We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Why is Loose Lips (10/16) threatened by the at-large candidacy of the Umoja Party’s Mark Thompson? It’s sad that he plays his clumsy hand against Marion Barry’s race-card-in-the-hole game. It was Barry who injected into the D.C. Council races the notion that a black-majority city should preserve a black-majority council, but it was Knee-Jerk Lips who rose to the bait.

Mark Thompson deserves a seat on the council, not because of his skin pigmentation, but because of what he stands for and will fight for. And because we need to encourage the emergence of a new generation of dynamic leaders who refuse to surrender our birthright.

Fretful Lips launches every variety of illogic in his arsenal to try to demolish Thompson’s promising political career before it gains momentum, simply because it shows signs of doing just that. Let’s examine Lips’ three main points:

First, guilt by association. Petulant Lips feels Thompson is unworthy because Barry and some of his associates support him. Lips should remember that he himself had no problem with many of those same Barry-ites’ supporting Tony Williams, his hand-picked mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary. Indeed, anyone who is anyone in D.C. politics has been linked with Barry at one time or another. How can you run a political race without finding one or more of them in your camp?

Second, the thinly disguised race card. Fear-Mongering Lips says Thompson is an “in-your-face activist.” Good! We desperately need that tradition kept alive. In my book, Thompson is in the grand tradition of such early American “in-your-face activists” as Thomas Paine and Patrick Henry, to name only two whose never-give-in stance made freedom from tyranny the noble raison d’ê#tre of our nation (but not of its capital).

Should we castigate a black American for having attributes for which we heap accolades on white Americans? Suck-Up Lips would rather turn our council into the servile agents of those Southern Republicans in Congress (closet racists all—like their more “in-your-face” Dixiecrat predecessors—from Virginia’s Rep. Tom Davis to North Carolina’s Rep. Charles “Timberman” Taylor and Sen. Lauch “Pigman” UnFaircloth).

Third, irrelevance. Yes, Thompson has had domestic problems, but Snarly Lips should check the record before he writes about that which he knows not. No one condones violence in the home, but this is clearly a case of two-sided violence between persons locked in an unhappy marriage.

The facts: Rather than drag wife and child through a nasty court battle, Thompson chose to offer no defense on the assault charge his wife brought against him for what occurred almost three years ago. As a result we are treated to but one side of the story, the scorned woman’s. By all accounts the incident was a shoving match during a spousal spat, the sort of thing that occurs in many households, black and white, every day. Thompson has publicly apologized. The Rev. Imagene Stewart, who runs a battered-women’s shelter, says he has atoned and forgives him.

His so-called failure to pay child support is also bogus: He makes payments to the D.C. Superior Court, which has so completely mismanaged its changeover to a new computer system that it has been unable to forward payments to thousands of custodial parents.

Given that we will probably have as mayor either a Republican or a Republican carpetbagger in Democratic garb, plus a council majority similarly hellbent on kowtowing to our congressional overlords, I for one want at least one councilmember who will not sell out, who will stand up for my right to self-government, a supposedly basic American right.

I have been on the front line with Thompson in the long battle for statehood. We’ve marched and gone to jail together. He has demonstrated to me what no other candidate for D.C. office has: that he will put his time, his energy, even his body on the line for the District of Columbia’s democratic rights. That’s why this white guy will be voting for Umoja’s Mark Thompson, not because of his melanin, but because D.C. can ill-afford not to have him on the council.

Adams Morgan

via the Internet