Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Eric Johnson, feminist of convenience.

Here, Bill Shipp defends Thurbert Baker's appeal in the Genarlow Wilson case. Normally, I'd be for that, but in this case, it's mostly a pretext to complain how unfair the national media is to us hicks:

Baker would defend the Wilson conviction and sentence in the appellate courts.

That's when the national media caught wind of the affair. It fit precisely into the national stereotype of pot-bellied cops arresting a hapless black kid and hauling him in front of a confused jury and a hateful white judge. When the national TV news outlets and papers mentioned Baker, they forget to say that he is a black Democrat. But what the heck! There's only so much time and space to tell this story, even if most non-Georgia viewers and readers are left to assume that Baker is just another mean old white prosecutor.

I'm not sure which news Bill Shipp reads, but from what I've read, Baker's full name might as well be "Attorney General Thurbert Baker Who Is African-American," for all the times it's been said.

Otherwise, Shipp notes Eric Johnson's defense of Georgia's so-called justice system. I hadn't read it, but as I expected, it conflates Genarlow Wilson's indictment for rape with his conviction for statutory rape. There's no mention of his acquittal on the charge of rape, nor any mention of the fact that his crime, were it committed today, would be a misdemeanor for which he'd serve at most one year, rather than the felony for which he is currently serving ten years. But he does mention that "[t]here is a Web site, a publicist and a limo for his attorney," and he reveals himself to be a nascent feminist, too:

Wilson is not the victim. A semi-conscious female and a minor girl were the victims. Society shouldn't wonder why females hesitate to charge 'rape.' They are portrayed as 'trash,' and the men are just doing what men do. Women should be outraged.

You go, Eric. Fight that patriarchy.

Still, I think we all know that a justice system that convicts a teenager for one crime and sentences him for another - for which he was acquitted, no less - is unjust. Rather than blame this victim of that injustice, perhaps Eric and the rest of the state legislature should return to the capitol and pass the Emanuel Jones' bill that would allow Genarlow Wilson and others like him to challenge their sentences in light of the changed law.

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Speaking of Bill Shipp and his spirited defense of our state's black folk, last week, he offered naught but concern over our state's support for Barack Obama, at least in terms of campaign contributions:

Obama blows the socks off his Democratic rivals in Georgia because he has attracted a solid wall of affluent African-American support. Georgia's Super-Duper Tuesday presidential primary is still seven months away, and trends may shift.

But barring a dramatic change in circumstances, Obama figures to win Georgia in a breeze.

That is bad news for Edwards, who obviously hoped to become the Southern-backed alternative Democrat to Hillary Clinton. Sorry, John. That dog just won't hunt in Oaky Woods. Black voters will vote for black candidates. The early financial disclosure for Obama reads like a who's who of black power and business (builder/developer Herman Russell, City Council President Lisa Borders, Andrew Young, etc.). And, of course, the African-American vote will control the Feb. 5 Democratic primary.

In recent statewide primaries, black voters have supported such luminaries as Jesse Jackson for president and Denise Majette for Senate, even though neither had a prayer of winning their respective elections. As soon as Atlanta became a majority-black voting city, it tossed out progressive white Mayor Sam Massell and rolled Maynard Jackson into City Hall.

The current mayor, Shirley Franklin, warned recently that whites may have returned to the city in such numbers that they could recapture the mayor's office. She asked her constituents not to forget the past progress made by blacks in public office and suggested that they continue their support of black candidates. Such is the 21st-century politics of race in a state that struggled for a hundred years to overcome the shackles of racist electioneering.

Oh, woe, that black voters might cast their lot with black candidates. Would they were more like white voters, who don't consider race when voting . . . yet somehow vote for a candidate of their own race more often than black voters. Really, Bill. The percentage of black voters who leave the booth without having cast a ballot for a white candidate - slightly lower or much, much lower than the percentage of white voters who leave the booth without having cast a ballot for a black one?

Then, there's the "luminaries" comment. No, Jesse Jackson and Denise Majette are not, say, Jimmy Carter. But then, neither were their white rivals - and if the choice were between Jesse Jackson, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and Gary Hart, then-recently outed adulterer, or between Denise Majette and Cliff Oxford, alleged spousal abuser, then it's hardly a surprise that anyone, black or white, would prefer Jackson's passion or Majette's decency. It's more a surprise that anyone would prefer anything else.

And that's at least as true of Barack Obama. The comparison to Majette and, to a lesser extent, Jackson, is ridiculous. The case for Obama is obvious; his experience, his record, his positions, his rhetoric, his fundraising, his polling: he's a winner. The elite of Georgia are wise to support him, and if he is the nominee, the nation would be wise to vote for him.

Of course, I think John Edwards would be better, but really, I think that's a question on which reasonable people can disagree.