Monday, August 21, 2006

On the subject of Mr. Larsha

Freedonian and WTL have terrific posts up about the Jake Ford saga and about the sad actions of someone I have worked with and respect, Mr. William Larsha.

Thaddeus Matthews has put up at his site an article by Mr. Larsha, who has written for the Tri-State Defender off and on for as long as I can remember. It essentially asks the SCDP Executive Committee to ignore the decision of the Democratic electorate with regards to the 9th District and endorse Fredo, er, Jake Ford for Congress.

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a wise man co-wrote a bylaw that explicitly called for the removal of any member of the Executive Committee who worked against ANY Democratic nominee. He was forceful, and he was eloquent, and that convinced me to vote for this new bylaw. He was right on the money.

Sadly, that man was William Larsha, and he may well be expelled by that same body for doing what he argued against so many years ago, working against a Democratic nominee. Having worked with him for so long, it's almost enough to bring tears to my eyes.

He's doing this because he, like some others in the African-American community here, is petrified that the 9th District will be represented by someone who is NOT of color, despite the fact that the Democratic nominee, Steve Cohen, will represent that community better than Jake Ford could ever dream of doing.

What is even sadder about this than anything else is that Mr. Larsha is of an age when he remembers separate days for people of color at the Zoo, separate areas on the buses and trolleys, and I suspect he was called hideous and nasty things by white people in his life. He KNOWS, better than most, that the discrimination he calls for against Steve Cohen is wrong for the very reason it was wrong when he suffered discrimination lo those many years ago.

African-Americans hold the offices of City and County Mayor, make up a majority of the City Council and 6 of 13 County commission seats, as well they should. There is not a dearth of representation for people of color in this County, and it is not correct to suggest that there is.

Steve Cohen will provide a level of representation that the 9th District has not seen since Harold (Senior) left office. He will fight for everyone in the District; to suggest otherwise is as racist as separate drinking fountains, and I won't stand for it.

Mr. Larsha, you taught me a lot when we served together, and I have always respected you. Please do not do anything that could change this; I ask that you not place this resolution before the Committee. This is because it will only tear us apart as a party and force your expulsion, which is a horrible way to end your career in this party.

The future of the Democratic Party in this county depends upon it.


Pam said...

What about we cartwheel Cohen to the tanning booth and get his color issue out of the way?

Just a tought...

Desi Franklin said...

Thaddeus Matthews is like one of those kids who desperately wants attention and will do anything to get it.

I too got sucked in to reading his blog and commenting there for a day or two, because the discussion was allegedly going to be about big current issues we face in Memphis, but of course it just degenerated into a lot of "Blacks ... calling whites racists; whites ... calling blacks racists; blacks ... calling each other racists; yo’mamma ... calling yo’ass racist… so on and so forth."

All of us hitting on his blog just continued his emboldenment to say outrageous and obscene things about Rich Fields, things that reflect his obsession with someone who has pushed back aggressively against his prurient interest in "getting" people who disagree with him.

Thaddeus has no interest in anything including important issues except as it somehow makes him the big dog. He is disgusting.

And I am saddened not only by Mr. Larsha's actions but by the fact that he, who is such a proper and decent guy, would allow himself to be associated with that slimy blog.

Desi Franklin said...

Oops. Meant to attribute that funny quote to Freedonian.

DemoBitch said...

You go, Desi!!! Has anyone stopped to think that it is not a black/white thing but a Steve Cohen thing. I for one cannot stand Steve Cohen and I WILL BE VOTING for someone other than a Democrat. I have decided that I want what is best for the 9th District and not what will be self serving to one man's agenda. I know that this is not a poplar view on this blog, however, I am just going to throw it out there that not everyone in the Democratic party is in the Cohen camp and wouldn't you rather have an independent that might vote with the Demos instead of a GOP snob that is going to vote everytime with the Repubs? Just a thought...

cranky old fart said...

"...a GOP snob that is going to vote everytime with the Repubs? Just a thought..."

Cohen is a GOP snob???


RAM said...

Larshe needs to resign, or he needs to be voted out. Why, Desi, would you allow him to not abide by the bylaws? Change the bylaws, and let him stay, or follow the bylaws. That's a no brainer. Cohen is the Democratic candidate. Support him, Larshe, or shut up, or get off the Executive Committee.

DemoBitch said...

Cranky Old Fart,

You are a complete dumbass...reread my comments and you will see I was refering to Mark White without using his name. It is an old political trick to not refer to your competition by using their name because it will then be in the mind of the voters.

Desi Franklin said...

I believe Demobitch was referring to herself and maybe others (including Mr. Larsha) as independents who might vote with the Democrats. (Of course, Mr. Larsha is not, under any other circumstance I know of, not a Democrat.) Well, yes, we will take independents who cross over and vote Dem. However, Republicans will vote for Cohen if they perceive the alternative to be a Jake Ford victory no matter (or maybe because of) how big a GOP snob they are.

Re Mr. Larsha and the bylaws:

His stance rankles me of all people, since he was one of the most vocal in insisting that we had to endorse only Democratic voting judicial candidates (in nonpartisan races - by state law and county resolution, those races are nonpartisan!!!). But (a) I have respect for folks who are up in their very elder years and (b) unlike probably any of the others posting on blogs about this issue, he experienced the hard fought journey to equal treatment, just to exist as a human being who wanted to have a voice in his government and how it treated him.

I absolutely do not agree that a vote for Steve is a vote to deny blacks any rights or benefits they have as citizens or constituents of the 9th district - to suggest that is absurd, especially given how totally altruistic and caring the Fords have been over the last THIRTY TWO years for their constituents who, as I'm sure you've noticed, are so much better off than they were in 1974.

But, I empathize (I can't say I understand, not having had his life experiences) with Mr. Larsha's feelings of how important a symbol of the achievement of black power this seat is.

Now, that does not mean I agree with his views that this is or should be a black seat. Absolutely not. I'm just saying that I respect his right to care about this in a way that is based on the life he has lived. A lot has changed since 1974, a lot still needs to change, but if you've lived since well before WWII then your perspective is going to be just a little different than if MLK's assassination is a history lesson for you.

Furthermore, I have a problem with the "political cleansing" effort that Del and others have proposed. There are simply more important agendas for us local Democrats to be pursuing than kicking out folks who share our values and exercising a foolish consistency because of our little minds.

Mr. Larsha is in effect going public on his opinions, but aside from urging others to share them, he isn't (yet, at least) taking any action against the party. However, if he wants to introduce a resolution to endorse Jake Ford at the next meeting, it will be out of order per local and state party bylaws and should not even be allowed to be made or entertained.

Freedonian said...

Thank you Desi, but that quote came from my blogging partner, the lovely Pam.