Monday, August 18, 2008
Atlanta's Financial Crisis Propaganda: The Actor-vists Fight For Fire Station #7 But Leave Racial Rhetoric Out Of Their Attacks
Please note the spirited protests by members of the community against Shirley Franklin the Democratic mayor of Atlanta.
I 100% assure you that if this mayor was White or a Republican of any color these same protesters would be using the issue of RACE in their protest rhetoric. Fire Station #7 is within the historic West End section of Atlanta. This is a majority Black district that is close to "The West End Mall" and the Atlanta University Center.
Facing a $149 million budget shortfall the mayor decided to close #7 and allow neighboring fire stations to cover the West End community as a means of cost cutting. The community erupted at the decision. The primary issue was made out to be "public safety". Those extra one or two minutes necessary for equipment and rescue personnel to arrive on the scene could be one or two minutes to late.
My goal is not to argue one point or the next regarding the balance between public safety and financial realities. My goal is to inspect the tactics of the PROTESTERS and the rhetoric they use or CHOOSE NOT TO USE.
I have lived in the Atlanta area for nearly 20 years. If there is one thing I have seen it is community protests. This current crop of protesters has elements of "The Concerned Black Clergy" as well as other community activist elements involved. If they are true to their record then RACE should be brought forth as an essential element of this closure which, in their view has "put people's lives at risk". Borrowing from their past rhetoric "there were no fire stations in Buckhead that were closed". (Buckhead is the wealthy White area of the city).
Yes you may say that I am building a straw man in that I am holding these activists accountable for what they DID NOT SAY. Again - I know them well and the ABSENCE of their use of certain rhetoric is what has me astonished. In my view this would be like the woman in church who has an emotional fit EVERY WEEK and then speaks in toungues each Sunday when the preacher she likes takes the platform. When the assistant pastor who she has had previous conflicts takes the pulpit and thus doesn't like delivers the exact same sermon and yet this same woman sits sternly in place without as little as an "Amen" coming out of her mouth and attributes the difference in behavior to the fact that "the SPIRIT did not hit her" this time - you'd notice that something is different in her pattern - right? Well this is where I am coming from.
Shirley Franklin is a liberal Democrat. These protesters are liberal Democrats. The city council is made up of a super majority of Democrats. Despite their battles with the mayor - they all are of the same side of the same coin. I am not saying that their homogeneous party membership makes them unable to call a spade a spade. What I am saying is that their lack of interest to DESTROY THEIR COMMON BOND allows them to put aside the over the top rhetoric about race due to the target not being the "low hanging fruit" of a Conservative White Republican who "does not care about the safety of the Black community".
Thus SAME ACTION - the closure of a fire station within a Black community - VASTLY DIFFERENT response from the Usual Suspects.
(Side note - Again it is ironic that Shirley Franklin was a part of the "Gang of 3" who made a racially tinged commercial in support of the Black Democratic candidate running for Fulton County board chairman. Franklin, John Lewis and Andrew Young made a commercial which claimed that if the Republican guy was elected 'the fire hoses and police dogs would return'. Oddly enough the previous holder of the seat was a Republican and the City of Atlanta has more fire and police men in their ranks than does the county which only services unincorporated portions of the county. Thus the most likely 'police and fire man attackers' of Black folks in Fulton County would be under the command of Mayor Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, not the Fulton County Board chair. Since when did Andy Young who fires off these type of commercials each and every election care about LOGIC and REALITY as he makes his appeal to the emotions of the Democratic voters?)