No such thing exists as a perfect politician. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are some decent ones popping up and making waves however. My curiosity begs the question of if the idea of Black President is a passing phase in history, or will leadership shrouded in color continue to move forward in dignity. If the latter be true, I hope each of these accomplished will be up for consideration.
Cory Booker: Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker is not afraid to take to the streets of his own city. He represents a type of politician long gone from the scene, one who actually gives a damn. Who gets out and touches the people he represents instead of making the tough calls from behind the safety and security of a desk. Booker puts his money where his mouth is.
This is a man who while obtaining his juris doctorate at Yale, launched free legal clinics for low-income residents of New Haven. From the time of his graduation from Yale Law in 1997 until he assumed the office of mayor he called one of Newark’s most infamous housing projects, Brick Towers, his home. He used the experience to organize the residents to fight for better living conditions.
Last fall Booker offered every Newark resident free flu shots. He holds regular office hours where any Newark resident can come and speak with him personally. He patrols the streets of Newark nightly; offers to help those coming home from jail find jobs. Some think Booker is crazy, even he acknowledges that he is. But sometimes crazy and visionary are interchangeable, as the Newark that Booker is working so diligently to rehab will is getting closer and closer to actualization.
Yvette D. Clarke: Will we ever live to see a Black Female President? A Senator perhaps? Yvette D. Clark representing New York’s 11th district is one of few new Black and female faces on Capitol Hill. She took office after winning 89% of the vote in the September 2006 general election and now holds the seat once helmed by Shirley Chisholm. Her public service efforts include and AIDS/HIV task force legislation to have minority and female owned businesses considered for the granting of government contracts. Clarke has proved her aptitude by being the only member of the house to vote against renaming Ellis Island Library after Bob Hope, who is a native of the UK.
Most recently she was named Chairwoman of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cyber security and Science and Technology and her FAST Redress Act passed the House for the second time. This legislation will require the Department of Homeland Security to create a redress process by creating a “comprehensive cleared list.” As it stands now, any individual who feels they have been misidentified as a terrorist will now have an opportunity to provide the government with information, which can be used to have their name added to the cleared list, “allowing them the freedom that Americans have come to expect,” says Rep. Clarke.
Adrian Fenty: At age 37 and by far one of our nation’s youngest mayors, Adrian Fenty truly represents the next generation in Black American politics. It is widely reported one in 50 DC district citizens is infected with AIDS. AIDS is the top tenet in Mayor Fenty’s health program. He’s a married father of three, wife also named Michelle, and widely dispels the mythical and stereotypical Black man pop media prefer to continue to promote.
Like the girl at church your mother warned you about, Fenty’s fatal flaw is that he’s too fast. He has alienated many in DC. He is viewed as one who handles the job of mayor as a dictator with limitless rule. His overwhelming victory as a candidate, Fenty won every single precinct in DC, marks him as a true mayor of and for the people. He is less concerned about age-old bureaucratic processes that have done little in the past when it comes to progress. For this he takes proverbial lumps. Like others of his generation, who saw the generation before beg to be at the table, Fenty is kicking the table and building his own, allowing DC residents a chance at long last to sit down and eat. In DC it seems this is regarded by the old guard as disrespect-Fenty’s fast track approach to action. DC like many other urban towns is beleaguered with a range of social deviations inclusive of crime, healthcare, job loss, homelessness, education and the like. It is Fenty who is moving to solve them.
Kevin Powell: Kevin Powell will always be remembered for his role as a cast mate in the first Real World NYC almost two decades ago. Yet, he set another city benchmark when he shook up the Congressional race to represent New York’s 11th district. Leading up to the actual election, Powell was notified by the FEC that he would have to suspend his campaign due to an improper registration as a Congressional candidate. Powell, who is also a noted journalist, activist and highly demanded speaker. emanated great passion and enthusiasm during his campaign to unseat incumbent Ed Towns.
He has used his celebrity to promote social healing through hip-hop, and his work with the nonprofit SafeHorizon, which aids homeless teens living on the streets of New York. Powell continues to give back now through his latest book “The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life.” Powell cites in his work with youth that he was constantly being asked by men of all ages, what books, what music, should we be listening to? This book was an answer to all the questions Powell has encountered. After losing the race to Towns who had held the seat for thirteen terms, Powell announced he would run for office again. With Kevin Powell as president, things may get a little too real.