Oh, Kwame! After these tense few months, Detroit’s Mayor Kwame Kipatrick pled guilty to two felonies, causing an automatic resignation. It will take effect September 18.
The main thing I felt as I watched him deliver his Resignation Speech was disappointment. For outsiders, it’s easy to just label Kwame a criminal who had to GO. Don’t get me wrong, I also wanted him to resign after he completely left himself without redemption by making idiotic mistakes. But a lot of the people who really abhor him aren’t even from Detroit proper, such as the people that booed him at the victory parade for the Red Wings. For the sake of trying to get others to understand the gray area this, like all else in life falls in to, allow me to once again, build an image in your mind.
The man who preceded Kwame was Mayor Dennis Archer. He had many good initiatives, such as Angels’ Night, which significantly reduced the Halloween arson practice of “Devils’ Night”, and continues to be successful each year. Despite this and other achievements, he did something many Detroiters, including myself (I was only in high school then, so forgive me if some of the details are missing), found unforgivable: handing control of the Detroit Public Schools away from the local School Board, over to then Governor John Engler. The Schools had problems, indeed they still do, but handing over local control to that man in Lansing was certainly not the answer. If I’m not mistaken, the recall campaign against Archer was instigated by this traitorous action. The stage was set for a man like Kwame Kilpatrick.
The first time I’d really heard of Kwame was at my high school graduation in 2001. He was the keynote speaker, launching his bid for Mayor. He was then (and still is) an engaging, electrifying speaker, something the overwhelming majority of politicians weren’t (and still aren’t). A native son, graduate of my same high school, I had so much hope for this man. I thought he could come and fix things because after all, he was from this City, he was OF this City. I thought he understood us. Even though I couldn’t vote at the time, if I could’ve, I would’ve voted for him. Even after the Navigator and Manoogian Mansion Party scandals of his first term, I thought he’d be a better choice for Mayor than Freeman Hendrix in 2005. When Kwame won reelection, I was happy. But then…
Then we got the whistle-blower scandal, allegations that he was connected to the murder of Tamara Green, then the steamy text messages…Honestly I could care less that he’d had an affair. That’s between him and his wife. But that cops were fired to cover it up? That’s inexcusable. Things got worse when he was charged with all those felonies. Our Mayor on a tether? What a terrible example for the young people! Then he violates the terms of his bond and shoves a deputy. I honestly couldn’t believe that he could be that stupid. I thought to myself, ‘The Republican Party must’ve paid him off to act a fool to discredit black leaders’, I just couldn’t believe the depths of these mistakes. I was aghast.
So after all this, he finally pled guilty to Obstruction of Justice yesterday, and announced his resignation. Like I said I was very disappointed that this person who I had so much hope for had gone down so disgracefully. What’s worse, in his address he vowed to come back. The terms of the plea deal prevent him from seeking office for 5 years. I wouldn’t vote for him if he did try to run for office again, but I think the mixed feelings about him and the good things he did do for the City would honestly, give him a chance. I also thought it was not a good idea to take that cheap shot at Governor Jennifer Granholm. He implied she and others were harassing him for the sake of their own personal agendas when they should have been focusing on the State’s myriad problems. While I agree that if we were to triage the issues of home foreclosures, unemployment, homelessness, and the Mayoral scandals, the last item is not the most pressing. But it was the only one that could be solved quickly by putting him to trial for his crimes.
So, now all the talk is of “healing the City”. Council Member Kwame Kenyatta will be having a rally for such a purpose on Saturday, September 6th at the Coleman Young Municipal Center. All this talk of healing, and Detroit’s longtime theme of Rebirth (see my previous post), put me in a somber mood (ironically enough); hence the quote from Macbeth. Every now and then it’s okay to feel like all comes to nothing. *苦笑*