Op-Ed

Politicians and Their Bedfellows – The Westside GazetteThe Westside Gazette

From The Westside Gazette Editorial Board (WEB)

“Nothing has really changed since this article was first written September 3, 2009. As a matter of fact, the situation has gotten worst.”—Bobby R. Henry, Sr. Publisher

        All too often, politicians forget about the communities which they serve and get caught up in THE GAME.  This is especially easy to do when political bedfellows are creeping nearby.  In some cases, the bedfellows are called lobbyists who raise thousands of dollars for campaigns in exchange for voting favors.  In other cases, they are called longtime friends who see themselves as the puppet masters – lurking behind the scenes and pulling all the strings.  In the Black community, these bedfellows rarely live in the communities that are being raped of vital services, projects and programs.

When you allow undesirables to share your bed, it becomes tainted. You are subject to become infected with many of the political ills that have damaged our leaders.

Black folk love to see smiley-faced politicians. We love to hear the jokes told at our community events.  Some of us think the better the joke, the better the politician. Even if they say absolutely nothing of substance, we love it when politicians visit our churches, our meetings and our community events.  When it comes right down to it, however, what are some of these politicians really doing for us? What was the last big ISSUE that one of them pushed? Who are they really serving to warrant the taxpayer- funded salaries and retirements that they make? Why does it take months to get an appointment with them for a community issue? On the other hand, why do the bedfellows have immediate and constant access at our expense? They smile, hug and tell us jokes, they stay for a few minutes at events……but what are they doing the rest of the time?

Oh yeah, they will support our organizations by buying several tables at events of which they allow us to choose who will occupy the table spaces because they conveniently find excuses not to be there. They will even sponsor the events, but very rarely do you see these companies/politicians supporting Black-owned businesses.

While we think it’s strange for our politicians to think that they can literally lie and lye on dirty sheets, a few have played this game as a way of life.  They smile like a swan on top of the water, but underneath the water, they wiggle like a snake to get financial/political gain.  We trust these politicians in every aspect during their term, and they rarely get caught with their hands in the ‘cookie jar’.

That’s not the case with some of Our politicians.  They get caught in the bed with traces of cookies around their mouth; then they become irate when the press calls them cookie monsters.  Don’t these highly skilled, educated and informed politicians know the rule? “Boy/girl you can’t do what they do.”

As Blacks folks, we simply do not hold our politicians accountable. We don’t measure them on the issues that they effectively tackle. We don’t even require them to be prepared when they take office.  Instead, we are comforted by the occasional email and letter that arrives at the in-box or the mailbox reminding us of another meeting where nothing is accomplished. We are comforted when they tell us that they are a product of the community — as if that is a qualification for holding public office.  In the meanwhile, the common person really suffers from THE GAME and the lobbyists sit back and make a killing for simply pulling strings and at the end of the day, after all the money is made, nobody of color even benefits for ANY long period of time.

Some of our politicians are so comfortable with their bedfellows that they start playing games with their own people.  If these politicians cannot connect the dots on how they or their friends will be paid, you best believe nothing will get done.

Bottom line, once elections are over, we need to keep the push on.  It is unacceptable for us to allow elected officials to ignore calls or refuse to hold meetings with constituents.  It is unacceptable for politicians to trade the votes of hundreds or thousands for that of one or two.  Politicians, be careful of your political bedfellows.  They hurt all of us and make us distrust you.

The history lesson to be learned is to “never get in the political bed unless the sheets are cleaned.”  Your bed should be considered a sanctuary, a place of refuge, a retreat for wholesome relaxation and not one for prostituted self- gain.

 


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