I don’t know which was more embarrassing-hearing U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald read what Gov. Blagojevich was alleged to have said on secret tape recording or hearing what black folks actually said over the air while listening to WVON 1690-AM.
True, at the point the press conference was held, Gov. Blagojevich wasn’t being indicted. But a warrant for his arrest had been issued, based on those recordings that the government had been authorized to hear and make.
The recordings, according to Fitzgerald, show our governor’s willingness to not only offer to sell the vacated U.S. Senate seat previously held by Barack Obama to the highest bidder, but the governor was also willing to hold up funding to Children’s Memorial Hospital unless those in charge of it gave to his campaign. Every citizen of the state of Illinois should be offended that the governor displayed a willingness to put sick kids at risk for his political gain.
The governor’s arrest and the release of what is purportedly on the recordings became the talk of WVON. What I was most amazed to hear were callers acting as if it was a guarantee that an African-American would get and keep the vacant senate seat. One caller said, “It’s ours and ain’t no one else going to get it.” Huh? “Ours,” as if black people were the majority in this state. “Ours,” as if no one else could possibly run an election and win it. “Ours,” as if the senate seat was a “legacy” to be passed from person to person-the rest of the state population be damned!
If what was said on WVON had been said on any white radio station, these same people would be screaming racism at the top of their lungs. Yes, it was good to have a person of color in the U.S. Senate, which is now currently 100 percent white. But there is no guarantee in any state that just because your skin has melanin, you can win and keep a senate seat. Did those callers on WVON forget it was because the Republicans had put up a carpetbagger by the name of Alan Keyes as Obama’s opponent that also led to Obama’s win? The choice in 2004 was between two black men. That is not guaranteed to be the case in the event of a special election or the regular election scheduled for 2010.
I am also perplexed about when it became “de rigueur” for some white politicians to call on black preachers whenever they find their butts in trouble for doing something scandalous. From Bill Clinton after Monica-gate to Blagojevich with these allegations, why are black preachers the first ones sought out following the sins? No other ethnic or racial group seems to have ministers who come to the aide of sinners as quickly as those in the black community. Do those ministers have a better hotline to God than the pastors of the churches those sinners regularly attend? And if so, can some of those prayers be first for those sick children at Children’s Memorial whose health the Governor put at risk by playing political games with their health care!
When the Governor cares so little for the feelings of the black community-and especially the West Side-by helping to feed the homeless with Cong. Danny K. Davis for Thanksgiving while referring to him as “Senator,” only to find out Cong. Davis wasn’t even on Blagojevich’s short list, then those ministers have no clue they were being played for fools.
When talent and service by an elected official isn’t taken into account unless there is money to be paid, our governor is sounding like a political version of Rev. Ike. Those ministers need to remember that Rev. Ike was famous for telling people, when it came to his offerings, he didn’t want anything that jingled. He didn’t take change.
Update on Dollar Tree
An update on the column I wrote concerning Taneka Talley’s death and Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree has now agreed to pay the death benefits to Taneka’s son.