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Politics of race alive and well in Southwest Georgia

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

Racism among future kings can only lead to no good.

— Bjork

Like clockwork, the comments started, no more than a few minutes after businesswoman B.J. Fletcher announced plans to run against incumbent Christopher Pike for a seat on the Albany City Commission.

Amid the shout-outs of support, some among the local bloggerati started weighing Fletcher’s chances in the Nov. 5 municipal election. Essentially, here was the gist of their conversation: What’s the black-white population split in Ward III?

Now, I’m neither so naive nor so stupid that I don’t realize how big an issue race is when it comes to Albany elections. (Or Albany business or Albany government or Albany entertainment or Albany culture or Albany education or Albany just walking around.)

But to take one particular political race and immediately diminish it to the number of black voters vs. the number of white voters is both ill-conceived and demeaning. Those who do so are guilty of belittling voters of all races who carefully weigh the qualifications of the candidates before deciding which to support.

These are some of the same people who claim President Obama won two terms in office because “all the blacks in this country voted for him just because he is black.” A couple of points: If Obama had gotten 100 percent of this country’s black vote (which he didn’t) and no other support, he would have lost in 2008 and 2012. Monumentally.

Republicans, apparently lured into thinking that George Bush’s two terms proved that America would continue to accept any level of incompetence as long as the status quo remained pretty much intact, lost to Obama both times because they put up two exceptionally bad candidates. The Karl Rove/GOP strategy of throwing as much money at a national candidate as possible and then slinging as much mud at his opponent as possible to see what sticks is a failed plan that will continue to fail until Republicans find a qualified candidate.

Certainly we’ve proved by re-electing over and over some of the worst politicians — black and white — in the history of local politics that race is indeed a factor when we go to the ballot box around here. But in a country — and especially in a region — that has yet to recover from the economic calamity brought on primarily by the white-collar crooks who are still laughing, unfazed by all the failed new regulations designed to keep them from doing so, all the way to their bank vaults, it’s hard to imagine anyone shallow enough to allow skin hue to determine which candidate best represents his or her interests.

I have a sneaking suspicion commenters who make such statements about “those people” who use race as a determining political factor are actually offering insight into the way they choose which candidates to support. Which begs the question: What right do you have to criticize someone else for doing the same thing you do?

As one who takes this profession and its requirements seriously, I plan to cover the campaign between Pike and Fletcher — and between Ivey Hines and Bobby Coleman and any other candidates who might surface — as fairly as possible. I think I know enough about the candidates to surmise that when they start those campaigns, they’re going to appeal to all voters in their wards. They’re not, I’m willing to bet, going to print up signs that proclaim “Vote for Me, I’m Black” or “Vote for Me, I’m the White Person.”

And I also am pretty confident there is a growing number of local voters that is going to look at the qualifications of the candidates and decide which one might best address their interests. And they’re going to vote for that person, no matter if his skin is black, white, yellow, red or any other hue.

Those who would do otherwise — those who would base their vote solely on skin color — not only demean the democratic process, they prove how truly ignorant they are.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.

Comments

Abytaxpayer 12 months ago

Carlton ....What rock have you been living under? Those who would base their vote solely on skin color — not only demean the democratic process, they prove how truly ignorant they are. Seriously you really think people are voting for candidates like JuneBug, Hines and the Piker because they are the best qualified? Or maybe you grew a pair and are really taking a stand against the uninformed (ignorant is not PC) voters.

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erock 12 months ago

Mr. Fletcher. Had Codaleeza Rice run for president, she would have gotten my vote. Obama didn't get my vote for one major reason. He wasn't able to convince me that he had any idea what he was doing when it came to foreign affairs, more specifically, dealing with terrorism. Turns out I wasn't wrong. Our allies are beginning to second guess us. When I say allies, I am not referring to Pakistan. They are anything but. I won't vote for any candidate that has never been in the Military, because veterans have some idea about leadership.

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RedEric 12 months ago

E rock, don't waste time talking facts with Fletch. He was born a poor black man in an old slave shack in the middle of a swamp so he knows all about race questions and problems.

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agirl_25 12 months ago

WOW...Fletch...seems like it is time for some of the bloggers to get on the bus, huh? We have been schooled...big time. I get what you are saying tho. Personally I DO think a lot of black voters in DoCo will vote for Pike because he is black and whites will vote for BJ, because she is white. But, in addition, I think a lot of blacks will vote for BJ because they see what a poor choice of a man they made in Pike. I mean, face it....if it was anyone else....would they get away with the crap he has gotten away with? Years ago I missed a $13.99 payment on a credit card either because the new rural carrier put it in a different box or just didn't deliver it or it got lost, and the company had a fit, demanding I pay immediately "OR ELSE"....hahaha. A lousy $13.99 and I get a threatening letter from he company...sheesh..and look at Pike's record. I don't live or vote in DoCo so you are probably saying "what business is it to you?". Well how about the fact that I do pay federal taxes and some of his finances that look kind of shady were the result of a portion of my tax dollar.

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agirl_25 12 months ago

PS....go back and read this one: http://www.albanyherald.com/news/2012... Fletch wrote it after the last major election when the BIG changes came to DCSS and it seems he was seen in a different light then.

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FryarTuk 12 months ago

Thanks for the reference, whatagirl. The two articles appear to be in tandem. It also seems to parallel your point - "I think a lot of blacks will vote for BJ because they see what a poor choice . . . they made in Pike(r)." I am with you all the way. Run James Taylor, Lem Edwards, Jon Howard and I would vote for them if they were running against any body because of their integrity, experience, and intelligence. In fact, looking at the entire group of county and municipal elected officials only Jeff Sinyard stands in their circle. There are some other good folks - Dot Hubbard, Lane Price for example but none that stand head and shoulders with them based on the 3 categories important to be a successful elected public servant. IMO. In fact, I think you could turn the county, city and DCSS over to those 5 people and not worry about a thing.

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FryarTuk 12 months ago

AH writer: "The Carl Rove/GOP . . . ." KARL Rove. Keep the Teutonic spelling for emphasis if not accuracy.

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Gollygee 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Almost two days later and they still haven't corrected their mistake. Have some pride Herald and fix what is wrong with your article. Is there an editor in the house?

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Sister_Ruby 12 months ago

"As one who takes this profession and its requirements seriously, I plan to cover the campaign between Pike and Fletcher — and between Ivey Hines and Bobby Coleman and any other candidates who might surface — as fairly as possible. I think I know enough about the candidates to surmise that when they start those campaigns, they’re going to appeal to all voters in their wards. They’re not, I’m willing to bet, going to print up signs that proclaim “Vote for Me, I’m Black” or “Vote for Me, I’m the White Person.”

C. Fletcher, please be sure to acquaint yourselves with the "code words" used on BOTH sides of the racial argument when you do your coverage. Here's a tip: The word "Community". It means very different things depending on who's using the word.

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lowercasejesus 12 months ago

Fletch, sounds like u will go to great lengths to convince people of your exceptional cultural diversity and understanding. Good for u. But white people got obama elected. Black people voted for him bc hes black. Thats the facts so if u feel like blacks in albany will be any different in local politics please tell us the source of this prediction.

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Jacob 12 months ago

"As one who takes this profession and its requirements seriously,"

Wow. Really?

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Cartman 12 months ago

Carlton, do you write this just to be a political provocateur or is your brain actually this mushy?

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rightasrain 11 months, 4 weeks ago

It's obvious that Fletcher has consumed his daily dose of Exlax; he's running off at the mouth again!

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chinaberry25 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey, he has to publish something to justify his salary and this sounded like a good enough topic. But all said and done, many of the black people are turning their votes to a white person who they like and think they will do a good job. We have seen on the local level, this is a more important vote than president. It affects your child's education as well as the laws of your county/city. Look at the Sheriff, and Postell made his diabolical statement about the black woman dropping out of the race. As long as you respect both races, then you have a good chance of winning both votes. And I do think BJ is liked in the community. Hubbard did not win by much and let's face it, she has been as lackluster as Obama.

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QUIK 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Most of the replies seems to back up your understanding that race is still the MAIN deciding factor in Albany. As for the presidential election, the nature of humans was for someone that is of the same race to get the vote of that race. The other VERY STRONG nature of humans (especially) in this area is to attack the person because they have a different viewpoint.
All of these points and views are opinions (including mine) so the debate will continue far beyond our lifetime. My only advice to those of you who think government, policy and race is very important, I say keep getting up every morning and one day it won't matter so much.

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AnotherMom 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Not too long ago, Mr. Fletcher stated we were not able to see past skin color to vote intelligently. Now he has done an about face and is ready to defend us. Wonder what happened?

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ThatsRight 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Carlton, I don't care about race. But I do care about whether a persons owes back taxes or other moneys. They should not run for office.

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