2009 ELECTION RESULTS: or MY CONDOLENCES TO NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, I TRULY MOURN OUR LOSS
By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
It was a stunning close-call for Bill Thompson. If indeed it was a close call. The rumor is that he ‘almost’ made it as the next mayor of New York. In fact, the margins are so close - mere 4% difference, he may well actually be the next mayor of New York. Because of this, I’m holding out for absentee ballots and the military votes. Actually, I think we should both demand a recount (with federal surveillance over the process), and give us an update of how many of the absentee ballots, military ballots and affidavits were for Bill Thompson or Bloomberg. You know, you can't trust the Republicans. Honest and fairplay is definitely not part of their bailey-wick. In fact, I don't think it's even included in their vocabulary.
I was a little non-plussed that Bill Thompson gave his concession speech so early, because, as with Al Gore v. George Bush, it turned out that the counts were called in and victory awarded to Bush prematurely. You all remember this, right? Gore had to rescind his concession to let the process proceed. I'm a believer in it ain't over til it's over; and without those additional votes, it just ain't over.
Call me a dreamer and an optimist, but I still hold out for the outside chance, that phenom that lets you know that let’s you know that miracles do still happen.
In the interim, let’s keep our focus on how we got that close, and what we’ve learned on the way. If we are discontented with the past performance of Mayor Bloomberg, I’m sure that that has not changed, and unless we have a plan B, we are likely to suffer more of the same over the next four years.
So how do we deal with this issue going into 2010? One we have to make sure that the city council speaker is someone who really understands the needs of the constituency and is someone we can trust. Therefore, I’m suggesting, recommending and demanding that either Tish James or Al Vann become the Speaker for the City Council. No more rubber stamping there. No more budgetary boondoggles where our council members are brow beaten by a mean spirited Quinn-like creature.
The next thing is for the different communities to form their own organizations centered around the issues that most affect them, and make sure they pack the community board hearings, Borough hall, and other areas where people are charged with dealing with the community, but turn out to be less that rubber stamps themselves; or just plain clueless and disorganized.
I’ve visited a few Community Board headquarters and some are junky, with papers, cardboard boxes and discards all over the place. The people running them are just bodies occupying spaces, not pro-active individuals doing what is necessary to enhance the community. I recommend a shake-up and a revamping of the community boards; and a blue-print for excellence by which the revamped community boards have to comport themselves by.
In the interim, or simultaneously, we should make a comprehensive list of the issues and concerns and the atrocities we’ve suffered under Bloomberg, with the pledge that he no longer gets to continue in that mode. Now that may mean a body of community activists, it may mean having bull dog lawyers; it may mean developing a relationship with Attorney General Eric Holder’s office to keep these concerns before them, and not buried under the Bloomberg boondoggle.
That’s not easy when you’re trying to figure out where your next job is going to come from, how to pay the rent, whether or not your children are getting good educations; but if we don’t what’s already bad under Bloomberg is guaranteed to get worse.
Now for my New Jersey friends, I really feel sad for you. You’ve got a prosecutor/persecutor for a governor. Been there, done that. Maybe you’ll catch a break like we did and he has to step down before he can do too much damage.
For those of you who have the audacity, temerity and the gall to try to blame Obama for this situation, for those of you who said that we “Black people didn’t elect Obama president, white people did “ as though to say he has no clout, and them to criticize him because he didn’t lead a parade for Bill Thompson in NYC, my response is to say get a grip! And do it fast.
Of course we as Black people didn’t elect Obama by ourselves, but neither did white people. It was a joint effort! This is the United States of America. We still only have one vote, and all the efforts on President Obama’s part, and he did come out for Bill and Corzine. But this is a local election, and the responsibility still boils down to us -- to each individual whose job it was to get inside those booths and pull the lever for them. For those of you who made these critical statements, you need to take those 4 fingers and point them back at yourselves. You also need to renew your dedication to support Obama and those who work with him for you. It means we have to develop a mentality of self-empowerment, rather than constantly griping about who does or does not support us.
Thank God there were not enough of you to stop the march on Selma, AL, or the Montgomery bus boycott; or the March on Washington, or the Million Man March. I guess some of your tribe was around when we were going door to door trying to get Blacks the right to vote in the 60’s. With those kinds of mentalities, I guess thank goodness there were enough of us to counteract some of those invectives I’ve been hearing.
There’s nothing worse than a negative minded Black person, bad mouthing other Black people who are trying to help, under the guise of “telling it like it is” or “keeping it real;” instead of putting the positive spin on it to begin the paradigm shift we need to go forward, not dwell on backward. My problem with "keeping it real" is that we often keep it real negative, keep it real ugly, keep it real stupid. What we don't seem to want to do is to create a new reality. A paradigm shift. Those of us who claim to have ascended from Kings and Queens, have to stop thinking and acting like slaves, puppets, and victims. There has to be some Blackbone in there somewhere, or else our ancestors would all have perished on those ships. It's time to go and reclaim our DNA.
That said, we’ve got Obama, let’s maximize that as much as possible. We came within 4% of defeating Mike Bloomberg; I say let’s get our legal team to make sure the votes were accurately counted; that the absentee ballots and military votes have not been counted; and like Al Franken, don’t concede until they are.
In fact, I think Bill Thompson’s concession must be conditional on what those numbers show, and proof that the machinery used to count the votes were fully functioning, with no glitches.
So while I mourn our loss, I’m optimistic about our future if we continue to pull together, not apart; if we continue to turn to each other, not on each other; if we continue to have each other’s back, not ride each other’s back or play back stabbers.
Stay Blessed and Eclectically Black,