Thursday, June 17, 2010

So What’s Wrong With Voting for an Unemployed Black Military Veteran (Who's Facing Felony Charges)?

Apparently everything is wrong with it, according to many folks, including leaders in the Democratic Party, members of the media, and Youtubers and commentators throughout the blogosphere. After native South Carolinian Alvin Greene beat Vic Rawl, a well-known former legislator and judge in the state, the Democratic Party flew into an outrage. Immediately, accusations that the Republicans had planted Greene hit the media waves. Now, Vic Rawl and party leaders are suggesting voting machine irregularities may be to blame. See, what’s amazing is that Greene spent very little money and didn’t bother to put out campaign signs or create a website. According to Greene, with the help of his family and friends, he simply called folks and went door to door to average citizens in South Carolina and listened to their thoughts and complaints. What did he hear? That people were fed up with the unemployment situation, that they wanted better healthcare and better education. Rather than seeking to raise dollars, he sought out voters. Oldschool, grassroots campaigning.

Well, both South Carolina’s Democratic Representative Jim Clyburn and the party’s state leader Carol Fowler asked Alvin Greene to withdraw. What are their grounds? They suspect shady origins of the $10,440 Greene paid as a filing fee to the Democratic Party. Greene maintains that the money was two years of savings from his military earnings.

To make matters worse, the man has a felony charge from more than six months ago that has yet to go to court. Of course, the media is treating him as though he is already guilty or has been convicted. The felony charge stems from a case that is dodgy, at best. According to the alleged victim, 19-year old Camille McCoy, while at a campus library at the University of South Carolina, Greene pulled up some sexually obscene images on his computer screen, showed them to her, laughed, and then asked if she’d like to go back to her dorm room with him. Greene will not speak about the case.

So, now that you have all the facts, so to speak, here’s my opinion.

About the alleged crime: personally, I find the scenario creepy, but certainly not warranting a felony charge. I hardly even think a misdemeanor is appropriate in this case.

About his unemployment: so what? In some major U.S. cities, like Detroit, the unemployment rate is as high as 15% and 20% amongst African-Americans. I'd say that makes Greene a pretty typical victim of our recession.

I think that folks are most angry that an everyday, average Joe somehow managed to sneak into the election, which, like all elections, are unofficially reserved for rich and (let’s just be honest) white men with elite educations and no criminal backgrounds. Let’s face it: our Supreme court is dominated largely by Yale and Harvard graduates. Only two justices (one after Kagan is sworn in) are not from one of those universities. For the last twenty years, the White House has been dominated by Yale and Harvard graduates: George H.W. Bush (Yale), Bill Clinton (Yale), George W. Bush (Yale and Harvard), and Barack Obama (Harvard). Greene's Democratic opponent, Vic Rawl, has a law school education. We reserve politics for the wealthy and for those from elite educational backgrounds.

Greene is not uneducated though, having received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina in 2000.

But he is, ultimately, the total opposite of those things we've come to expect from our politicians. He's poor, unemployed, black, average. Add to all that his less than clean criminal background, and we can see why the Democrats are so outraged.

As a result of this controversy, I've developed a new slogan for the Democratic Party: a party that stands for “the people” but which refuses to let any of the “the people” stand for themselves. In my view, Alvin Greene is one of the people, ostensibly trying to stand for himself and the people. Yeah, he may not be the most articulate. Yeah, he may not have a squeaky clean background or a fancy education. But the man is an average American. Shouldn’t average Americans have a chance to represent themselves, to enter the world of politics and make a difference?

What are your thoughts on Greene? Are folks just hating on him because he doesn't fit the typical politician profile? Or, do you think folks have a legitimate reason to be concerned?


  1. I thought Alvin deserved a fair chance until he did an interview. He needs to take a public speaking course. He certainly had enough savings in the bank to pay for public speaking classes. Despite his interviewing flaws, I believe folk are hating on him because he doesn't fit the typical politician profile.

  2. And the verdict is...HATING!

    Greene unexpectedly squeaked his way into a place that was 'not meant for him,' but what can anyone say if he won the votes fair and square??

    Also, on the issue of his background and supposed lack of credentials, didnt they know about all of this before he put in his bid?? Would the unemployment, possible felony charge, etc. be an issue if he had not won???

  3. Sounds like the movie "Distinguished Gentleman"

  4. I totally agree that they are "Hating" but what can you do thats most americans! I love how they want to dig in his closet for skeletons, but what politician doesnt have them? They need to get over themselves!

  5. QUESTION: Is it really hating? Ask yourself if you would be comfortable with Greene representing your state and leading your people?

  6. It's a good question, Ms. Mashari. But I don't think I would be that uncomfortable with him representing my state. I don't know. On one hand, he seems too innocent and uninformed about the world of politics. On the other hand, that innocence is what makes him a desirable candidate. It's hard to say.

  7. True, most politicians do have skeletons in their closets, but that does not mean it should become exceptable. I disagree that the alleged unwanted or unwelcomed sexual behavior is unworthy of felony charges. It is unexceptable that a man who reduces a woman to a mere sexual object should be representing any state. I'm aware the charges are not ... See Moreconclusive yet, but check out how even amongst woman, the blame is placed on the victim rather then supporting a woman strong enough to stand up against something that is brushed off so easily in our current society. the conviction could be bogus, but we should not write it off so easily.


  8. I don't think that his dirty laundry being aired is hating, I particularly think the fact of his opponents being sore losers, is alittle hating! Idk if I would want him to represent my state, but really, who could throw a stone??

  9. I agree with Erica. And most cases, such behavior would be understood as sexual harassment, in which case the institution where the behavior occurred would handle the situation.
    This is a classic case of sexual harassment. From what I've read, sexual harassment isn't a felony. In other words, the University should bar him from campus, for causing a disturbance.

    We can't simply lock up or slap misdemeanor or felony charges on anyone who offends another person. And that's what happened: he offended her. He didn't hurt her or threaten to hurt her. How many times have we, as women, been insulted and offended by the actions or words of a man? Too many times. But it's simply inappropriate to slap criminal charges on somebody for behavior that is merely insulting but not threatening or violent.

    I'm sorry...felony charges are completely ridiculous in this situation, and that's why I find myself having a hard time even believing any of the "facts" of this case.

  10. Totally hating! Given the types of shady things politicians do these days, his random felony charge is small. It's about time the people decide what they want and shake politics up. Its become a horrible game and us citizens are pawns!