Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Oh, to be 35 and American
After all, that's all it seems to take to run for President. The Democratic field has grown by one more today with the announcement by former Senator Carol Moseley Braun of an exploratory committee (here). As if having Al Sharpton in the race was not embarassing enough, here comes the ethically challenged Braun.

Apparently, the only real qualification one needs to throw their hat into the Democratic ring is sheer megalomania and chutzpah. How anyone can view Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton as anything but a sideshow freak is amazing. But let's dispense of the man in the velour sweat suit. What about Braun? While she was the first African American woman elected to the US Senate, she had an unremarkable term. That's right, term. How many members of Congress can say they served one term? Braun was not only ousted after one term, but she was beaten by the Senate's dimmest bulb and most vulnerable incumbent in 2004 (Peter Fitzgerald). This was the result of her ethical lapses and her inability to get anything done for the people of Illinois.

What's worse was her willful ignorance of the plight of Nigerians during her term. The Senator visited the country and paid homage to its dictator, claiming that she saw nothing wrong in the country. This was despite reports from many international human rights organizations and Nigerian dissidents. But Braun was content to be a useful idiot for the despotic General Abacha.

Beyond the effect on the Democratic Party at large, what about the effect on African Americans. What does it say when the two black candidates for President have such checkered pasts? While people like Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. are trying to create a post racial path for African American politicians, people like Braun and Sharpton are setting back the cause for generations. If only they could put aside their delusions and think about the future of their race, their party and their country.


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