Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised. Kwame Kilpatrick, former Mayor of Detroit, current guest of the state of Michigan in my hometown of Jackson, got nailed by the Feds. Indicted by a federal grand jury for kickbacks to him and his cronies. Two observations: 1) Hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in contracts, and all these jokers manage to skim is a few measly hundred thousand. Pathetic. Most traditional Democrats would have been able to make off with at least $10-30 million. Easily. They’re setting a low bar for corruption in the state of Michigan these days. 2) I’m a white boy from the suburbs, and even I know that depositing cash from bribes/kickbacks into your PERSONAL BANK ACCOUNT is a huge no-no. Granted, if you gave me a suitcase full of currency, I would have no idea as to how to ‘launder’ that on the street, but if you told me to ‘treat the funds for tax purposes’ and gave me a routing and account numbers having to do with locations in the Cayman Islands, Cyprus or Luxembourg…well, that’s a different story. That’s actually encouraged, and rather well compensated.
So, the whole affair’s hardly shocking, but it was pretty much only a matter of time before Kwame really got it, legally speaking, that is. Once the first charge came, it was a matter of when, and not if, the other corruption charges were going to come. When a political figure like this is so seemingly immune from political pressure, it’s like being in the water with sharks. If you’re not bleeding, you’re fine. That’s the nature of politics. The sharks are circling, be they the media, your detractors, your opponents, your rivals, pretty much anyone that’s not in your inner circle. So when the first cut comes, and the blood starts gushing into the water around you, well, that’s when you’re screwed. And so it was with Kwame. Alas. He was, for a while, a great hope for the city of Detroit. A city long on hope, short on pretty much everything else(jobs, residents, tax revenues, etc.).
Except idiotic, tired racial politics. The line which made me shake my head, which takes a lot, was the part that mentioned the racial dynamic in the federal grand jury. Which included four black jurors. So. Fucking.* What? Michigan is a part of the north, right? Wrong. Michigan, despite its location, is the northernmost southern state in America. Michigan, more than any other place I’ve been in the Midwest, has a boatload of racial issues. Way more than it can afford. Let alone afford to verbalize.
Enough. These stupid, threadbare identity politics, which have advanced the state of Michigan, the city of Detroit, not at ALL in the past seven decades, are repetitive, destructive, and, most offensive, not original. Is Michigan and the city of Detroit so hung up on its ancient racial baggage so as to still be interested in race when hundreds of millions of dollars are being fleeced from the public? Who cares if four of the jurors were black? Black people can see when they’re being patently screwed. Frankly, from what I’ve seen in this country they’re able to do a bit better than most white folks, particularly given the goings on in this country since the Wall Street economically raped the nation twenty four months ago, and in return a bunch of Congressional crackers gave them back more than a trillion dollars and a thank you note in the form of tax cuts. The Detroit News sees fit to underscore the justness of the indictment because there were four blacks on the jury? Please. Offensive again, but not because of race, it’s just not original.
We’re never going to be able to get rid of racism, but so help me God,when this much green (read: money – remember that Michigan?) is at stake, particularly given the fact that the state hasn’t seen economic growth since the time Bill Clinton was President, I hardly think that repeatedly mentioning either black or white is practical, constructive or meaningful. Detroit News, mentioning race at this point is a luxury you and Michigan have long been since able to afford. Give it up and talk about something that matters.
*I try, conscientiously really, to avoid using this word in print, but I have to let myself go every once in a while.