Is it us or have the past couple weeks been a shame spiral for some notable black politicians? Ok, maybe that’s not fair to say as they have yet to be given due process but seriously…what’s with all the scandals? New York Governor David Paterson has been implicated in three separate scandals including alleged domestic abuse, alleged inappropriate interactions with staff (e.g. ka-noodling) and allegedly accepting kick backs a la Yankees World Series Tickets. Yikes! Not to be outdone, Congressman Charles Rangel, who has represented Harlem since 1971, stands accused of falsely disclosing his personal assets, failing to pay federal income taxes on a vacation property, and renting rent-stabilized apartments in Harlem at rates far below market value, despite rules prohibiting House members from accepting gifts that cost above $50.
Al Sharpton and several other prominent activists and black politicians recently gathered in Harlem to demonstrate a showing of support for Governor David Paterson (despite several members of Paterson’s own staff stepping down). If you look at the track record of politicians with salacious scandals, Democrats and Republicans alike, both Gov. Paterson’s and Congressman Rangel’s alleged misgivings could be seen as “politicians as usual”. Chicago Tribune writer Clarence Page addresses the need for black politicians to have high standards during a recent interview on NPR. Some would argue that the historic presence of the first black President brings an incredible amount of scrutiny for all black politicians and consequently an even greater amount of responsibility to display some decorum or “home training” to put it plainly.
What do you think Vyne readers, should black politicians be holding themselves to a higher moral standard with the Obamas in office?