Friday, March 2, 2007

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

I can't think of a cliché tired enough to describe the recent, tiresome go-round between T. Dianne Bellamy Small and Florence Gatten. Aren't they bored by playing out the nth iteration of Greensboro's wonted racial psychodrama?

I'm having trouble believing that each player doesn't know exactly what she's doing. If both aren't just going after the easy votes in the game of district politics , they're acting precisely as they would if they were playing that game.

TDBS won her district by a small margin in the last election. It's difficult for her to deliver any meaningful change to her district, because the kinds of programs that would help it the most -- more police on the streets, better enforcement of code violations in substandard housing, and big infrastructure and renewal projects -- cost a lot of money and would receive support only from at-large councilmember Yvonne Johnson, District 2 representative Goldie Wells, and maybe District 5 rep Sandy Carmany. That's four votes at best, and you need five to win.

It would take an extraordinary politician to land that 5th vote for such projects, and it might just be a fool's errand even to try. Either way, TDBS seems to have decided not to try, and to have fallen back on the vote-getting techniques that always worked well for Earl Jones. That is, irritate and inflame your fellow councilmembers, and when they react predictably, count on feelings of racial resentment to rally the base.


But when Florence Gatten, who is probably the most experienced and savvy politician on the council, rises to TDBS's bait in a planned and calculated way, that's also deeply disappointing. You have to wonder what she's up to.

She surely knew that the African-American community would rally 'round TDBS, probably solidifying her re-election prospects. Florence also surely knows that calling out TBDS will rally white suburban voters to her flag, and Florence needs those voters, whether she runs again for an at-large council seat or for mayor.

So in terms of electoral politics, both Florence and TDBS are playing out a win-win scenario! -- they'll both probably be re-elected.

The only losers are those of us who are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the racially-inspired political knife-fighting that breaks out here every few months, and who would like to see some great-souled leaders find a way for us to all live together in reasonable harmony.

Thanks so much, ladies!

Update: Similar discussion from Jim Rosenberg, Ed Cone, David Hoggard, Doug Clark, Sue Polinsky, and Fec.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a group called Cross Canadian Ragweed who has a song called "Sick and Tired". Give it a listen.