Friday, March 28, 2008

Hope-Thy Name Is Kenny

See, it's been WAY too long since I've posted. That's what's dogged me so badly on my past Blog attempts--I post for a bit, get distracted and forget all about it. So--I see here that's it's closing in on 8 weeks since I've posted--so I'm getting back on the horse instead of letting this thing go to seed.

I've got a lot going on--a lot on my mind--but coming here to write today--all I can think to write about is the political situation in Detroit--namely the indictment of Kwame Kilpatrick--the mayor of a major city indicted on multi-year felonies--simply amazing. Of course the media has had it's day--I actually don't think there's much room for analysis really--it is what it is, a fair and just decision on the part of Kym Worthy to at least begin to try to hold KK and those he has surrounded himself with to account for their actions.

Every step of the way, Kilpatrick has angered me with his arrogance and defiance--yet, just when it seemed I couldn't get angrier--I read about this legal defence fund that has been set up--a place for folks to go and donate up to $12,000 a pop to help Kwame pay for his Chi-Town lawyer--who disturbs me everytime I see him due to his uncanny resemblance to Ron Popeil. In a city wracked with poverty and crime, riddled with abandonment, suffering due to the foreclosure crisis--in a place with a population that has been shrinking for over 50 years and is increasingly indigent--the audacity of this "charity" is beyond appaling--it has left me in complete disbelief. I switched up my commute today--not sure why--but I slipped off I-94 on the near eastside--at Exit 219--M3/Gratiot Avenue--and I rode this broad, six-lane avenue into downtown. Gratiot--not unlike Grand River to the west, represents everything that has happened to Detroit in the past 50 years. It exemplifies decay, loss, crime, fear and poverty. Some neighborhood streets are well kept--others are dotted with weedy lots and roofless, charred wrecks. In spite of all this, Kwame and Company believe that if you have dollars to give, you ought to give them to him, so he can give them to his lawyer from Illinois--not to feed the homeless, or help the DMC care for the indigent, not even to keep someone's heat on in the winter--but to save his sorry ass from prosecution.

Which brings us, in a way, to Kenneth Cockrel Jr. I like Ken Cockrel--I'll go on record. I find him plain-spoken but intellectual--clearly from a family of educated activists. His steely gaze from the audience in Orchestra Hall when the Mayor launched into a tirade during the State of the City address cemented my feelings. Cockrel isn't an opportunist--waiting anxiously to pounce on a politcally weak Mayor. If anything he has been the City's, and the City Council's conscience. Cockrel doesn't have much in the way of flash--he's certainly lacks Kilpatrick's bejeweled swagger--nor does he possess what came across as the sometimes cool indifference of Dennis Archer (whose own impressive list of accomplishments has now been almost entirely co-opted by Kilpatrick's spin cycle). I also don't think it's an understatement to say that Ken Cockrel Jr. is no C.A.Y. For the tragedy, for the loss of money, for the destroyed careers--part of me believes--hopes at least--that out of all of this, Detroit may back half sideways into getting an administration run by a Mayor who is a Manager, who has a conscience--and who can be someone to whom the city's youth can look to as a leader and inspiration.

Prayer seems to be a big part of this story--at least on the public side. Tonight, I'll say a prayer for Ken Cockrel, and for Detroit.