Congratulations to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. I don't have a problem congratulating him on his win, even though he wasn't my candidate of choice.
The 2011 Chicago mayoral election should be required study for everyone. If you want to know why our young black people are so disenchanted with black leadership, all one has to do is review the lies, deceit, backstabbing and sell-outs that occurred within both the established black political community and the activist community.
Most people who followed politics could read their tea leaves and know that losing the Olympics was the signal that it was time for Mayor Daley to go. The only one who initially planned to take on Daley was Bill "Dock" Walls, who didn't excite the imagination of the voting public. A lot of that had to do with his being labeled a "perennial" candidate - plus he didn't have the money to turn what was perceived to be a negative into a positive. Walls ran too much of his own campaign and thus made decisions that proved to be flawed. But this column isn't about him.
Years ago, Lu Palmer, known as the Godfather of Political Activism, coined the phrase, "It's enough to make a Negro turn Black." That phrase was, and continues to be, used to describe situations where descendants of enslaved Africans would get so angry or see such an injustice that they would start to see themselves as Black (willing to fight the powers that be) as opposed to being a Negro (going along to get along).
The recent elections had me thinking of Lu's signature signoff. And after watching what went on in the black community during this mayoral debacle, the phrase can be updated to: "It turned Blacks into Negroes." I was going to initially go into the entire history of what went on, but to review the entire escapade would create something I could name the "Consensus Black Candidate Comedy Show." To review it in its entirety is to see buffoonery, bamboozling and chicanery all in one. So I'll just do the "highlights."
It started with a "call" meeting, held at Bethel AMC Church on Oct. 16, 2010. When the meeting got started, Eddie Read a protégé of Lu Palmer, asked if there were any journalists in the room. When those folks raised their hands (I didn't), they were gathered together and led out of the room. For some reason, Read didn't want any reporters in the room. To top it off, he didn't want the meeting videotaped. A number of speakers spoke, and then two months later in December (yeah you can tell that they were finding a candidate on CPT Time), the committee announced a consensus candidate in Danny Davis. When a news story did emerge about that meeting, the story labeled them the "The Grass Root Guys." But as I see it, their actual name should have been "The Grass Root Lies."
Now Davis was supposed to be the consensus choice. But during a "historic" radio broadcast (now only historic in that none of them won), the question came up suggesting that two of the three black candidates should drop out of the race so that one could win. Meeks asked the question, Davis didn't have a problem with doing it, and Braun declared she was "in it to win it."
By the end of December 2010, both Meeks and Davis had dropped out the race and Braun was the "consensus" candidate. Thus began a campaign that claimed she had "experience" while acting like an "amateur." Most notably, there was the infamous "crackhead" video exchange. Rewatching the exchange as it was reported by Fox News, the report said TV coverage of the debate wasn't allowed. Yet they got the footage of the ugly exchange via Trinity UCC. Why?
One additional piece of footage I watched showed Braun trying to go to a forum at Rev. Hatch's church while grown men carrying Patricia Watkins signs blocked her entrance. Such poor behavior from people wearing coats that said, "Save Our Sons," while they acted like the very reason our sons need saving. Sad!
I got a number of requests to check out the Soul Slate when they announced their choices. Looking at the people who continue to be selected by that group, it has become obvious that the better terminology is "Sold Slate." If the purpose of that recommendation is to tell black folks who to vote for, why was the consensus candidate (Braun) not the recommendation for mayor? Rather they went with Patricia Watkins. How come? Is it really just money involved in that process?
But what had me almost drive my car off the road was listening to Eddie Read's commentary on WVON 1690-AM. The man who had stood in the pulpit at Bethel AME Church back in October 2010, the man who was hosting meetings all over town to get the community to settle on a single candidate, the man who was tutored in activism by Lu Palmer, announced that he was supporting not the consensus candidate Braun, but newcomer and amateur Patricia Watkins. WTF? After all their talk of Blackness, their Negro came out. I am sure Lu Palmer is reeling in his grave.
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