One of the heroes of Jimmy Breslin's lucid and wonderful Watergate book is the late John Doar, the chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee's investigation into the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Under Doar's implacable propriety, Breslin wrote, lurked "a terribly fierce 15-round fighter."
One of the bits of evidence cited by Breslin in defense of this insight was a moment during the height of the Civil Rights Movement when Doar, alone, walked through downtown Montgomery, Alabama, right past the diner where Governor George Wallace used to eat his breakfast. He stared down all the hot stares from the people on the sidewalk in front of the diner. "'Morning, ladies," Doar said to the angry women. Montgomery had a war zone for a heart back in those days. And now it has an African-American mayor. From AL.com:
Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed defeated television station owner David Woods in Tuesday’s runoff, far exceeding his margin in the first election six weeks ago. Reed will be sworn in Nov. 12. With 46 of 48 precincts in, Reed had 32,511 votes, or 67%. Woods had 15,891 votes, or 33%.
In a city known as the cradle of the Confederacy and home to some of the key events and leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., the election Tuesday was another important moment. Speaking to cheering supporters packed shoulder-to-shoulder at a victory party, Reed talked about uniting the city and helping it reach its potential.
“We have been focused from day one about the things that make us better, the things that unite us,” Reed said. “And this is what I see in this crowd, and this is what I see in the results of tonight is a unified Montgomery. And let the record show that.”
This is a rare bit of unqualified good news, and we should all be happy about it for a number of reasons. It's fair to look at this as part of the continuum that began with the election of Doug Jones to the Senate in 2017. Right now, in the deepest part of the Deep South, the cities of Jackson, Mississippi (Chokwe Lumumba); Birmingham, Alabama (Randall Woodfin); and now Montgomery, Alabama, all have African American mayors, all of whom were elected the way mayors are always elected: on the issues of schools and potholes and safe streets. (Also, all of those mayors are Democrats.) But the laughing subtext of historical irony makes the situation one of the few really bright spots of the current political moment. At least they don't have the problems currently plaguing Jacob Frey, the Democratic mayor of Minneapolis.
The president is dropping by the city on Thursday for one of his periodic angry wank-fests at the Target Center, which is the venue in which this event will be inflicted upon the Twin Cities. (And, just as an aside, given the events of the past 10 days, this one should be a doozy.) Other Minneapolis folk are planning an extensive unwelcoming party outside the arena, which necessarily would require increased security, which is expensive. So, realizing that it was dealing with a notorious deadbeat—in keeping with his customary business plan, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago has stiffed 10 cities this year for bills relating to security costs that total almost a million bucks—the company that provides the security for the Target Center wants the president*'s campaign to shell out more than $500,000.
This has sent the president* into a Twitter tantrum against Frey, who seems not to be that impressed by it. Right from when the visit was announced, Frey has been jabbing at the president*'s ego. From the Star-Tribune:
“Our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city — and this country — great,” Frey said. “While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”
It is a mayor's lot to deal with out-of-state troublemakers. Always has been.
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