Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Go get some coffee, this will be a long one.

First, let me begin this post by saying that breast cancer has affected my life and my friends lives; I have lost a friend to it and watched as more than one of my friends survived it.  This is why I have a heavy heart in stating unequivocally that I will not give one more penny to RACE FOR THE CURE.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation caved to pressure from anti-choice supports and announced that they would no longer fund Planned Parenthood's breast exams for women who cannot afford them on their own. The unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood by the forced-childbirth movement (they are NOT pro-life in any sense, in my opinion) are a result of GOP control of legislatures and the Citizens United SCOTUS decision.  Conservatives, at their core, think of women as no more than birth vessels and not as human beings.  So, as long as Komen defunds Planned Parenthood, I will have to find other places to send money for breast-cancer research.  I normally don't ask for money for other organizations, but please, if at all possible, send a contribution to Planned Parenthood today.

Now, to local matters.

We are two weeks away from Early Voting in the Democratic Primary for County offices and for President (as the President is not opposed, who cares?) and I have not received ONE PIECE OF MAIL from any Democratic candidates for office.  Now, as Carol Chumney is unopposed in the primary for Attorney General and Steve Ross is unopposed for County Commission, District 1, they are excused from this rant.

However,  with five candidates for General Sessions Court Clerk and two for Assessor (including incumbent Cheyenne Johnson), one might think that these candidates would be sending out mail to ask for votes from their fellow Democrats, some of whom might not have had the chance to meet them in person.  Nope, apparently not.  Now, Cracker, you may be saying, you KNOW who most of these people are and you have probably made up your mind.

True enough, but are these candidates sending out mail to REGULAR Democratic voters and not political junkies like me (and like YOU, if you are reading this post)?  You see, every time I hear African-American candidates whine that white Democrats won't vote for them, I laugh.  Harold Ford, Senior and Junior.  AC Wharton.  W.W.Herenton. Otis Higgs.  Thomas Long.  Ever heard of any of THEM?

What did all of THEM do that YOU didn't?  They raised enough money and did outreach to white Democrats, not all of whom are political junkies like us.  When it comes to Countywide races, ESPECIALLY clerkships, most white Democrats see these as positions that should be NON-partisan and not involved in policy making, like executive and legislative positions are.

Frankly, white non-PJ Democrats haven't the faintest clue who you are, unless you are an incumbent.  This, of course, will work to Cheyenne Johnson's benefit, but will hopefully work against Otis Jackson, whose renomination would likely bring down the whole Democratic ticket in August.

What happens when you can't reach white Democrats in the primary is that they forget about you in August.  Inevitably, their spouse/relative/friend-from-church/ comes up to them and says,"look, I know you're a Democrat, but if the Democrat is elected to run my office, I will get fired and i NEED my job".  The white Democrat will think, "well, it's not a policy-position, I can change my vote and still be a good Democrat".

Unfortunately, that's also how we got Mark Luttrell as County Mayor, with a LOT of African-American votes.  Need I mention that he has never missed a Sidney Chism picnic since becoming an elected official?  HE reaches out to African-Americans, and YOU need to reach out to white Democrats.  Ok,rant over.

Now, Democrats, we need to talk about something else.  The fact remains that many of our middle-class African-Americans have left Shelby County and moved into Desoto County, as the 2010 Census confirms.  Many of our potential African-American voters are low-information voters who vote on name recognition, if they bother to vote in the primary at all.  Name recognition, sadly, will be key for voters in our March 3 Primary.

Why I bring this up is the potential problem we could have.  Whose names are most well-known in the General Sessions Court Clerk race?  I would expect that Otis Jackson is very well-known, not just from his indictment but from his days as MSU's point guard.  In fact, many of these low-information voters may well think Mr. Jackson is being persecuted by a GOP prosecutor and will vote for him because of his indictment.  Frankly, that's self-destructive, but it is what it is.

So, if you are a Democrat who wants to see this office remain in Democratic hands, you KNOW that if Mr. Jackson is renominated, either the rest of the ticket will have to disown him or be dragged down BY him in August.  This means he must be defeated in the primary if Democrats want to have ANY hope of holding on to or adding Democratic offices in August.

Which brings me to the other two well-known candidates, Commissioner Sidney Chism (full disclosure - I am supporting him) and INTERIM General Sessions Clerk Ed Stanton, Jr (father of the US Attorney).  I know a lot of my friends rushed to support Stanton, who is doing a fine job in the office, partially for that reason and partially because they don't care for Commissioner Chism.

I have had plenty of run-ins with Chairman Chism over the years, but we always put it behind us and came together for the Party.  At the end of the day, I firmly believe he is the one man who can prevent the re-nomination of Otis Jackson and the destruction of the ticket in August.  I fear that any vote given to Mr. Stanton is more likely to aid Mr. Jackson than elect Mr. Stanton.  Should I be wrong, I would happily support Mr. Stanton if he is the nominee - I just don't believe he can win the primary.

And one last thing about Mr. Stanton.  He has a nice billboard on I-240 facing the eastbound lanes near Getwell.  Good picture, good logo, all except for one thing - nowhere could I see the word DEMOCRAT on that billboard.  It's still the primary, sir, don't you think that is important?

Any way, I'll shut up for now and wait for that piece of mail from a Democratic candidate that asks for my vote and doesn't just assume that I will give it to them.  I hope I don't have to wait long.


Anonymous said...

What is a "non-PJ Democrat"?

Steve Steffens said...

Non-Political Junkie, heh

Adrienne Pakis-Gillon said...

As someone who probably qualifies as a PJ and hopefully one of your friends, I am proudly volunteering for Ed Stanton Jr. for General Sessions Clerk.Stanton was appointed to fill the position after Jackson was indicted and currently serves as the Clerk Pro Tempore for General Sessions Court.These are difficult times for any candidate, especially a Democrat, to raise funds.The Stanton campaign is diligently working on fundraising efforts to get mail pieces out--we missed you at the fundraiser in Germantown for Mr. Stanton.This is a down ballot race with a divided primary - unlike you and me, some people won't take sides. Commissioner Chism works hard for his district.If he leaves the Shelby County Commission we are going to have appoint/elect someone else to finish his term to 2014.
I am disagreeing with your premise that Jackson will be renominated and believe that you are overweighing the premise that he will receive sympathy votes because they think he is being persecuted.This primary race is going to be challenging.Ed Stanton, Jr. is the BEST individual to serve the public in this position as Clerk due to his experience and understanding of the court system.I have asked for your vote-you told me you had already made up your mind.I would love to see Commissioner Chism decide to finish his term as commissioner and throw his support to a qualified Democrat to fill this clerk position.In the general, this is a county wide race and I believe Ed Stanton, Jr. has the best chance in the general.He will appeal to a wide variety of voters because of his character and experience.Yes, we need funds to get his name out--Go to stantonforclerk.com and donate.If you can't donate, come volunteer with us-we have a great group.
Early voting doesn't begin until Feb. 15-still time to change your mind, Steve.

Adrienne Pakis-Gillon

Anonymous said...

Well what happened to the back Affidavits of Complaint I used to be able to retrieve via computer, which were made inaccessible without explanation or a promise of when they would be back online?

Please ask your pal and return with his answer.