Kevin Powell Likes Demeaning Teenagers **Exclusive**
Yesterday, Kevin Powell did something that really, really upset me. So much so that I felt obligated to put my thoughts in the blogosphere. So, here is the deal ...
Imagine if you will, Brooklyn, August 13, 2008 ...
A couple Towns campaign volunteers are going door-to-door, canvassing the neighborhood. As it happens, they cross paths with rival candidate and former "Real World" contestant Kevin Powell.
Kevin Powell, as we know, is running to unseat 13-time incumbent Congressman Ed "Marlboro Man" Towns in the Brooklyn 10th Congressional District. Powell bills himself as a social activist and author, but most people recognize him as the hot-headed roommate from the original series of MTV's "The Real World" (1992), and for his 2006 failed bid against Towns.
So, back to the teenage volunteers ...
As anyone that's worked in politics can tell you, door-to-door canvassing is just about the most tediuous, thankless, yet vitally important activity any campaign can do (maybe a step below the phone bank and folding mailers). Even in the age of social media and email , if you don't go door-to-door, you're out-of-touch with the people. And clearly Kevin Powell realizes that, hence why he was doing the exact same thing, at the same time, in the same place.
I won't get into the gory details. Luckily, the Powell Campaign has posted a play-by-play on their official website. I encourage you to check it out: http://www.kevinpowellforcongress.org/featured_blogs2/2008/08/13/i-got-a-story-to-tell
Okay - maybe just some highlights (mind you, from Kevin Powell's personal blog):
1. "After an exchange of pleasantries, the women confessed to us that they were not familiar with Ed Towns, would work for anyone who would pay them and even offered tips to Kevin and me regarding lit dropping and campaigning... "
2. "Inevitably we crossed paths several times with the two young women and observed them transposing the name of the current congressman when speaking to residents, arguing over the amount of time wasted speaking to residents and talking about after work extracurricular activities that I hope the current congressman (or any law abiding citizen) would not endorse."
Wow, what a great story!
Look, Powell even captured the moment on film for posterity:
So, what does this all mean?
I personally think it tells you something about Kevin Powell as a man.
Here we have Candidate Kevin Powell actually deriding two motivated young campaign volunteers, actually mocking their contribution to the Ed Towns campaign.
C'mon, let's face it. The majority of teens who get involved in politics do it for one of four (4) reasons:
1. They are overly-idealistic and someday want to work in politics
2. They are doing it as a favor to a family friend
3. They are doing it to earn a little bit of cash
4. They are doing it because it looks good on the resume and may help with college applications
I mean, which of us hasn't taken a job just for the money? Or done something just to put it on the resume? Or sometimes, even done something out of idealism? And how often have all of these motivations swirled together?
Fact is, politics is about incentives. So regardless of their motivation, these young women are out there helping get the word out, reminding people that democracy is important (something people on Georgia are dying for at the hands of Russia right now).
Frankly, I applaud any young person who would rather be out there working hard, making a little money rather than being out drinking, loitering at malls, getting into fights or otherwise getting into trouble. But no! Instead, they are out spreading the word for Towns, making a little scratch (hopefully for them), and getting something they can use for college apps. Maybe even a free t-shirt to boot!
And what does Kevin Powell do?
Does he try to convince them they are backing the wrong horse?
Does he win them over with his ideas, so they switch shirts right then and there??
He calls them out on the internet!
To the entire world!
Kevin Powell crucifies two young, impressionable campaign workers to the world!
Kevin Powell attacks them and questions their motivation and integrity. Kevin Powell decides to mock them and to pass judgements on their "after work extracurricular activities."
Kevin Powell decides to make them a proxy for the level of service that folks in Brooklyn can expect from Congressman Ed Towns.
Man, Kevin Powell is a disgrace. A real disgrace to score political points by attacking two young women just out to spread the word and make a little money for movie tickets and shopping.
And what has he scored, in the end? Well, let's do a quick accounting ...
Kevin Powell has probably gotten them in hot water with the Towns campaign. Kevin Powell has probably jeopardized their getting the recommendation from Towns which could help get them into college. And last but not least, Kevin Powell has probably cost them their jobs.
Way to go Kevin!
Way to be a professional in the face of challenges!
I hope this isn't part of your job creation plan in the borough, to get people fired ...
Okay, let's get serious ...
Kevin Powell has run an unprofessional campaign from day one. He has not delivered on promises at fundrasiers (Dave Chapelle, anyone); he has been culturally insensitive (telling Orthodox Jews he will "Bring Home the Bacon"); he is belligerent with the press (see his Junior's fiasco); he has a history of violence (threatening female roommates on the "Real World;" beating former girlfriends; biting - BITING - other men in nightclubs in 2004); and his platform is paper thin as is.
I mean, look at the picture that he gloats over in his blog, with the Towns campaign worker.
Jesus Christ almighty, what a shit-eating grin! That just shows how arrogant and pompous Kevin Powell really is. Okay guy, you scored your point and you even have a photo to prove it. You could have at least just had a normal smile on your face? It would have at least let you carry a sense of dignity and grace about the matter. But, no, that is not Kevin Powell's style, to take the high road. If he isn't shoving someone into the mud, it isn't worth it.
Then again, given Powell's history with women, maybe this is just how he like to treat women in general. He enjoys being in power over them, he enjoys talking down to them and demeaning them, getting them in trouble.
And now he takes to mocking teenage campaign volunteers.
And you know what makes it worse?
The Powell Campaign has their own teenage online wunderkind - one Mr. Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein - the self-proclaimed "Internet Director" of Powell for Congress. Michael is apparently a resident of Los Angeles (which last I checked does not lie within the 10th Congressional District), and his only connection to Brooklyn I can see is his association with Powell (although he does have a broader connection to NY as he is apparently attending the ivy-magnet of Columbia).
Michael is another young, impressionable teenage volunteer - he claims he has "not received a penny from Kevin Powell" - who is involved "because I really believe that we need to clean up Washington" (see: http://www.r8ny.com/blog/gatemouth/a_salute_to_michael_sptizer_rubenstein_really.html).
Anyway, Michael had the dubious distinction of getting into an online tussle with Rock Hackshaw and Gatemouth over on r8ny.com (see: http://www.r8ny.com/blog/gatemouth/a_salute_to_michael_sptizer_rubenstein_really.html).
I won't go into details. Needless to say, Michael made the cardinal mistake of making the campaign about him, not about the candidate.
Bad move, Michael. The folks online didn't take too kindly to that, and eventually, like a mother breaking up a fight between her son and a net-borhood bully, a woman identifying herself as the Campaign Manager for "Powell for Congress" - Erica Perkins - waded into the argument.
And, what did she have to say? I will quote verbatim from her posting for the readers:
Something happens when young people come of age, have an opinion and start making choices: you are no longer told by elders "you can do anything you want" or "you can be whatever you want." Nope. SOME elders attempt to remove and stomp that last bit of glimmer in your eye because their hearts have been hardened ... Michael, keep doing the right thing. You will prosper in all that you partake.
Wait, so Erica Perkins - Powell's campaign manager - is defending the right of young people to be enthusiastic about the process and to contribute. She is defending the right of Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein from Los angeles to contribute to the Powell campaign.
The candidate - Kevin Powell - is out there mocking Towns's own teenage campaign volunteers. Kevin Powell is making an example of two Brooklyn-based teenage women taking part in the political process.
I think that should give anyone pause over the depths to which the Powell for Congress campaign with stoop. Talk about rank and unabashed hypocrisy at its worst.
Kevin Powell, shame on you. Shame on you for talking down to the locals and attacking teens, making them objects of scorn, for using them in a proxy war with Towns.
Brooklyn deserves better.