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I like Mark Plotkin’s take on Mayor Vince Gray’s remarks on statehood at the MLK memorial dedication on Sunday. City Paper alum Mike DeBonis asked Plotkin for his thoughts:
Plotkin had no qualms about Gray’s remarks. “They were terrific,” he said — particularly the call to “implore” President Barack Obama and Congress to act on behalf of the District’s residents. “That was the appropriate word,” he said.
But in terms of the symbolism of the moment, Plotkin said, it fell short. That’s because the main guy Gray was imploring, Obama, wasn’t there with him. Gray’s welcome speech came early in the program, right after the invocation and before Obama and other dignitaries arrived. Obama, in fact, did not deliver his speech from the ceremonial rostrum that most speakers used; he spoke from a smaller podium next to the memorial itself.
“He’s got to do that when the president is sitting on the stage; he’s got to do that when he’s there,” Plotkin said. “I’m glad he said what he said; he used the right words. But the president has to be embarrassed by his silence and deliberate indifference.”
In other words, to pass the Plotkin test, Gray’s gotta say it to his face. Call him out. In public.