And a liar. And a racist. And worse yet, a Republican. And that’s why I love Memphis. People don’t assume they are having a principled argument with someone. They automatically assume that there are mysterious “agendas” normally motivated by race involved.
In the past year I have heard so many accusations of racism or closet-Republicanism, that if I had a dollar for every one of them I’d now be a death-tax banning Republican. Case in point, the judicial endorsements. Say what you want about the proper approach to the endorsements, but why do people automatically assume that just because you differ with them you must have a nefarious motive. It’s been said that the elections committee and some of the voters on the EC spent the night trying to get white Republicans elected and to defeat black Democrats.
That is total and complete BULLSHIT. Some people voted against every single endorsement. White, black, Democrat, Republican, whatever. Others voted for black and whites both all night long. Name me one effing person who only “voted to keep blacks off the slate.” You can’t because there wasn’t one.
Read my last post for a non-conspiracy theory reason for why people voted the way they did. As to the election committee being racist, Republican, or according to the idiot a few blogs over, bribed, please describe which of us you mean? There aren’t that many to chose from. Let’s see… Dwayne Thompson has been working for the local party since before I was born. He brought the old-timer LWC along when he was already established in the party. Do you think he’s a Republican? Norma Lester? I can think of a lot of ways to describe her, but Republican doesn’t rate high up there. Desi Franklin? She is the favorite whipping boy of anonymous posters. She has put in yeoman’s work for the party since elected in every way possible. If she is a mole, than she is a damn good one. Myself? I have voted in every Democratic primary since I turned 18, and put in double digit hours for Democrats or progressive causes every single week in one way or another no matter how many hours I’m working elsewhere. Are Norma Lester, Tara Maxwell, LeaEster Redmond, or Tomeka Hart racist against black people? If so, this town is even stranger than I thought.
I hear over and over again that “white Democrats will not vote for blacks in the county elections.” This is seen as evidence of white racism. Apparently white racists didn’t hear the rumor that A.C. might not be Caucasian. As a white Democrat, let me address that. One, I DO vote for black Democrats. I voted proudly for A.C. Wharton, Joe Young, Reginald Fentress, and others in May. I will vote for all but two of our Democratic nominees in November. “Aha!” You say. “You skipped two. I bet you skipped black candidates, you racist, Republican, you.” I have to admit. You caught me. I’m not going to be voting in the race for sheriff or in Roderic Ford’s race. I WILL not vote for a Democrat that I do not feel is qualified to hold an office. If it makes me racist to vote against unqualified black candidates than I will have to wear that mantle along with no few black friends I have. Please give me one reason to vote for Roderic? If you give me candidates who are running on a name (and one that they don’t really own at that) or who have been indicted or convicted, or who have no qualifications than I ain’t voting for them white, black, brown, or purple doesn’t matter. If Gail Mathes was 24 and had no experience in her race and was hardly campaigning then I wouldn’t be voting for her either.
My party embarrasses me at the local level when that is the best we can come up with. There are talented African American Democrat’s out there. Run them, and I will vote for them with pride. So will other white Democrats. I’m a Democrat for ideals not for jobs. Therefore voting for the party name without ideals does not make sense for me.
Secondly, some black candidates don’t campaign for white votes. Case in point, Del has mentioned to me multiple times that white Democrats wouldn’t vote for Roscoe Dixon but they would for Rita Clark. The assumption was that this is obvious proof of racism. I wasn’t involved in the party for that race, but I was a voter. I got mailings from Rita. I saw her in the neighborhood. She asked me for her vote. I saw her signs around the place. I never saw Roscoe. He never asked me for my vote. Why would I have voted for him? Just like a lot of black Democrats feel that whites just want their votes without supporting black candidates, a lot of whites feel like some in the party are just counting down to the days when all the whites are gone so they don’t have to mess us anymore.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that all this is stupid. Most people were voting what they felt was right last night. If it is so hard to believe that your fellow Democrats can disagree with you and not be out to stab you in the back, then why are we all in the same party? It seems sometimes that people are more concerned with fighting over peanuts then actually winning elections. Personally, I’m inclined to say they can have the peanuts. They’re old and stale anyways.
I love my party. I am a Democrat because I think “we are our brother’s keeper.” I think we’re better off as a whole when we work together. I think one person’s suffering affects all of us. I think we need a living wage, universal health care, better education, a cleaner environment. I also think we need to spend our tax dollars wisely so that we can continue to provide those things to our children and grandchildren. I think the government needs to see all citizens as equals, black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, Christian, Jew, whatever. Does it sound like I’m a Republican?
Ask yourself why you’re a Democrat. Your answer will be different than mine, I’m sure, but it won’t be too far away. Is what we fight over about how best to implement these ideals of why we’re Democrats? Is it about how best to elect candidates who best embody those ideals? If so, great. Let’s fight tooth and nail, reach a decision and implement it. If not, then what the hell is the point.
Looking back over the course of the last year, I can see many hours that were NOT spent on those ideals. I’m not a quitter. I want my party to succeed. If I feel like I’m making a difference than I will work my fingers to the bone. We live in a great city. We truly do. It has the history and assets and potential to be one of the truly stellar cities in America. We also live in a city with debilitating problems. Let’s put away our knives for 6 weeks, win some elections, then look to see if we can do something for those problems to make us really matter.