Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Larsha Incident

As I'm certain most people are aware by now, a member of the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee, William Larsha, plans to sponsor a resolution that the executive committee back Jake Ford in the upcoming election for Tennessee's 9th District Congressional seat. West Tennessee Liberal and Leftwing Cracker have both written magnificent pieces about it that all should read, and Desi Franklin has written terrific responses in all corners of the blogosphere that should be read as well.

I don't personally know Mr. Larsha. If I've ever met him, I'm unaware of it. All that I have to base an opinion around are the statements of others, and he seems to be almost universally respected. He's an older man who lived through black Americans' struggle for equality, so his perspective is going to be a bit different than mine. He came of age in an era before Dr. King; My parents married a few months after Dr. King died, but I wasn't to become anything other than a vague idea for another four years.

It's hard to blame someone who has survived what Larsha has survived and seen what he has seen for not wanting to surrender what he undoubtedly sees as a sign of black progress.

Does that mean he's right? Not a chance.

My anger when I first heard about the resolution has been replaced by sadness on many levels.

I'm sad that white politicians have been so traditionally unresponsive to the needs of black constituents that some believe only a black candidate is willing to fight for them. I'm sad that as a result of all that, someone with no record to run on is seen as a viable alternative to someone that has a long record of fighting for the oppressed.

I'm also sad for Mr. Larsha, as I think his position is an attempt to roll the clock back to good old days that have long since passed.

A black representative no longer means that blacks have representation. It's been ten long years since the 9th District has been represented by someone that I've seen really take any kind of a stand on behalf of black Americans.

Larsha's resolution is flawed because it is based on the premise that only a black representative will represent the interests of black constituents. If he was thirty years old, I could easily write this off as blatant racism. Larsha remembers the days when that was true.

I sympathize with the man based on that.

But here's the real reason he can't be kicked off of the executive committee for this.



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