Mayor’s team plays the race card, of course

Let’s agree there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but no one should want to skin a cat.

Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping used to say he didn’t care what color a cat was, as long at it caught mice.

Curiously — because cats are curious — this brings us to the COVID-19 crisis and government’s wholly unsatisfactory response to it.

Mayoral spokesman Mike Dunn

Federal, state, city governments all took a bite of the you-know-what sandwich. There were as many failures as stops on the Market Street El.

Until Jan. 20, Democratic senators, governors and mayors were screaming about how President Donald J. Trump had screwed the vaccine pooch.

And he had.

After that, it was Republicans turn to howl about Democratic ineptitude.

Next thing you know, Democratic New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on Page One double-talking about how he killed more senior citizens than bathroom falls, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is hiding from journalists who want to know why and how a bunch of Drexel kids were given a contract to distribute vaccines. 

Like everything else in today’s America, the issue is covered in a sticky coating of perceived racism because we can’t have a conversation about it. 

The goal is to distribute vaccine as fast as possible to as many people as possible. There is more than one way to accomplish it and the city has just decided to make the Pennsylvania Convention Center a mass distribution point, turning its back on Lincoln Financial Field, which had been the preference of City Council, spearheaded by Councilman Allan Domb, who also proposed harnessing Black churches. 

It wasn’t that the city decided to go in a different direction. It was how the Council plan was rejected.

 Mayoral spokesman Mike Dunn put it this way: “We ask Councilman Domb and other supporters: Are you deliberately trying to ensure that white privileged suburban residents of other counties and states are prioritized for vaccination over Black and brown taxpayers of Philadelphia?” 

Like RCA’s Nipper following his master’s voice, Dunn played the race card, angering Domb, who is white, but pissing off Cindy Bass, who is Black. Dunn’s is the kind of demonization that you spout when you don’t have an actual argument based on logic and facts. It’s just easier to go with the R-word. It’s a favorite of white progressives for whom “racist” is their default setting. (Kenney doesn’t mind providing resources to those here illegally, another progressive position.)

The city seemed to have concerns that nonresidents of Philadelphia would be served at the Linc, but that could happen just as easily at the convention center. Well, unless people are asked for ID, and Democrats feel that is racist, too, as with voting. 

“I don’t know whether I am more offended or saddened” by Dunn’s statement, Domb said. “Does our mayor really think so little of us as to believe that we would let out-of-state and out-of-county residents come and deplete our supply of life-saving vaccines for Philadelphians?” (Millionaire Domb donates his city salary back to this majority minority city.)

Domb was followed by Bass: “As a Black woman and elected official, I’m offended by that remark.” Her Public Health & Human Services Committee conducted a long hearing last week into the troubling circumstances around the city’s use of a group of unqualified college students to administer vaccines. “I continue to be appalled and disturbed at how vaccines are being distributed here,” she said. 

The arguments in favor of using the Linc? Easy auto access, size and decent public transportation. For the convention center: even better mass transit, but smaller, and no free parking.

A debate was fine.

My best idea? Instead of making people go to the vaccine, bring the vaccine to the people through existing pharmacy networks — such as CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreen’s — which already reach into every pocket of the city. They serve rich and poor neighborhoods, white and Black and brown. 

For minorities in the deeper inner city, utilize the churches, as they are nearby and trusted.

It’s not that hard. The color of the cat doesn’t matter. 

But to in effect call Council racist and elitist — and borderline criminal, as Dunn did — is repugnant and a reflection of a progressive mindset that is blind to everything but race, ignoring rational thought, throttling helpful discussion.

Racial warriors like Dunn and Kenney are tearing us apart even more than actual racism.

27 thoughts on “Mayor’s team plays the race card, of course”

    1. This is the sole concession I make to PC, because it is not worth fighting about. The AP decided to do it, and the Inquirer followed, with this double-talk explanation:
      The Inquirer has begun capitalizing the “B” in “Black” when it refers to Black people and the culture they share in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. This is comparable to other cultures such as Hispanic, Asian, etc., and has been the practice used in Black-oriented newspapers and magazines for years. “Brown” does not indicate a shared culture and refers simply to skin color, so it is not capitalized. The Associated Press and many other newspapers have also decided to capitalize “Black.”
      The Inquirer’s style committee, which debates and decides on matters of usage and language, has not yet decided on the issue of the capitalization of “white,” in terms of whether it describes a shared culture in the same manner as “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Asian,” etc., or simply skin color.

      1. Like eliminating cursive writing in favor of printing, why not just use upper case for everything? Dumbing down seems to be de rigueur!

  1. Amazing how adults are adjusting to the language of the young in the use of letters instead of the full words. I remember when PC meant personal computer but now it has been corrupted with politically correct. So if you want to make an intelligent post don’t state that the Mayor is overplaying his PC meaning the misuse of his spelling on the computer rather than his attempt to walk the PC politically correct line of a politician. Just once I would like to hear one of our elected officials state that we canvased the entire country to find the most efficient way to distribute the vaccine. They certainly do it for the latest way to defund or reeducate police officers so have they check with successful states where they are from 60 % to 74% completed where Pennsylvania is at 5%. Agreed each has its own set of problems to reach everybody but it borders on plain stupidity and political pandering to choose a color, location or even voting blocs to set up an injection site. Maybe they should just turn the process over to North Dakota that has completed 74 % of its citizen’s injections but that would not be the CD (Correct Decision).

  2. I wonder if those politicians who claim to be a unifying influence will ever figure out that Covid-19 is an opportunistic disease that threatens ALL of our citizens. Will they ever conclude that the health and welfare of the population as a whole should not and cannot be subordinate to political expediency?

      1. Obviously! Things might have gone more smoothly had politicians started putting a plan in place and made reparations prior to the day the vaccines actually became available. They did what they did.

        1. Yo, Doug – they did have a plan…”Just wait a while and it will go away.!” When that didn’t work, it was…”wait for the herd effect, and it will go away!” Since that hasn’t worked, it’s now…”take your medicine like good children, and it will go away!”

          Somehow, I don’t think so. Remember, politicians as a group are generally Reactive, rather than Proactive. It doesn’t work so well many times.

  3. HAPPY SATURDAY !!!
    Welcome to Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love.
    yea. right
    so what else is new ?!?
    Tony

  4. When you look at DUNN’S bio posted at LinkedIn, did he advance his career by joining the Kenney Kingdom?

    After 35 award-winning years as a broadcast journalist, I have segued to a high-profile career in public relations and external relations. Recognized and respected throughout the region as a credible source of news and information, I can promote critical initiatives, complex issues and fast-paced developments to a broad audience in a creative and compelling manner.

    Boots and shovel, please.

  5. You mentioned NY Gov. Cuomo in your article. He is an example of why we need tern limits for elected officials. NY State has no term limits for Governors, and Cuomo is in his third term and considering another term. He is involved in the scandal of deaths in rest homes. His arrogant replies to questions from the media show arrogance and a sense of dictatorship. He’s been in office too long. As to the racial issues you addressed, I’m just sick of the messengers of hatred who feel every white man is the devil, and make a living keeping the people of color without opportunities. The minority that got royally screwed are the native Americans.

    1. Jim,
      Still with the real people. Treaties were signed and broken by “DaDAH.”…the white man. Tribes go to court and it proceeds through the various legal maneuvers with an eventual win. Then we try and collect ! HAH !
      Judicial Watch has the same problem. They sue each state individually for election reform. After countless battles, time and money, they win. Nothing usually. The state doesn’t have the money to clean up the election files.
      Tony

  6. Anytime government is involved the situation becomes FUBAR. Private companies should be handling the vaccine distributions and vaccinations.

  7. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Here’s an analogy of usage for capitalizing “Black” with reference to a political or cultural group: Terms like “Western” or “Eastern,” and “Southern” are often capitalized when the usage is political, as in, say “a Southern filibuster,” or “Western mining interests,” etc. This is academic usage, and I do not know if it is consistent with newspaper decisions on such matters. I suppose that the assumption is that a political group can be recognized by reference to comparatively unified activities or political attitudes. So, for instance, “White, upper-middle class suburbanites,” might be a political group (or demographic of interest), but it is doubtful that “white people” are a politically organized group or political interest group.

    As for the “race card,” generally, or playing the race card, this is typically used to exclude someone from public debate or conversations, and tends to shift discussions from the particular topic at hand (whatever it might be, say, vaccine distribution), toward a political-demographic question, “What would the political group ___” say about that?” Playing the race card tends to exclude, because, it presumably aims the discontent of a particular (better organized or more unified group) at the target –against whom the race card is played. One key to understanding the phenomenon is the shift involved from particular public issues to questions of political advantage. Though there are, of course, clear cases where we object to racist attitudes, “playing the race card” tends toward more contentious usage where the objective is political (or institutional) advantage rather than racial justice.

    I am reminded, again of a quotation from Teddy Roosevelt to the effect that the one sure way of destroying this country is to turn it into a “gaggle of squabbling nationalities.” Roosevelt quite liked the “melting pot” idea. But imagine what he would say about “multiculturalism” and “identity politics.” Teddy Roosevelt initiated the early 20th century reforms of the “Progressive Era,” following the economic and political excesses of the Gilded Age. The point of mentioning this is that when it comes to serious reforms, one eventually has to bring the more conservative folks along –just as they came along in the American Revolution. Otherwise, any particular gaggle of well organized “identity groups,” though they may exercise a veto in this case or that, do not add up to the sovereign American people, i.e. “We the people.”

    H.G. Callaway

    1. Here is the Inquirer’s explanation, which is PC doubletalk to me: The Inquirer has begun capitalizing the “B” in “Black” when it refers to Black people and the culture they share in Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. This is comparable to other cultures such as Hispanic, Asian, etc., and has been the practice used in Black-oriented newspapers and magazines for years. “Brown” does not indicate a shared culture and refers simply to skin color, so it is not capitalized. The Associated Press and many other newspapers have also decided to capitalize “Black.”
      The Inquirer’s style committee, which debates and decides on matters of usage and language, has not yet decided on the issue of the capitalization of “white,” in terms of whether it describes a shared culture in the same manner as “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Asian,” etc., or simply skin color.

  8. As a resident of the NE the convention center is a fair, practical location for all city residents. I would prefer a more local location but understand that because of storage needs for the vaccine it is not doable now. Who said what and why is getting old.

      1. Poor choice of words by Dunn. My take away from your column, Domb will not be getting my vote, nor will any candidate who thought that the stadium was a good location for all residents of the city.

  9. I registered with Montgomery County more than a month ago. A week or so ago I got a notice from Montgomery County that I was in their system and could expect to get a Covid shot IN ABOUT 12 WEEKS. What was so humorous was immediately after registering with MontCo more than a month ago, I called the Veterans Administration and onto their schedule and got my first Covid shot THREE DAYS after registering with them. And it went like clockwork. When the military wants to, it can be very organized. So why doesn’t governor WOOF use the Pa National Guard? But I like your idea even better, Stu: use the drug chains, CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, etc. They serve the minority community well. One thing bears mentioning: during my four years in the Air Force, here and overseas, Blacks and whites, and everyone in between got along very well. Not a whiff of racism. Which means the desegregation of the military by Harry Truman, my favorite president, was brilliant.

      1. You are absolutely correct. I’d heard so many horror stories about the VA I never signed up. I’m going to go stand in the corner now.

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