Friday, August 1, 2008

Guilt By Association Totally Inappropriate

The "D" Spot Redeux is not a political blog per se, but occasionally I feel I must speak up and speak out forcefully about issues about which I feel strongly.
So please allow me this second "op-ed" post of the week.

There is a primary election coming up in Detroit on Tuesday, August 5 2008. Several local positions and state legislature and congressional seats are on the ballot. Although the turnout is expected to be embarrassingly low (less than 20%), the election is very important. In recent Detroit history, the Democrat who wins the August primary is the all-but-official winner in the November general election.

One congressional seat being challenged is that of 13th District Congresswoman and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. Does that name sound familiar? Yes, she is the mother of the embattled Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick; and for the first time in many years, she is fighting to keep her seat: because she is the Mayor's mother. Congresswoman Kilpatrick is in her 6th term in the U.S. Congress, and in addition to chairing the Congressional Black Caucus, she serves on the House Appropriations Committee (the only Michigan representative on that committee), the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services, and the Appropriations Subcommittee for Homeland Security. It takes years of service, political skill, and relationship-building to be appointed to such powerful committees. When voters go to the polls to make their choice, they should consider the entire personal life and professional accomplishments as they relate to what needs to be done for the Congressional District.

However, there is one challenger to Ms. Kilpatrick who is basing almost her entire campaign on conducting a smear campaign against the Congresswoman because of the alleged misconduct of her son. This challenger is currently running a distasteful TV commercial mocking the Congresswoman for her support of her son. The point of this challenger's campaign, as well as the TV ad, is to paint Congresswoman Kilpatrick with the same brush as her son. This challenger does not even seem to understand the ramifications of removing someone from such powerful apppointments; especially for Michigan...we need all of the financial help we can get from Congress. New members of Congress are routinely assigned to much less powerful committees; and it takes years to "move up the ladder". There is no way this challenger can even begin to have the influence that Ms. Kilpatrick has worked so hard to achieve over the years.

Although this post is not an official endorsement of Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, it is a denouncement of the tactics of one of her challengers. Back in the spring of 2008, when the mainstream media tainted the name and reputation of Reverend Jeremiah Wright of Chicago based on a 30-second clip of one of his sermons, then tried to condemn Senator Barack Obama just because Rev. Wright was his former pastor, many Democrats (especially those supporting the candidacy of Senator Obama), as well as other fair-minded people, cried "foul". It was patently unfair to transfer the alleged "transgressions" of Rev. Wright to Senator Obama.

In the same vein, I believe it is patently unfair to try to destroy the Congressional career of Congresswoman Kilpatrick based on the actions of her son. On the one hand, a mother is expected to support her son; and at the time of the plaintive cry for support that is part of that commercial (OK, I admit the rant was a little "ghetto"), the Mayor had not been involved in, or accused of the things he is now. On the other hand, the Mayor is a grown man, and as such, the Congresswoman cannot be held accountable for the alleged actions of her son even as she supports him as her son and the father of her grandchildren.

As a native Detroiter and (never-miss-an-election) voter, I denounce and reject the smear tactics of one of the challengers to Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick's seat for the 13th Congressional District of Michigan. I would hope that voters would make their decision based of the reputation and accomplishments of the Congresswoman, not that of her son.

This is cross-posted at my husband's blog: The "D" Spot

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