November 28, 2017 12:12 PM
I was almost a quiet hypocrite. After a lot of thought about the Atlanta mayoral run-off, it occurred to me that I was almost as guilty as the type of voters I distain. I am a City of Atlanta property owner, business owner, tax payer, but I am not a resident – which makes it easy for me to stand on this soap box and free myself from my own unintended hypocrisy. The question is, are City of Atlanta voters willing acknowledge their own hypocrisy? Let’s explore this.
I am not a fan nor jump up-and-down for either candidate in the Atlanta mayoral run off, but in the world of politics you only get to choose one. Why was I hesitant about Mary Norwood? We are all well aware of Kesha Lance-Bottoms ethical issues. Her double city paycheck which is a clear conflict of interest, her failure to pay her water bill for several years while also purchasing a million-dollar Martha’s Vineyard estate, her ties to Reed and the Federal ethics probe, her questionable donors, and the list goes on. I do not know of any ethical issues for Norwood. If I am a person who puts ethics in government before all other factors why hesitate about Norwood?
Unlike many voters, I’ve had direct experiences with both women in their official capacity as councilwomen. My personal interactions with both of the candidates alone should have made my support a no brainer. Mary Norwood was responsive, transparent, helpful, and available. Over the last 12 years I have seen Norwood at meetings and events, big and small, on every side of town. She was always knowledgeable on city issues and made her resources available. My experience with Keisha Lance-Bottoms is remarkably different. Her office never returned calls, they reneged on several appearances in her own district with no explanation or prior notice, she herself has been outright rude to citizens in public forums, and she spent city resources to lie to residents outside of the city about annexation. Knowing all of this I still hesitated!
Could I not support Mary Norwood because she’s being pegged as Republican? Is party politics more important to me than good ethics and good judgment? If the answer to those questions were yes then I had to admit to myself I am no better than the supporters of Roy Moore.
Maybe I didn’t immediately support Mary Norwood because she wasn’t the black candidate. Checking my history, I had no problem looking past the race of Stacey Abrams and choosing to vocally support Stacey Evans because I know she is the better candidate for Governor. Therefore, the race of the candidates themselves couldn’t be my issue. Maybe the difference is the pressure to support the “black slate.” It has been framed that the election of a white mayor will make Atlanta lose its “black power.” The prosperous African American community is one of the things I love most about the metro area. I realized it is not realistic to think that despite all the African American owned businesses, all the African American residents, and the African American history of this city that simply not having a black person as mayor will suddenly zap all the black power. If that is the case then there is really not black power in Atlanta!
Maybe I didn’t choose Mary Norwood because she doesn’t come across as savvy and well thought out about issues of gentrification and excessive force by the police. Those things are extremely important to me and there is a chance Norwood would make decisions I don’t agree with in those areas. However, it is a guarantee Kesha Lance bottoms will continue the path of Reed and do things I don’t agree with. There is a big difference between someone who “may not” do what I don’t like and someone who is guaranteed and proven she will take any unethical measures necessary to win and support her homie Reed.
I cannot say for certain right now why I originally hesitated when the choice was clear. It could have been party politics, racial politics, concern about backlash from the black Atlanta community, or because I really don’t get excited for either candidate. However, in the midst of this consideration the news began to obsess over Roy Moore and his accusers. It was perplexing how people who identify themselves as Republicans will still choose to vote for him despite the accusations of pedophilia against him. What type of person will ignore the clear ethical problems and vote for a bad candidate anyway? What is the difference in supporting a candidate to keep black power and supporting a candidate to keep the “Christian values” in office? There is no comparing pedophilia to failure to pay water bills, HOA fees, and taxes but there is a clear comparison between voters who are ignoring obvious red flags in the name of partisan politics.
The same exact principle applies to the Atlanta Mayoral race. KLB has shown it in every action she has taken from the moment she got an office she plans on doing what she wants and does not care what white Atlanta, black Atlanta, rich Atlanta, or poor Atlanta has to say about it. There’s no reason for us to believe anything different. If you have paid your full water bill over the last several years and you vote for someone who hasn’t because she reportedly struggled to pay, but at the same time she purchased a million dollar estate in Martha’s Vineyard, then you are voting for other reasons and you should admit to yourself what those reasons are.
For those who have real stories of KLB doing something, knowing her from elementary school, or seeing her at your church you may have a basis outside of her unethical behavior. Others who know Norwood and have direct personal reasons to vote against her, that is fine too. But if your vote comes down to literally black and white or Democrat and Republican … you need to check yourself.
It is every voter’s right to prioritize their personal voting interest. If race or party come first in your evaluation that is your choice. But you should know that if you can look past the ethical issues that the black democrat has solely because of her identifiers then you are doing the exact same thing the Roy Moore voters are. They are looking past the fact he preyed on children because he is a Republican. If you criticized Moore voters but are still choosing to vote for Lance-Bottoms despite her issues, you are a hypocrite. You get to choose your candidate but you also must accept that you are equally as bad the people who continue to elect Roy Moore.
This is not an endorsement of a candidate in the Atlanta mayoral race. This is an opinion. An endorsement encourages voters to select a particular candidate. I don’t care who you choose. My purpose is to challenge voters to question their core beliefs as I had to do myself. Do you belong in the same basket as Roy Moore’s deplorables?