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Earlier this week, Mayor For Life Marion Barry said on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt that when he said “Get over it” to white voters after his comeback 1994 election, it was not a negative message, but a statement to help them start the mental healing process of accepting him as their mayor.
He repeated the same line today on the Kojo Nnamdi Show.
“A first level of reconciliation, it’s what counselors tell me, psychologists tell me, the first level of reconciliation between any two people or any two groups is to get over that which you have a problem with,” Barry said.
The dean of the city’s press corps, NBC 4’s Tom Sherwood, added that he was at the press conference where Barry uttered his second most famous line: “What the mayor said, when he was asked by a reporter, ‘What do you tell the people in Ward 3 who voted heavily against you?’ Barry said, in his usual disarming way, ‘Get over it, I’m going to be the mayor for all the people.’ The quote that got into the newspapers and on TV and in other places was ‘Get over it,’ as if it were in your face. So while it was a risky thing to say in any event, I think the full sentence does count.”
Take a look for yourself at about the 8:13 mark:
LL went digging in the archives and found a description of Barry’s press conference the day after he won the primary from the Post‘s Yolanda Woodlee:
[H]is message to white voters in the city was blunt—and demanded they accord him some respect.
“Get over whatever personal hang-ups you got,” Barry said. “I’m the best person for Washington. I know best how to protect their investments, their homes, their businesses. I know best how to balance this budget. I know best how to save our city from financial collapse. I know best how to get us moving. I know best how to get our government to be responsive. So to those white people who have whatever hang-ups they have, get over it.”
Yes, truly a reassuring message of unity.