Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dianne Limps Back to Golden Dome

Lessons abound following yesterday's full recount that affirmed incumbent Dianne Wilkerson's primary victory in the Second Suffolk Senate race. Lead challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz ended up 767 votes short out of 12,933 in the 10 wards.

A Superior Court Justice ordered the full recount, which ran all yesterday until 9 p.m.

The Globe quoted
Wilkerson as, "I hope now we can move on." The irony in that statement is likely lost on the speaker. She has weighed herself with so much legal and scandal baggage from her personal life, every step will be leaden -- and watched.

Chang-Diaz at last conceded, thanking all involved. More significantly, she got to play the good-government guardian all the way. As the Herald has it:
"Although the final outcome was not exactly as we hoped, I believe the recount process has ensured that every citizen in this district has won something: faith in our voting process," lead challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz said. "And that alone has been worth the extra time and effort of the past week."
Wilkerson's true believers are wont to call Chang-Diaz an opportunist for hopping in the sticker campaign when Wilkerson couldn't be bothered to get the 300 signatures to get on the primary ballot. Of course, Wilkerson then became an opporunist herself in the same race.

Her great legislative record now reeks of association with her personal life. (Look later today for a final, we hope, piece on evaluating Wilkerson.)

So this whole process has elevated newcomer Chang-Diaz on the local political scene. We hope to chat with her about this and certainly expect her to try to become a player.

In that vein, an important, albeit cynical, lesson from all this is how Wilkerson has been surviving both the election and her various convictions and disgraces. This screams loudly that she is in effect an old boy of the network fame. She's been in power for over a decade. She's been involved in important legislation. Many lawmakers, political organizations, and voters see her as doing well for them. In self-interest, they have supported and will support her until she makes that impossible.

Unless an angel of wisdom or self-control visits her, Wilkerson is likely to make supporting her impossible. She barely managed to do that this time.

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Anonymous said...

I'm a new comer to this site and must admit that I enjoy reading all of the opinions offered here. In reading about Wilkerson, I realized how much people despise her, although I am unclear as to why that is the case. As a Black woman I am not one to use the race card as a way to make excuses for someone's indiscretions being brought to light. What I do know is that Wilkerson has clearly had many issues in her personal life (to put it lightly) but she has never neglected the needs of her constituents who spoke loud and clear when they voted for her during the primary. While I don't know the race/ethnicity of everyone here...I can say that race is always an underlying factor in everything. People who don't understand White privilege will forever argue that race is irrelevant when in actuality race influences the way in which our great democratic country is run. It seems to be that the majority of Wilkerson’s steadfast supporters are of Color. Blogs that refer to her supporters as being stupid and/or ignorant to politics are insulting. White people have been loyal to each other since the beginning of time, which is how the wealth and power amongst Whites has been perpetuated in this country for hundreds of years. While I believe in the freedom of speech, some of the articles that I have read have been down right nasty and cruel, one blog that I read commented and how Chang-Diaz looked like a model and Wilkerson was frumpy. Let us just stick to the facts people! Yes, Wilkerson has had some significant turmoil in her life, despite this, she has been able to advocate for the best interest of her constituents. That is the truth plain and simple, no matter how many times the Globe and other papers repeat her offenses and refer to Wilkerson as a felon to get a rise out of the readers. Please tell me what is wrong with being loyal to someone who has always had your back when no one else was listening. Please don’t be upset because the system that was set up by the people and for the people worked in Wilkerson’s favor. You say that Wilkerson is “an old boy of the network fame” and I agree with you. The difference between Wilkerson and other members of the club is this; Wilkerson earned her way into the club by being brilliant in her own right, unlike a lot of the others whose privilege gained them access to the club. What we should be talking about is how it’s not a coincidence that several hundred ballots that gave Wilkerson several hundred more votes were mysteriously misplaced. Let’s not forget that a recount gave her a few hundred more. All I am saying is this; everyone has a right to free speech, but before you speak, question your motives and intentions behind every word of what you say.

Anonymous said...

Please stop with the race card. Corrupt is corrupt. Look at the facts. She is a liar and a thief and she should not represent anyone of any color with her criminal history. YOU make it a race issue. "White privilege"? Stop it. its the constant race issue that still leaves divisions Wilkerson has repeatedly shown that she is corrupt and untrustworthy. I don’t care if he is green purple white black. Corrupt white pols do not usually gain re-election. Why can’t this district find another viable candidate? A viable black candidate. A viable Latino candidate. A viable white candidate? You know why? Because of REVERSE racism. Certain factions are going to vote for dirty Dianne because they feel she is singled out because she is a black woman. She is singled out because she is a CORRUPT politician. Does anyone remember Marion Barry? How did that work out in DC? He was re-elected after being caught ON VIDEO SMOKING CRACK WITH A HOOKER. Time to wake up and stop reelecting people for spite. It gets you no where. To all of you who will respond angrily to my post let me ask you this question. Tell me all the positive things dirty d has done for her district. What are her views on the murders happening on the streets of her district? Why have I never seen her at a march for peace, or peace summit? What has she done OTHER THAN TO GET HERSELF IN ONE MESS AFTER ANOTHER?

AnnEM said...

Wilkerson's situation calls out intense and powerful issues, for sure. I am a white woman community health nurse/social justice activist with 2 small kids. The "Wilkerson issue" provides opportunities for both individual and collective (as in community-wide) growth. The prior 2 commentors make honest and valid points. They are not mutually exclusive, nor are their conclusions. They are based upon lived experiences. In my heart and my head I've been all over the map about this situation. I ultimately voted for Chang-Diaz and supported my husband's desire to volunteer on her campaign while I did double-duty child care plus work.

Wilkerson fights hard on many issues but not all the ones I have hoped and asked and expected her to fight for, at least in some way (not everything can be her top issue). She cameout against, yes against, the clean elections law and never articulated a sound or believable reason for her anti-democratic position. That campaign finance reform law was passed as part of citizen-led effort to make gov't more participatory and responsive to ordinary people's needs, especially those people whose needs are repeatedly trampled upon. Additionally, from my lived experience as a DW constituent, she did not stand up and testify alongside many legislators who did to enact a consitutional guarantee to equitable health care for all. Corporate power-brokers and co-opted advocacy groups have been cutting deals with legislators to derail and kill the health care amendment and DW has not uttered a peep about it. I along with many other activists are trying hard to "keep our eyes on the prize" and sort through what the DW situation means in relation to that larger social goal that includes many issues. Is it crazy to hope that maybe this mess could lead to an increased understanding of and respect for each-other's perspectives and beliefs--especially across racial and economic gorups--, and to see the imperative to embody a commitment to build solidarity. Solidarity that will not be broken. Solidarity based on a rock solid commitment to come together to work together for policies and politicians guided by social justice, distributive justice and equality in all dimensions of human life.