Thursday, November 10, 2005

More on Kwame's re-election

I read this in today's Detroit Free Press, which kind of confirms what I've posted earlier on Kwame's suprising win against Freeman Hendrix. The article:

DESIREE COOPER: Kilpatrick's win was not really a surprise
November 10, 2005


What happened?

That's the lingering question following Kwame Kilpatrick's "surprise" mayoral victory. Whatever happened, I can tell you one thing: It didn't just happen last night. It happened the day we locked major segments of the black population into intractable poverty, creating a caste that neither participates in mainstream society nor shares its values.

Rule No. 1 for campaigning in Detroit: Not all blacks are black. In order to win here, you've got to resonate with those citizens of what Michigan State University sociologist Carl Taylor calls the "Third City," an urban sub-culture born of poverty and neglect. Taylor is the author of several books about urban culture including "Dangerous Society." "In the Third City, you have citizens, noncitizens -- people who participate in an underground economy, but not in mainstream civic life -- and anticitizens -- people who defy authority and accept criminal activity as normative," said Taylor. "There's a strong identity of 'us' against 'them' -- the white power structure and the black bourgeoisie."

The Third City is held together by common values often at loggerheads with mainstream ones. Citing the hero status of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, "The thug is perceived as the underdog," said Taylor, "I was taught to walk away from a fight. In the Third City, parents are likely to tell kids to never back down -- even to carry a gun. Their biggest resentment is hypocrisy. When major systems fail it only affirms the feeling that everything is rigged to favor whites and the rich." Since the Coleman Young era, Third City voters have set the tone of Detroit politics; this election was no exception. "The mayor did have the advantage among those who were unemployed and under 62 years old," said EPIC/MRA's Ed Sarpolus. "And those areas of the city that were most impoverished solidly voted for the mayor."

Taylor said: "Think about George W. Bush. When he walks into a room, he seeks out the males. He winks and nods at them when he talks. It's similar with Kilpatrick. Many in Detroit feel that, whatever his flaws, he understands them." Mayoral contender Freman Hendrix, however, had a harder time garnering that trust. For example, when Hendrix called for civility during the second debate, he may have sounded statesman-like to some, said Taylor. But for some Detroiters, he sounded like an authority figure talking down to his audience.

Attack the white element
The best way to galvanize the Third City is to demonize a white candidate, even where one doesn't exist. On the street, Kilpatrick supporters referred to Hendrix by his first name, Helmut, a name that betrays his half-Austrian heritage. The Third City factor also colored the perception of election news coverage. Stories about Kilpatrick's abuse of public funds, including leasing a Lincoln Navigator for his wife, were seen as an attempt at election by journalism.

"Every man wants to give his wife the best, so what?" said Brenda Keith, 59. Pershing High School teacher Karanji Kaduma, 28, applauded the mayor for not kow-towing to the media. "The media has so consistently skewed things against us over the years, it can't be a mistake," he said.

What about Jackie Currie?
Why, then, didn't street fighter City Clerk Jackie Currie receive Third City largesse?
Perhaps it was the Rosa Parks factor. Her funeral last week was a marathon of speeches exhorting blacks to remember the hard-won civil rights battles, especially voting rights. Allegations of voter fraud may have prompted Detroiters to surgically remove Currie. If there's one thing we've learned from the state takeover of the Detroit school board: You don't mess with the right to vote. What happened during Tuesday's election? The black bourgeoisie was pitted against the working poor, the darks against the lights, the intellectuals against the street fighters. It might have been a lot of things, but it wasn't a surprise.

With these attitudes, the race baiting, the marxist rhetoric, the acceptance of graft, is it no wonder that this city is going broke? I still think that a financial manager will be appointed by the state to fix up Detroit's finances (i.e. a state appointed receiver who deals with bankrupt cities) before Kwame's term is done - that will be his real leagacy.

1 comment:

MapMaster said...

Reading about Detroit makes me feel a bit petty complaining about living in London, Ontario. At least we don't have Robert Mugabe / Hugo Chavez -style politicking.