Rants and ruminations by a classical liberal with radical Chicano tendencies
I have written previously about the South Side’s best kept secret, Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. I failed to mention that she had once been on drugs. I probably should have. Not because it’s a skeleton in her closet that needed to be exposed, but because it is one of her strong points.
That Patricia as a very young woman fell into a deadly lifestyle, by itself, is uninteresting. That she lived to tell about it and has dedicated herself to helping countless others escape drugs and poverty for over thirty years is inspiring. What distinguishes her from every mayoral candidate and, indeed, from many leaders in general, is that she understands what it means to stare into the abyss, to push back against the darkness, and to soar into the light. This is a feat of character that cannot be taught in universities. It can’t even be learned on the street as most people who arrive at the edge of the abyss just fall in. This strength can only come from a perfect storm of contrition, love, sadness, hope, and often a little luck.
Carol Mosley Braun was nothing short of disgusting the other night. Not just because she demonstrated great density and a severe lack of etiquette, but because she showed a meanness that ought to make any Christian–any human really–run to the nearest church to light a candle for her dark, twisted soul. While negative attacks are nothing new in Chicago politics, the assertion that Reverend Watkins was “strung out on crack” for the last twenty years was a total lie and was so prejudicial that it would have been impermissible in any court of law–did I mention that Braun is a lawyer? She says that her attack was justified because Watkins attacked her for being absent from the community for the last 20 years. Since when did an untrue ad hominem attack become an appropriate response to a question raised about Moseley-Braun’s 20 year absence? As a community organizer, I have wondered as much myself.
Ironically, Dr. Watkins is the last person to hide her past. Her story is precisely what attracts people to her. People want to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. People want to believe that no matter how bad their life is, they can do better.
I truly do believe–with all my soul– that we all can do better. At the very least, we can do a lot better than Carol Moseley Braun.
While some people look at cockroaches as disgusting pests, We view them as resilient organisms that predate humans and will likely outlive us as well. People of color, the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed, much like cockroaches, are often despised, feared and in some cases have been the objects of extermination.
We started this blog as an attempt to understand the complicated world we live in. Things have changed since the old days of conquest, colonization, and slavery. Anonymous living, consumerism, and mass media have made it difficult to identify the forces that make modern-day oppression possible. Thus, posts here tend to focus on corruption, media, bureaucracy, ethics, economics, law, human rights, etc...in short, We try to take a second-order inquiry into assumptions and systems that some of us take for granted. We also take time to challenge stereotypes that function to place us in a box. Occasionally, We just rant.
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