Monday, January 15, 2007

Something's Rotten In Detroit

Last night, I was up for hours; sleepless. Among the pressing and stupid thoughts that kept my brain spinning, out of control and refusing to shut down, was that I would never be able to vote for a black man (or woman) for President. This wasn’t some sort of ideological realization, simply one of practicality.

To get there, though, I have to bring you along to what brought me to that conclusion. My father’s car was stolen almost a month ago. A week before Christmas, my dad stopped over for a short visit, and parked his car in my driveway. An hour later, when he left, it was gone. Car thefts and Detroit go together like Vernors and vanilla ice cream, so although it was exceedingly annoying, it wasn’t very surprising. I drove my dad to the police station, because in Detroit, you must go to them (aside- I’ve had a half-hearted daydream about someone calling to report their car stolen, and upon learning that they must now drive to the station to make a report, the distraught citizen responds– "I’d LIKE to, but, you see, my car was STOLEN"). Anyway, we reported the car stolen, and were informed that they would call my father when they found his car; and find it they would, we were assured. Eventually, and in disrepair.

They found his car last week. Missing a door (probably the reason the car was stolen) and it’s tires, and generally a mess. It is apparently fixable. Happy ending? Well, not so much. Because my dad had to pay about $900 to get his car back from the city of Detroit. It had been "impounded", so there was the initial tow fee, the "storage" fee, and the "delivery to the gate" fee at the impound lot. PLUS, he got a letter from the State of Michigan that he had some sort of legal issue to deal with because he had "abandoned" his car on the streets of Detroit.

All this, for a car that had been reported stolen within an hour of it’s disappearance. For a car with a Vinn number on it’s windshield, that could have been rekindled with it’s owner within hours of being "found."

Now, I suppose this happens in many cities. Stupid bureaucracy. But, in Detroit, it’s epidemic, and I have no hope of it ever changing. No one is ever held accountable in the City of Detroit. And, this is where I come to why I can’t ever vote for a black leader.

Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor of the City of Detroit, was elected initially because he was young, black, and had his mother to make all the right connections for him. He hasn’t shown any leadership, or had any great ideas. He got busted for charging things on the City’s credit card. But, none of this mattered, because he rolled out a campaign stating that we needed to reelect Kwame, because he was "our" boy. His challenger wasn’t black. Oops, I mean, he was black, just not black enough. He certainly wasn’t a "hip hop" mayor.

In a climate in which someone must be "black" enough, why would it be wrong for a "white" person to refuse to vote for anyone who wasn’t white enough? Bush, he’s "our" boy! The racial double-standard in politics is disgusting and dangerous.

But, even worse, is the lack of accountability of black leaders. Marion Barry. William Jefferson. Alcee Hasting. And don’t bother pointing out white leaders with spots on their record, because the difference is that the white guys got kicked out of office, while these three clowns got reelected. By their black constituency, who are always willing to give a guy another chance (if they are black). And, their stay in power with the complete backing of the Black Caucus.

In addition, once a city "goes black" – like Detroit, there is never-ever- ever the chance that a white guy or gal can ever get elected to anything. Not to City Council, not as a representative, and not as a Mayor. A white person would even have a hard time getting on the Board of Education. Because, black racism is the acceptable form of racism, because (apparently) it doesn’t exist. It can’t exist, they say, because blacks do not hold power, and racism can only occur when one has power over another. Except, of course, in Detroit, where blacks do hold all the power. And racism is rampant.

Because of this racism, blacks do not hold their black leaders responsible for anything. Or, at least, not a majority of black voters. In Detroit, they are happy to let a do-nothing Mayor continue-on, while the city disintegrates as long as the guy, is black. Rampant crime? Horrible schools? Decaying neighborhoods? As long as the black man is in power (in City Council, on the school boards, in the Mayor’s office, as the Police Chief, and as State Representatives), everything is OK.

Finally, the part where I explain why I’ll never vote for a black President of the United States; because there is absolutely no chance that a conservative black individual will EVER reach an elected position of power. Certainly not in any of the traditionally black cities. If a black man or woman has even a whiff of conservatism about him, he or she gets branded an Uncle Tom. "Black" politics can only be liberal Democrat. I suppose, in the end, this is a minor point. But, hey, it was the middle of the night.