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Just before midnight, Washingtonians worked their “re-tweet” magic on Twitter and the “share” button on Facebook, expressing outrage over the latest Courtland Milloy op-ed in the Washington Post, in which Milloy animatedly breaks down what was wrong with the Fenty administration. Milloy’s non-spoon fed, non-sugar coated attitude is indeed not for the naïve or timid at heart when it comes to discussing the elephant in the room in the District’s politics: race and class. It’s a “fuck you and good riddance” to Adrian Fenty, Peter Nickles, and Michelle Rhee.
To some, it came across as very divisive, and unhelpful to the healing effort to unite the city. But was it meant to be a divisive piece? Or was he just stating a harsh reality, a truth that hurts because the city’s would-be savior—armed with his Blackberries, personal business cards, and flanked with his partners in crime (pun not really intended)—failed us, and that’s is a tough cookie to swallow?
While airing out some of Fenty’s offenses—snubbing respected figures Dr. Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou, closing shelters, and firing city employees—Milloy gets sarcastic by calling Fenty supporters the “creative class” of “myopic little twits” that occupy chic new eateries and take to social media networks to defend their guy and his sidekicks. Perhaps the real kick to the gut was Milloy mocking the “world class system” headed by Rhee that, in Milloy’s telling, might only succeed by excluding low-income black families pushed out of the city by gentrification. He also suggests that Fenty’s administration had all the makings of a Fascist enterprise, with its eerie similarity to “the old antebellum system of control, which featured a chairman for public works, which is what Fenty was, in essence; a chairman with expertise in legal maneuverings, Nickles; and a chairman for education and welfare issues, Rhee.”
As if to prove Milloy’s point about social media, angry citizens took to Twitter to air their grievances about Milloy.
@bogrosemary: “@grayformayor: “please ‘refudiate’ this divisive screed.”
@kateddc: “this encourages that divisiveness instead of thoughtful discourse & solutions. I expect more from the Post.”
This morning, Councilmember Tommy Wells took to his twitter to express his thoughts on Milloy’s piece:
@TommyWells: “Courtland Milloy’s column should be read and re-read. While raw, it’s a window on DC.”
Ok, so Milloy does not offer any solutions to a problem that has been throbbing in this city for years, but what if this was not meant to heal? What if this was an “in your face” column, aimed at precisely those staunch Fenty supporters who were just as perplexed about Fenty’s loss as he was? After all, not 24 hours after the primary, tweets from Milloy’s twits were just as sarcastic and rude as before, practically proving his point.
@1br4r14n: “I guess the key to loosing an election is to lower crime, and build new parks and rec centers.”
@1chicklette: “I’m still stunned Fenty lost. #dcvote I mean, Marion Berry was able to get reelected.”
@rachel1029: “@thatgirl405 Have you seen the difference between #voteDC and #DCvote heard it was a racially segregated even on twittuh hashtags.”
Whatever Milloy’s intent, the streets are talking. Even if they’re using social media to do it.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery