Friday, December 17, 2010



Yesterday, Reverend and State Senator James Meeks once again inserted his foot in his mouth by saying on WVON, an historically black radio station (The “VON” in WVON stands for “Voice of the Negro,” the name given the station at its inception, long before the term “Negro” acquired its negative connotation.), regarding minority set-asides in city contracts:

The word ‘minority,’ from our standpoint, should mean ‘African-American.’ I don’t think women, Asians, and Hispanics should be able to use that title.”

Leaving aside entirely the merits of minority set-asides and the merit of the government’s deciding who is a minority and who isn’t, this isn’t the kind of thing one says when one is running for mayor of perhaps the most multi-ethnic city in the world. Part of the art (or the flim-flam) of politics is not feeling the need to say what one really thinks on every issue. This is one of the reasons yours truly will never be a politician, let alone a successful politician, but I digress.

I said in my 11/25/10 piece “OPEN THE DOOR, RICHARD!” that if I were Rahm Emanuel, I would most want to run against James Meeks, mostly because Mr. Meeks, regardless of his many merits and his readily apparent qualifications to run our fair city, has made far too many enemies among the city’s various interest groups because of his insistence on not only standing on principle but on leaving no principle unverbalized. This quality was once again on abundant display on WVON.

Most everyone agrees, and, in this case, “everyone” is uncharacteristically right, that if a Black candidate is to make it to the April run-off, two of the three serious Black candidates (Reverend Meeks, Danny Davis, and Carol Moseley Braun) have to drop out of the race. This incident is just the latest evidence for the argument that James Meeks should be the first to go. It is unfortunate when standing on one’s principles is a bar to high public office, but politics is a cockeyed business that has little room for people who consider beliefs more than convenient, and eminently disposable, props to be used on one’s relentless pursuit of self-aggrandizement.

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