Friday, May 15, 2009

What Happens After Everyone is Corrupt?

I think Big Man might have said what I am about to in far less words. Since I read his before posting mine I will give him his props. Reading what he said made me feel even better about what I am about to say..

Last night I went to a meeting of black men organized by the Yes We Care group about the rising violence in the city. I wanted to hear what the brothers had to say and show my support. I actually went ahead and signed up to volunteer at one of the local mentoring programs. I figured I could fit in some time around my own personal responsibilities. I will talk more about this later. This was a very positive event but it barely made the news because everyone seems to be overly obsessed about our city council members’ emails.

I believe in being consistent in your beliefs and that they shouldn’t change based on who is involved. When the paranoia was about the mayor’s email and his schedule my opinion was that if we were going to spend all that time and energy trying to prove he has done something wrong then it should lead to some kind of change in leadership or procedure that benefits everybody. Turning the mayor into a criminal mastermind does nothing for me as a citizen if everything is going to continue running the same way it always does. I feel the exact same way about these emails. If we are going to go through all of this time and money to expose all of this information then it better lead to something. If it doesn’t lead to anything concrete and ends in just ruined reputations then who wins? I can tell you who doesn’t win. Hard working people don’t win because every day we sit around stressing over foolishness is another day without plans for new health care facilities or youth programs and things like that. I’m sure those things are being worked on somewhere by people behind the scenes but we have created an environment where most of the public assumes nothing is going on or going right because this group is plotting against this group and the other group is out to get the first group. It was just a few weeks ago that we found out FEMA was sitting downtown playing with our money and a national news show had to tell us about it. How crazy is that?

Let’s take our current mayor and council members out of the equation for a minute. We are having elections next year. What person can run for office and win without being investigated the first week of their term because of the vibe we have set forward now? We all know that this is an intimate city and that most people are connected in some way. If you are a person with enough support or money to run for office then it’s almost a certainty you know someone in the same groups of people involved in all the bickering. After the last few years of fighting is everyone going to hit the reset button and hold hands to sing because there are different people in the positions? Are all the people leaving hurtful comments on websites and making angry phone calls to radio stations going to cease immediately when the individuals they have all singled out as the problem are gone from the scene? My prediction is we won’t be able to. We probably won’t be able to make it through the first two weeks of campaigning without the he said/ she said starting again. The mayor and council will be getting investigated the day after being sworn in. It’s the same basic principle when I am talking about the violence on the streets. We now have a culture of wanting to incriminate everyone over working together towards a better city.

Who in their right mind would even want to be a political leader in this city right now? Can we name more than one or two people we may think are untarnished enough to lead us? Someone is going to have to come in from out of town because there isn’t anyone here right now with a good reputation across the board. I know I am right because if we put a positive article about anyone there’s going to be a commenter making an accusation or posting a link to some story implicating them in some scheme. It happens all the time on our local newspapers website. We have so many investigative reports on the news that regular citizens are speeding through school zones while working their cell phone cameras just to get a shot of a city vehicle’s license plate. We also have an entire group of amateur investigators that just search through everything looking for the big conspiracy. I never really hear most of these folks have any concrete ideas about what we could be doing differently. They just know they don’t like the people currently in office so anything else that gets destroyed in the way was justified. When it comes to leadership in this city my morale keeps getting lower. It’s a good thing I know enough people living here that give me enough hope to balance the negative. I am not sure we have a person with enough the personality to rally everyone together in the right spirit. I think we had one but he is in prison now for having some proven bad judgment. Things are not looking good from my perspective.

I know what some people are going to say when they read this. They are going to let me know that we need transparency, and corruption hurts us all. They will mention Nagin’s trips and the crime camera debacle and Stacy Head’s emails. All of those things did happen and should be looked into but look around this city. Most of these problems were here long before either one of them got in office. Do I think we should ignore any wrong doing? I don’t think that at all. I’m saying that if all we get from turning over all these stones is bad feelings and new faces in office we will have the same problems because there will be no policy changes to benefit the public. Isn’t that what all of this is supposed to be for? Why does it seem that we never talk about any of that very much? Sooner or later we have to move on to other things. What is the plan for the future of the city when there is nothing left to investigate?


E.J. said...

Wow, man, this is sobering, to read it like this. I too have had this nagging sense that this is turning into more of a crusade than law enforcement.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Can we name more than one or two people we may think are untarnished enough to lead us?I can name one cat who would make a phenomenal councilperson. He writes a blog, sees the big picture and has a magnetic presence when speaking publicly...

Kim Hambric said...

Now, I'm an outsider, but after reading the quote of the day, I might just have to agree with cousin Pat.

mominem said...

I believe that we are in the middle of a change in attitude, that real transparency will in time change the way things have been done and help correct some of the problems which have hurt the city for so long.

This change will be messy and we are seeing the results of entrenched interests resisting it.