Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crabs in a Barrel


Just last night, I watched Street Fight, a documentary of Corey Booker's first mayoral campaign in Newark, NJ in gaping amazement. The shenanigans of the old guard politician and 21-year incumbent mayor, Sharpe James, who Mr. Booker sought to unseat, were absolutely shocking; bordering, if not lapsing into, criminal behavior. (Sharpe James has since been convicted of fraud for activities he undertook as mayor.) Finding "code violations" and shutting down businesses that posted Booker campaign signs, and painting over Booker billboards are just two weapons that were launched from James' arsenal. Complexion-baiting was another. (Check it out from Netflix.) As inspiring as Corey Booker's story and goals were, the antics of the James campaign were even more disspiriting. Just as Jesse Jackson Sr's comments today and Andrew Young's comments a few months ago about Barack Obama, Sharpe James' behavior seemed indicative of civil rights era-politicians' resentment of younger politicians who were perhaps at one time inspired by the trails the older politicians blazed.

Positive news today included the actions of a principled man in North Carolina, presumably white, who refused to fly the flag at half-staff to honor America's former "elected racist number one", Jesse Helms over a state Agricultural division building. L. F. Eason, head of the State' Standards Laboratory, who worked in NC government for 30 years, accepted the Governor's offer that he retire, rather than be fired, due to his stance.

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