Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A sad ending to an era....

Once upon a time, in a land long ago and far away, there was a bright young man who got elected to Congress. He stood for progressive ideals and was as great a champion of the underdog, the oppressed and the poor as anyone this town had ever seen. He spoke truth to power, caused people to love him and despise him, sometimes in the same week.

He was attacked and prosecuted for crimes he did not commit, and the case was so bad that 12 white folks from rural West Tennessee saw through them and acquitted him. He would occasionally say something that angered his district, but since he helped one and all, no matter whether they lived in his district or not, he was usually quickly forgiven by all but the most rabid haters.

The day came when he presented his eldest son and said, this is who I want to succeed me, and the district agreed, and, for a while, the eldest son showed promise, even though his party was no longer in power.

Then, things began to change. The eldest son, bearing the name of the father, attacked the President of HIS OWN PARTY due to the President's personal failings. Then he began to act as if he had been raised in East Tennessee, not South Memphis. The father, once the champion of the land, moved east and south and began to disappear while his namesake sounded more Republican than those who had dared to challenge his father. The namesake even praised the new President, of the OTHER Party, who had led this country to disaster after disaster, and seemed ashamed of the party of his birth.

The namesake sought to run for higher office, and the father, once the champion of the poor and the oppressed, came home from parts unknown to help his eldest son, and then to have his youngest son keep the seat in the hands of the family, even if it meant opposing the party that had brought he and his children wealth and fame.

The old champion, now a shell of himself, began organizing ministers in the black community as if it were somehow 1974 all over again, but things were now different. People in that community, people who had been with him for years, asked, WHY? We have a new champion, and he may not look like you do but he sures VOTES like you did, and he is the nominee of our party. You've been away for so long and you really don't know how things are any more. Enough is enough, they said, stop this.

However, like Willie Mays stumbling in the 1973 World Series, the old warrior kept on, not realizing that in his efforts to continue the legacy, he was endangering the eldest son in his own back yard. The rival chieftain smacked down the old warrior and proved to most that the old warrior was now a stranger in his hometown, and all was being lost.

The moral of our story, for which the final chapter has yet to be written, will still be that one should never take anything for granted, and that things always change, whether we want them to or not.


Anonymous said...

I don't apotheosize Harold Ford, Sr., as you do. I've been acquainted with him for over 25 years and even worked with him briefly back then. We've enjoyed pleasant social times together.

But Harold's tendencies toward self-aggrandizement and nepotism have never been clearer to the public than they are today, even to former supporters from the days when the Ford deal looked like the best deal in town for the black community.

In this year's US Senate contest in TN, maybe it still is. In TN's Ninth District Congressional contest, The Ford deal is NOT the best deal, as Mayors Herenton and Wharton told us last week.

The N.J. Ford (whom I also had the privilege of meeting) Funeral Home is indeed a family business.

But the government of Memphis, Shelby County, and Tennessee is not.

Steve Steffens said...

All those big fancy words, you a lawyer or semthing? :)

good comment, hoss! I just have fond memories of the old days, like a lot of folks, and I am sorely disappointed in Senior and Junior right now.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

The son was a no-show during Congressional Black Caucus weekend.

If he wanted to prove he's still a proud African-American, last weekend would have been a good start.

I know you will see some changes with Cohen, and eventually, Ford supporters will come around, once they get used to having turkey whenever they want it, instead of of waiting on the handouts from this family at Thanksgiving; because Cohen will have brought home some of that goverment "pork" to revitalize Memphis like he's supposed to.

Junior will make a good lobbyist because he has already learned the fine art of BS'ing.

Steve Steffens said...

CPL, who's going to pay for their lobbying office in DC now that there won't be a Ford congressional office from which to work?

The Moderator said...

I see one last final showdown in 2007 between Harold, Sr. and Herenton no matter what the results are in November in the Senate and Congressional races. One will stand, one will fall. The one who stands will leave the game with a tremendous legacy vanquishing all challengers. The one who falls will close out his political career with a diminished legend as a loser.

Now I'm not predicting Sr. will run for mayor, but I believe he will be directly involved in the race. 2007 will likely be Herenton's last election, and I know he is anticipating one final showdown with the Ford machine just as Sr. likely has unfinished political business with Herenton.

To me, Herenton's statements last week weren't about Sen. Cohen, but rather the statements seemed like the opening shots in what will be a very contested 2007 city election season.

Steve Steffens said...

Well, I have heard rumors that the father of one of the 9th District candidates might well be taking another shot at the office in 2007, as he did in 2003.

If that's so, then Senior will have to start spending less time in DC & Miami and more time here, a lot more.

kibitzer said...

That was actually 1999, Crack, if you mean Joe Ford Sr.

Steve Steffens said...

Correctomundo, Kibitzer, my error...