Now designated “Person of the Year”
The great secret of identity politics lies in its capacity to convince people to continue to vote for self-destructive policies and to overlook the shortcomings of their elected officials. Convince the voters that their woes are all do to the work of some group of outsiders and they will circle the wagons and express their solidarity, ignoring the fraud, corruption and incompetence around them. It is an age old trick, but it has perhaps been perfected as an artform by big city Democratic mayors in American cities. Decade after decade they maintain their grip on power, based on the almost universal support of black voters who look past the chaos, crime, and decay around them and focus on fighting “systemic racism” and “white privilege.”
There are a great many practitioners of this art in America today. Perhaps the most skilled is Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, D.C. She was, in fact, just named by Afro News, a 128-year-old black publication as its “Person of the Year.” Why? Apparently, because she used taxpayer funds to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” on a public street.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser did something last year that “changed the world.” On June 5, she renamed the portion of 16th Street N.W. that leads to the White House, “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” Her efforts in the nation’s capital reverberated around the world, and that is why the AFRO editorial board selected Mayor Bowser as the publication’s inaugural “Person of the Year.”
By any actual measure of accomplishment, Mayor Bowser has been a monumental failure. Her city remains hopelessly divided and in deep economic trouble. Those largely white professionals who work for the federal government and have access to sufficient resources to buy up rowhouses and rehabilitate them are doing fine. Everyone else is in desperate straits with no relief in sight.
Earlier this year, WalletHub did a study of racial inequalities in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. In a whole host of categories, D.C. ranked dead last or close to it.
Racial Equality in D.C.’s Economy (1=Most Equality; 25=Avg.):
• 51 – Median annual income
• 51 – Labor-force participation rate
• 51 – Unemployment rate
• 43 – Poverty rate
• 51 – Homeless rate
• 51 – Share of executives
There are, in effect, two Washington D.C.’s. One is composed of mostly white professionals who are doing quite well. The other 48% of the city’s residents, the blue-collar black residents, are being completely failed by the city and the Mayor. The divisions are striking.
Unemployment amongst blacks is significantly higher. Most employed blacks work in the lowest-paying jobs. While average income in the city increases steadily, wages for blacks remain stagnant. In 2018, black median household income in D.C. was slightly over $45,000. The median income for white households was $142,500, more than three times higher.
Predictably enough, murders skyrocketed in D.C. in 2020. The latest statistics show 206 individuals were murdered through the end of the year. That puts the homicide rate at the highest it has been in at least fifteen years. As in Chicago the violence is indiscriminate. In early December 2020 a one-year-old boy was killed when someone opened fire on the car in which he was riding.
Other violent crimes have increased dramatically as well. Assault with a dangerous weapon is up 5 percent, and motor vehicle theft has jumped by 47 percent.
In large measure the failure of the city government to address the concerns of its most vulnerable residents may be due to the fact that the Mayor has other priorities. She has repeatedly touted her push to build new affordable housing units. Repeated corruption allegations and investigations suggest, however, that the city’s primary focus is on steering construction contracts to companies, which then make large campaign donations to the Mayor and ensure she remains firmly in power. When confronted with such allegations Mayor Bowser’s standard Bidenesque response has been to refuse to answer any questions and to dismiss all accusations as conspiracy theories trotted out by her political opponents.
This is the record of Afro News’ “Person of the Year.” She has failed by any measure, save one. She has retained her grip on power.
Ironically, enough, even the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement for which Bowser professes support recognizes her failure as a leader and the transparent hypocrisy of her claims to stand for the value of black life. Comenting on Bowser’s appearance at the Democratic National Convention and her introduction of George Floyd’s family, BLM D.C. organizer April Goggans had this to say.
The fact that Mayor Bowser is introducing George Floyd’s family is disgusting. And that’s where we should be talking, and she did it on purpose, overlooking Black Lives Matter Plaza. All of these things are made to actually distract, make other people who don’t earn the right of talking about Black Lives Matter look like they’re leading it.April Goggans, BLM D.C.
It’s hard to imagine, but BLM and I actually agree on this point. Bowser – like so many of her big city mayor counterparts – has no interest whatsoever in improving the lives of the people who pay her salary. She knows, though, that as long as she can point to someone else – in this case racist, white America – as the villain she can hope to continue to remain in power and avoid all responsibility for her failures.
Sorry, Afro News, she may have painted the pavement, but she failed her city.