All politics is local: why Marie Johns leaves Fenty and Cropp in the dust
Tip O'Neill coined the phrase, "All politics is local."
As DC Election Day approaches Tuesday, the quote attributed to Mr. O'Neill couldn't be truer when it comes to the Mayoral primary. Ever since Congress approved the Home Rule Charter in 1973, the District of Columbia has had its ups and downs (to say the least). There have been a grand total of four different mayors in that time frame (Walter Washington, Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Dixon/Kelly, and Anthony Williams) and soon we'll have our fifth mayor. As is my habit, I start following these kinds of political processes way earlier than most people, which I attribute to my awful middle name of Barry (this progressive Democrat has carried the challenge of being named after ultra-conservative Barry Goldwater since the waning days of 1964...not an easy task, I tell you. Thanks, dad...I still love you). When all was said and done, I decided to give my support for DC Mayor to Marie Johns.
Mrs. Johns is a true American success story - first in her family to attend college, yet somebody who once lived in subsidized housing and worked as an administrative assistant. She eventually rose to become CEO of Verizon Washington, and I believe she's the epitome of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about when he talked about character.
A few weeks ago at the Ward One Mayoral Endorsement event, I had the pleasure to briefly meet Marie Johns, and everything I read about her is true. In just a few minutes, this warm woman made my night (and she let me know I helped to make her night as well). She isn't what one would call a "typical politician", and as she listened to me I understood what a fantastic Mayor she would be. Yes, she listens...and she thinks. She thinks this city can be better, as we all do.
After meeting Marie Johns, I wrote to her campaign (the above two paragraphs come directly from my e-mail and can be found on her Web site). The next day when I came home from work, there was a message from Marie on my voicemail, telling me how touched she was with what I wrote. Talk about all politics being local! She knew she had my vote, yet took the time to call me. This is somebody who not only can help fix our schools and provide more opportunity to those who live across the Anacostia River, but somebody who can also help fix that disaster known as the Department of Motor Vehicles.
I told Arjewtino this story, and he said, "Write something for my blog, and I'll give you a guest writer post." Once again, all politics is local.
Of course, local is a relative term too. When I told this story to my mom, who teaches Social Studies to 7th and 8th grade gifted students in Melbourne, Florida, she asked whether she could use it as part of an upcoming current events lesson. This weekend my mom wrote me:
We had an interesting current events day - I took in information from three out of five of the mayoral candidates for my students to read. I gave each of them one position statement, newspaper endorsement, or testimonial etc. from either Fenty, Cropp, or Johns. Of course, Johns has the best site so she had the most information including your testimonial and letter. You may be interested to know that she won in all five classes because the students felt she focused on the issues with more depth.
Local. Politics. True. Hopefully none of the kids has the middle name Barry, though.
Full disclosure time...Marie Johns is third in most polls, and that makes some people shy away from her. Tony Williams was third in the polls for most of his first campaign, yet on Election Day people voted for the candidate they wanted to win, even if some didn't think he'd actually win. In 1948, Harry Truman held up an early edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune with the blaring headline "Dewey Defeats Truman", and a few weeks prior to that Life magazine featured a picture of Thomas Dewey on the cover with the caption, "The Next President of the United States". Hmm...Harry Truman won. Few expected it to happen. Interesting, isn't it?
Take a moment and check out http://www.johnsformayor.com/ and see what you think of Mrs. Johns. This is a woman who could have easily enjoyed her retirement and her volunteer work, yet has decided to embark on a journey to make our Nation's Capital better...because, as her slogan states, she's real. In a world of divided politics and lack of representation, I believe Marie Johns is the type of intelligent and caring leader the District of Columbia needs.
Different. Real. Better. And Local, too.