Sunday, April 15, 2012

Harris County Democrats' rift between blacks, gays boils over

This is another reason why I had to take off my Crips gang colors.

A political whodunit, in the most unlikely of races, is creating chaos and divisiveness in the Harris County Democratic Party. Or perhaps I should say it is creating more than the usual chaos and divisiveness that exists like a constant low-grade fever (on a good day) throughout Democratic Party operations every­where in Texas these days.
Monday afternoon, a mysterious electronic message blew up in Houston political circles, purportedly sent by a Rev. Willie Howard on behalf of attorney Keryl Douglas' campaign for chairperson of the Harris County Democratic Party.
Douglas, who is African-American, is challenging interim chairman Lane Lewis, who is openly gay - a fact that the probably fictitious Rev. Howard finds disturbing.
The purported pastor claims to be organizing African-American ministers to support Douglas because "her opponent is openly Gay and has already told supporters behind closed doors that the Democratic Party will endorse a Gay Marriage agenda in November … If the gays take over we are poised to lose everything we have worked for during President Obama's historic win. The Republicans will rally their troops behind a united front of making sure this push for same sex marriage is defeated."
The enigmatic email closes with a particularly offensive observation:
"How will Democrats look electing a man who sales (sic) perfume for a living and lays up with another man?"

So if you are a member of the Whitmarsh listserv, you already know all about this. Likewise if you've read Kuffner or Stace. Digital trails have been sluiced out to track the offensive message as coming directly from the Douglas campaign, Douglas held a presser to deny all, the progressive Democracy for Houston club has called for her to quit the race, on and on like that. Kilday Hart for the coup de grace:

Will a wedge be driven between Harris County's African-American and gay communities? Unfortunately for Democrats, there's another local primary race indicating the answer is yes. State District Judge Steven Kirkland of the 214th District Court is being challenged by an African-American attorney, Elaine Hubbard Palmer. Stay tuned for more on that race.

But once again, we can thank Democratic politics for our daily dose of comedy and tragedy. Comedy, because any plot to de-stabilize the local party seems on its face unnecessary. And tragic, since two communities that have both faced insidious discrimination are being pitted against each other.

Do you think any of this is going to be good for Democrats in the May 29th primary elections, this rending of two key constituencies asunder? (The good intentions of African-American Democrats like Egberto Willies who spoke out against the e-mail aside, of course.) What about any lingering implications for November? If it's any consolation, Big Jolly reports that the Harris County Republicans are an even bigger clusterfuck.

Can you think of a better time to send a message to the two-party duopoly by voting for some Greens (or for that matter, Libertarians)?

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