“Think no longer that you are in command here, But rather think, How, when you were, You served your own destruction.”
The Gospel at Colonus [Oedipus]
When Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) called the tea party reaction to Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney loss “crap”, it was an accurate description. It is also an appropriate description of the recent criticism the DC State Democratic Committee and its Chairwoman Anita Bonds by some District of Columbia journalists and political activists.
Following his election and swearing-in as Chair of the Council of the District of Columbia, the At-large Council seat served by Councilmember Phil Mendelson will be filled by the DC Democratic State Committee (DCDSC) until a special District-wide election is held.
The process has drawn criticisms in the news media. But these objections, led by The Washington Post as published critiques by Mr. Charles Allen and Mr. Nelson F. Rimensnyder and other self-serving local political commentators are ridiculous, reckless, and intellectually dishonest.
The D.C. Home Rule Act, TITLE IV, SEC. 401. (d) (2) states: “In the event of a vacancy in the Council of a member elected at large, other than a vacancy in the Office of Chairman, who is affiliated with a political party, the central committee of such political party shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy, until the Board of Elections and Ethics can hold a special election to fill such vacancy…” The fact the DCDSC is utilizing an open, public, and transparent election process to fill the vacancy should be applauded and supported.
In addition, just as ALL Americans who voted on Election day, November 6, 2012 a secret ballot, so too will members of the DCDSC who will vote to fill At-large vacancy on the Council of the District of Columbia, temporarily.
Some of the criticism of the District Democrats may be viewed as hard news and part of the political adversarial process. However, there is a tinge of “ism” – by race and sex in some of the criticism leveled at Ms. Bonds and District Democrats.
During a recent radio interview D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier was asked if the District was prepared for civil disturbance should President Obama lose his re-election against Republican presidential candidate former governor Mitt Romney? While Chief Lanier and D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray gave appropriate responses, the reporter’s question was nonetheless ridiculous, if not racist.
DCDSC Chairwoman Bonds is experienced, talented, competent, and highly qualified for any position she holds or seeks. Politics, community activism, and democracy are not easy. However, no journalist should be able to shield bigotry and racism under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The DCDSC is acting within its by-laws and the laws of the District of Columbia. Moreover, there is nothing which requires the DCDSC to vet any of its actions through a newspaper editorial board, journalist, political commentator, or de minimis local political party.
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For full disclosure, the writer is Chairman of the Ward 5 Democratic Committee.