Hey, why not? That's the Madison way, isn't it? Throw it up against the wall, see if it sticks. Watch the recipient stammer, deny, invoke past good deeds, swear to no incorrect thoughts, do a Winston Smith.
It's Joe McCarthyism, updated.
I write this provocative headline because Brenda Konkel has turned the racism card face up, as the Left is wont to do so promiscuously.
The former Progressive Dane alder (that sensitive, gender-neutral term used hereabouts) has accused current Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele, a refugee from Vietnam, of racism most foul. Thuy's sin? Speaking frankly to power, and damning the oh-so-politically correct verbal pirouettes of the day.
Some background: Thuy took the lead, along with Ald. Jed Sanborn, to reform Madison's liberal curfew ordinance, which allows youth of all ages to loiter without adult supervision as late as 11 p.m. on school nights. She acted after constituents complained about loud and foul language at Flad Park and elsewhere on the southwest side of town. The language was well within earshot of young children trying to study or get to sleep in their homes. The curfew amendment - to move up the curfew hour by one meager hour - was rejected by the Common Council.
When earlier Ald. Thuy objected to being pulled from an important city committee by a vindictive mayor, former Ald. Brenda Konkel blogged about Thuy that:
"No one wants to listen to what might come out of her mouth, except that it might be mildly entertaining and have a certain incredibility/horror factor."
Yesterday, Dane 101 reported that smear
... apparently wasn't enough for the former alder, who ... pushed the envelope even further by using her Facebook status - which can be viewed by nearly 750 "friends" - to attack Pham-Remmele. She charged that the District 20 alder is a "racist."
When asked to explain, Konkel wrote, "When debating Allied Drive, she said made reference to people being more worried about braiding their hair and doing their fingernails than taking care of their kids. Then there was the comment about low income people needing to eat hot dogs instead of lobster ... and the one about the low income people who don't know who their fathers are used during the curfew debate And her odd comments about the 'dark side' ..."
"The dark side"? Thuy said when she introduced the ordinance amendment, "I co-sponsored this ordinance with Alder Jed Sanborn to keep youth from staying out late, especially on school nights, to protect vulnerable juveniles from the dark side as well as to curb negative activities that affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods."
Nowhere is this invective more than here in Madison. Get backed into a rhetorical corner, have the facts arrayed against you, get impaled by the reality on the ground mocking your lofty positions - not to worry. Reach for the "R" word. It's the equivalent of dousing the lights and running off with the other guy's poker winnings.
Of course, Ald. Thuy has incurred the enmity of the Left power structure here before. She began by derailing Mayor Cieslewicz's pet trolley plan. She insisted that policing our neighborhoods was a higher priority, with result. Police Chief Noble Wray used Thuy's political cover to demand - and get - 30 more police, double the number the mayor had requested. Thuy has fought the boondoggle of the city's ventures into real estate development at Allied Drive. That is why the Mayor violated his own 10-years-and-out rule to remove Thuy from the influential Community Development Block Grant commission.
Now she's assigned to monitor street food vending carts. I could have fun with that if I wanted to play my own "Gotcha Racist" game. Get it? Vietnamese, street vending carts. "You want egg roll?"
Characteristically, Thuy is making no such claim.
I asked Thuy for a response. She notes that she is the only person of color on the Common Council. This is the edited for brevity:
Although both Ms. Kathleen Falk and Mr. Cieslewicz give lip service to 'Diversity' they vehemently sabotage it at every opportunity. During my first campaign they mailed thousands of joint official letters imploring all District 20 voters, "to do everything possible to send Gary Poulson (my opponent) to the City Council, because we need Gary's experience." Had they been successful the Common Council would have been all white.
I quoted my 3 decades teaching at MMSD schools where these "unwanted" children, neglected like accidental baggage, have been shuffled & bused around without an adult in their life. ... I suggested that Community Development Authority, instead of building condos with amenities people can ill afford, should first consider securing some basic services within walking distance such as an elementary school, a branch library, a grocery store. Allied Drive residents have been shortchanged for decades by people with "good intention that pave the way to hell ..."
I felt the same watching Matt Veldran, Carousel Bayrd, and Bert Zipperer testify 100% strongly against the proposed Curfew Ordinance. Anyone privileged to see testimonies sloppily written by these teens demanding their "freedom" & "Civil Rights", declaring that, "No cop should have any business to stop and ask me how old I am" can see the obvious needs for these youth to spend more time doing homework instead.
For parents of teenagers to declare they, "feel comfortable with our kids staying out at all hours" is not only stupid but irresponsible. I wish them luck, lots of it. I appealed to adults' responsibilities in protecting our vulnerable children from "the dark side of the street. i.e drugs & sex, teen-aged prostitution..." it has nothing to do with colors whatsoever.!!
For me to be branded "racist" is lower than low ...
Here's the real racism
Now, let me go Thuy one better.
I was myself accused of racism when I took on a certain Dane County supervisor who disrupted meetings and threatened to kill county employees. Yep, I - me, moi - was the bad guy. Go figure.
When slapped with the "R" word by one Progressive Dane stalwart I retorted that I marched with Father Groppi in the late 1960s. "Who's he?" the youngster asked.
I never again bothered to defend myself against spurious charges. You want to accuse racism - file formal charges with any of the multitude of commissions, boards, panels etc. and be ready with proof - or shut the hell up.
I'll tell you what is racist: making excuses for unacceptable behavior based on race presumptions. As well meaning as you think you are, you do no one any favors by excusing indolence, foul language, loud noise, petty harassment, littering, or other anti-social behavior. Young people were meant to have adult guidance. It is the nanny state to tell adults they cannot smoke or eat too many potato chips.
Controlling and giving purpose to young people is called civilization. If the parents cannot do it, the community must step in - for its own protection and for the good of the young people.