By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
"The mayor was a complicated man, and not always a kind one," John Jiler wrote in his 1997 book, Sleeping With the Mayor. "Homelessness was his Waterloo. When he took office in 1978, there was only Skid Row, the timeless cluster of Bowery drunks. Now, ten years later, New York was the Calcutta of the modern world. According to the mayor's enemies, it was all his fault. He had allowed cronies like Harry Helmsley to build their glittering towers with no thought to the dispossessed. The streets were now full of them. Here was a village of fifteen, right outside his windowhis own chickens come home to roost."
Although Hillary Clinton was a no-show at Al Sharpton's birthday party, in the larger African American community hinting that one is even considering not voting for her is taboo. Based on her background as a brilliant Yale Law student, attorney, and chair of the Children's Defense Fund, along with a political agenda seemingly to the left of her husband, the choice between her candidacy and that of former Newt Gingrich deputy Rick Lazio should be a no-brainer for the progressive black voter. But it is that stark contrast between her background and her conduct in the current Senate race that provokes questions for black voters about Mrs. Clinton.
The serious observer watches with profound disquiet as this woman of activist pretensions morphs into a political hack. In her first debate with Lazio, the deference paid to the Jewish electorate was in sharp contrast to the contempt she demonstrated toward issues that are at the top of the black agenda in America. While acknowledging her role in the Jewish movement for restitution of assets stolen during World War II and expressing great pride in the honors accorded her by the World Jewish Congress, Mrs. Clinton's statements about compensation for 400 years of slavery, segregation, discrimination, and dehumanization suffered by African Americans boiled down to a simple forget the past and let's move on.
Mrs. Clinton's tale about how moved she was by a visit to Goree Island is the kind of patronizing claptrap that infuriates any black person possessed of an ability to think critically. Her position on the so-called war on drugs is equally contemptuous. Every thoughtful African American is aware that this "war" is, in reality, a murderous war on black youth, as is evidenced by the proliferation of the slave labor camps we call prisons. The "war on drugs" is part and parcel of the oppression aimed at the destruction of an entire race, both in its conception and in its implementation. During her blackface pulpit appearances, not a word was heard from Mrs. Clinton about the unfair and disproportionate sentencing guidelines that characterize the treatment of black and Latino crackheads, as opposed to the white cocaine junkies.
Perhaps, black New Yorkers will vote for this two-faced political hack, who has taken them for granted on the "lesser of two evils" theory of Negro politics. Don't be fooled! Maybe the time has come to gain respect for ourselves and from our patronizing oppressors in the Democratic Party by withholding our vote and acting, for once in our political lives, on the basis of principle and racial pride.
Additional reporting by Amanda Ward, Louis Clayton Jones, and Associated Press