for me to hope that the quality of black and Hispanic electeds will get better in a post-Obama USA. After all, there was really nothing to base that on. And after years of frustration with the quality emerging from New York, I guess I was just grasping at straws, in hope that we could elect people, who are not only intellectually developed to tackle real issues facing the polity, but also possessive of the moral character and courage to do the right thing when the right time comes.
Look, there are no perfect politicians. In fact there are no perfect human beings anywhere. If we were all perfect, we would have nothing to strive for; so hopefully we keep reaching for the good within, hoping that one day we get to become the best we can be. I know that I am not perfect, but I do strive to be a better human being every day of my adult life. I also try to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them: to me, this is basic; this is fundamental for trying to live a decent life.
And yet, maybe I am being foolish when I cling to the belief that elected officials should be held to the highest standards of intellect, compassion, decency, morality, reason, humanity and academe. I believe that their personal behavior (once elected) has to be taken to higher ground; and that their decorum should be exemplary and inspirational to all (especially our impressionable youth). It’s why I love Barack Obama. I will disagree with him on a few issues (and critique him too) but I could never condemn him on his decorum in public office. He handles himself in an exemplary way on every level of political and sociological analysis. He lends class to the political theater.
If you look at my five years of writing columns on the blogs, or in newspapers, magazines and periodicals all around, you will see one recurring theme. It stands out like any musical motif in the classical genre: morality in public affairs. If you have heard or seen me, on radio, television or on the internet, then you will be aware that I push hard for a higher quality of elected officials (especially amongst black and Hispanics). People who can think and chew gum as they walk straight. People with imagination. People, who can think creatively on their feet, while tap dancing through societal complexities.
I remember being castigated for publicly stating that Bill Clinton should be removed from the presidency, after his behavior during, after and before the “Lewinsky” imbroglio. I wrote a whole column about Eliot Spitzer’s slap on the wrist for chasing pussy over state lines. After all, the “Mann Act” had taken down many for less; and there should be one standard of justice for all: black, white, red, brown, pink or whatever color. I still -to this day- believe that Spitzer should have been indicted.
I have also written extensively about the bad behavior of electeds, and the acquiescence of their colleagues. I have even chastised voters for not being well enough informed to make better choices. I have also admonished mainstream (and alternative) media for abdicating their responsibility to vet electeds and wanabee electeds. I have stressed many times over that we should hold electeds to higher standards. It’s the only way our democracy will work to its full potential in hopes of minimizing corruption and abuse.
Recently I wrote that N.Y Governor David Paterson shouldn’t seek re-election: before this mess got as stink as it is now. I was pounded by a few blacks who just don’t seem to get it. You see, you cannot be convenient in your positions: you must be consistent. If you want to maintain the moral high ground in politics and public affairs, you must be strong enough to call a spade a spade. Too many of our black, Latino and Asian electeds in New York State are cowards. Too many of them suffer the affliction of “low standards”. Too many are corrupt, and too many others are just dumb: PERIOD. (Some whites can be lumped in here too BTW). Too many electeds make too many excuses for their colleagues’ bad behavior while in office.
This past week has highlighted all this. Whenever it is time to take electeds to task for wrongdoings or bad behavior, too many of our electeds suffer from deliberate amnesia. For democrats, the same thing(s) they condemn when republicans are at fault, is the very same thing they will try to justify (or exonerate) from their colleagues in their own political party. It is shameful.
A few persons called me up to say that “they don’t know what side I am on”. They claimed that I seem to condemn black electeds too much. Look, I am not on the black, white or brown side: I am on the side of humanity. I am on the side of civilization (hoping like hell that one of our experiments in government would work fully one of these days). I am for civic sophistication in politics: when something is obviously wrong, then it simply is. We cannot brook bad behavior, no matter what the inconvenience. I am on the side of decency. I am on the side of what is right and not only what is convenient or expedient.
I said Charlie Rangel should also step down from running for re-election; is there any doubt now? So too should Greg Meeks; and Malcolm Smith; and Larry Seabrook; and Hiram Monseratte; and Kevin Parker; and I could go on and on like an Energizer bunny. And by the way, there are many on the white and Hispanic sides of the ledger that need to be gone: PERIOD. They have collectively failed us. And consistently too. Collectively their shit stinks to high heaven. The vast majority of them need to be removed from office. PERIOD!
As our state and city governments totter on the brink of bankruptcy, we need electeds to tackle the hard choices we face, in honest, eager and mature ways. Ostensibly, the current crop of electeds just don’t seem inspire confidence in their ability to do this. I hate having to say this, but it is the way I feel. I will continue to write it as I see it, then I will duck.
And as we watch public schools fail time and again; and as we watch black unemployment go higher and higher like a balloon on helium; and as we watch black-homelessness grow like a muscle on steroids; and as we watch black prison-populations rise like yeast-laden flour; as we watch home foreclosures in the black community soar to record highs; we black activists have a responsibility to educate black voters to the reality that they have been duped too many times. How we go about effectively achieving this goal is the biggest challenge facing the black community. We cannot afford to keep failing in this regard, and we know that black electeds will never help us succeed. Too many of them are vested in this dysfunctional political system, with years and years of seniority that perpetuates the system’s failures. It’s a crying shame. They reap financial rewards while most of the rest of us struggle.
The bigger problem is this: too many of the activist people in influence refuse to do the right thing (and this includes Mr. Al “Sharptongue”Sharpton). No matter how far Al has come (and he has -in a good way too), he still tends to be “racially convenient” too often. Too many District Attorneys refuse to investigate or indict. Too many in the direct know, refuse to come forward with what they know for fact. Too many bureaucrats aid in cover-ups and freeze-ups. Too many union officials with enough clout to strongly influence elections refuse to help defeat some of these sorry electeds. Too many heads of institutions that help garner support and bring media attention to political races, sit on their hands and simply shake their heads in disgust or contempt. Too many fundraisers take on the wrong races and fund the wrong candidates. Too many political consulting firms are driven only by high bankrolls and low ethical standards. Too many people all over the spectrum are too compromised to say or do the right thing. Too many others lack credibility when the time comes to do the right thing.
It’s a fucking epidemic that’s widespread. It is a sickness that’s pervasive throughout the political entities that engage the political system. Too many rich individuals, greedy corporations and narrow-minded special interests dominate the political process. We are in a mess folks. A big friggin mess; and the unions aren’t helping: they just further complicate things.
Look; I am privy to info that most in the public isn’t privy too. I know also, that many in academia, government, media and politics are privy to same (and even much more) info than I have. We all know where a lot of the skeletons are buried. We all know where many of the bodies are buried. We all know who the elected-stiffs are. Most of us are constricted -by many solid factors- from releasing stuff. It’s those who are in positions of influence -who have solid info and refuse to act on it- and abdicate their responsibility, that exacerbate our system of broken government. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to write these columns.
Last Sunday I saw a picture of a bunch of black and Hispanic electeds -who are attempting to rally around Paterson (and Rangel) - who met last Saturday at Sylvia’s in Harlem. It was on Liz Benjamin’s blog (NY Daily News). The ones who didn’t show -for whatever reasons- were conspicuously missing (and rightly so). They were the real heroes in this lamentable saga. The ones that showed up are just pathetic and tragic. And for John Liu to show was for me the last straw with him. He is nothing but a weakling and a friggin coward. I would not support him for mayor. You cannot call for the governor to resign on Friday, and then turn around one day later and sign a letter of support for him. It stinks. If Bill DiBlasio runs for mayor in 2013 I will support him enthusiastically. At least he was correct to qualify his position on Paterson and stick to it. That’s the courage we need in our next mayor.
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