cobb static



ed rollins




(from the archives - november 1993)

I think you're being paranoid. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and the fact that an action takes racial considerations into account does not necessarily mean that the action is racist. Assuming arguendo that Rollins et al did what they're said to have been done, the more likely explanation remains that their goal in doing so was to win the election, not to repress, oppress or suppress people based on their skin color.

Sometimes a cigar just stinks. The difficulty I see here is that people are trying to defend *by the wrong criteria* something that undeniably is offensive to black people. That this is an election, or a common tactic in elections is not a mitigating circumstance.

The simple matter is that someone came knowingly into a black community in an effort to suppress. This was not an effort of persuasion nor even a legitimate effort at dissuasion. It was an effort to foreclose a possibility.

I would ask someone who might know how much money was spent in this community on advertisements, billboards and the like. What were the bona fide efforts at *persuasion*? What convinced the strategist that such efforts where improper?

Obviously the point was to win the election. How do you win an election, as a Republican, with black voters? This is the operant question. What is Rollins' answer? Will he be asked that particular question?

I don't beleive he can come up with a credible answer. There are many sanitized questions that Rollins can be asked and likely will be asked. It is quite convenient for him to avoid the questions of his strategic planning with respect to the manner in which black communities *want* to be approached by political campaigns, by arguing that he is personally not a racist. And any argument that fans the flames on personal credibility on racial matters is already a textbook lesson in Republican evasion. They know how to deal with that. (I would bet a nickel that Mosely-Braun won her battle against Helms without once calling him a racist) Again the question lies not so much with the individual (And Rollins could become a convenient scapegoat) but with the strategy used in what everyone nationwide knew to be a critical campaign.

(Derek Bell writes in his latest book a scenario in which space aliens come to earth and offer unlimited electric power and gold to the United States in exchange for it's African American population. The trade is made but never with the intent of harming the black folks, but for the fact that it served the greater good. Hunger would be eliminated, as would unemployment, etc. In any 'cost justification' scenario the blacks lose. One wonders if those who see only see only cigars ever considered whose backs ache from picking the leaves or would they only prefer to see them as gifts to offer cronies in smoke filled rooms.)

In the end, the response from Whitman was to appear prominantly with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and reject an audience with the local NAACP. This suggests most forcfully that the appearance of black support is more important than authentic black support. Are we to believe that Republican rhetoric against those two can be instantaneously reversed? No, that was a mad scramble, showing further the lack of real support garnered by the Whitman campaign in black communities.

Rather than ask for a money trail -- which anybody who asserts this dirt is nothing new knows damn well will never be traced -- and try to find the traitorous black minister, wouldn't it be more reasonable to bring forth 'character witnesses' of the campaign? Or are there none to be found in the black communities in question? Certainly the emnity of the local NAACP does not bode well.