Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Motor City Aftermath

With the polls now closed and yesterday’s election finally over, Detroit’s “Hip-Hop” mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, was swept back into office in an action that glaringly broadcasts that the Motor City’s illicit drug problem must be far more severe than anyone could have possibly imagined.

Almost from the very first moment that the Kilpatrick regime took control, the administration has been besieged by scandal after scandal. It started with allegations of a monster party held at Manoogian Mansion that was alleged to have involved strippers (or prostitutes depending upon who is recounting the story), drunk police officers wrecking city vehicles and mayhem on a scale that would have had Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee ducking for cover. Shortly afterwards, an upscale call girl who was alleged to have worked this party was murdered in a manner that suggested a gangland hit and allegations surfaced that the homicide investigation into her death was complicated by interference from the highest levels of city government. When the head of the Detroit Police Department’s internal affairs unit ordered an investigation into the events, he was immediately dismissed from his responsibilities.

More recently, it has come to light that the mayor ran up $200,000 in charges on his city credit card, used city funds to appropriate a luxury SUV to chauffer his wife around and used his influence to secure lucrative jobs with extravagant salaries for his acquaintances that would probably have been unemployable as fast food cashiers in the private sector. This one-man bid to reduce unemployment among Kilpatrick’s close circle of political cronies is affectionately known among the locals as “Kwame’s Friends and Family Plan”. There is much more, but I will refrain from going into detail. I’m sure you get the point.

Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to party with Kwame Kilpatrick. Then again, I would have also loved to party with the late Hunter S. Thompson. That does not mean that I would have hired him to run my hunting lodge since I am sure that if I actually owned one it would be heavily stocked with an over-abundance of mind altering substances, high caliber weaponry and plenty of ammunition. Combining Dr. Thompson with an unlimited supply of such volatile resources may make for some compelling reading but in practice would probably result in more high adventure and insurance premiums than my blood pressure or bank account could possibly have handled. Putting Kwame in charge of the resources of a major metropolitan city is sure to produce similar results. Granted, I doubt we’ll ever have the opportunity to literally see Mayor Kilpatrick running down Jefferson Avenue armed and clad only in a pair of leopard-skinned velvet boxer shorts taking pot shots at horrid hallucinations of happily homicidal hamster hordes, but figuratively speaking I would expect nothing less over the next four years. This election should do nothing more than convince Kilpatrick that he is absolutely invincible and I predict that his behavior in office will only grow more brazenly outrageous than it already is.

Detroit is a city with a lot of serious issues. To be fair, few of them were caused by Kwame Kilpatrick but are rather the legacy of three decades’ worth of mind-boggling mismanagement. Still, I would think that Kilpatrick’s constituency would demand more out of their mayor than scandals involving fiscal irresponsibility, luxury sport utility vehicles, blatant cronyism and brutally barbaric bashes at the mayor’s crib that result in drunk cops, smashed police cars and dead hookers. Apparently though, I was thinking wrong. This seems to be exactly what Detroiters want, and this is exactly what they got. As far as I’m concerned at this point, they are getting exactly what they deserve.

So, am I bitter about the election’s outcome? Actually, I’m not at all. I think Kilpatrick’s opponent in the race, Freeman Hendricks, would have tried his hardest to reverse the city’s descent into bankruptcy and receivership but I doubt that he would have been successful in the end. The momentum of Detroit’s decline is just moving too fast for any one person to be able to halt it. At least with Kwame Kilpatrick at the helm of this sinking ship, Detroit will be able to go out in style. Struggling futilely in the face of a terminal diagnosis, though respectable and heroic, more often than not results in an undignified demise that no one wishes to ever revisit again. Going out with a bang, riding head-first into the face of obliteration and taking the ride for everything it is worth is the stuff that legends are made of and is far more entertaining. For a quick, wild and exciting ride into certain death, I can think of no one better suited for the trip than Kwame Kilpatrick.

Personally I’m going to pull up a chair, throw some popcorn in the microwave, crack a beer and enjoy the show. I just hope that when it is all said and done, there’s enough of the city left for an encore.


Blogger Sacto Ritch said...

I gives nary a damn about Detroit politcs any more. Although they seem eerily reminiscant to California's. I would like to commend you however, on your 5-H words in a row. Very nice. Keep up the good work James.


1:19 AM  
Blogger Sacto Ritch said...

Sorry. 6 H-words in a row. My bad.

1:20 AM  
Blogger JEP said...

Next goal: 7. Good to have you back, buddy.

6:08 AM  

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