This September a new D.C. Council chairman will be selected in the primaries (the District is a one-party city, didn’t you know? If you want your vote to count, you must register as a Democrat). And the new council chair is either going to be at-large councilman Kwame Brown or former Ward 5 councilman Vincent Orange.
Our daily rag does a good job of profiling them, but still, not much separates the two in my mind, in terms of an edge. Brown’s got his massive debt; the Post’s picture of Orange paints him as bit unpredictable. I don’t think “Transit!” like I do when I think of Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) or “Mayor for life!” like I do of Marion Barry.
But something under the surface did catch my eye: Orange is also said to have a taste for the good stuff, like Brown and his boats and luxury cars, except in the form of lavish parties and lavish pay raises. This is odd to me. The ideal city-level politician should be humble and understated, or at least SEEM that way; basically the picture Bryan Weaver is trying to paint of himself in the following video as he tries to unseat Jim Graham in Ward 1.
Isn’t a politician a public servant? That may be an outdated term, but I don’t know of many servants that make their own parking spaces or hand out contracts to their boys. True politicians must use their power, but why for stuff like that? The lowly peons do not enjoy that type of behavior.
How about this: Just prove you are like me. You struggle between cooking your dinner and getting Popeye’s; you worry about getting your car registered on time. You can have more money. But do you understand what is important to me, and especially the plight of those worse off than me?
A public servant who needs luxury cars and a boat or their own bike brigade…they just don’t seem like they are living in the same city I see every day. And that’s a shame. Politics may be all about image, but shouldn’t that image take the form of what voters want to see?