25 August 2010

How Much Does A Few Minutes Cost?

Quite possibly an election.

There's been talk, mostly from the pro-Fenty base, that none of this really matters. Dr. Angelou and Mrs. Height weren't residents of our fair city so what does it matter what they had to talk to the mayor about, they say. The mayor is too busy doing the business of the people, they say. The days of kow-towing to special interests are over, they say.

Except these two women weren't special interests. They are pillars of the black community. They are cultural icons. It would have taken the mayor an hour of his time at most to speak with them. The political reward would have been great. The support he would have received from the District's black population would have been enormous. But most importantly, the boost it would have given his image ... the smoothing of those rough edges, the "humanification" of that aloof personality ... would have been priceless. And the mayor probably wouldn't find himself in the fight for his political life.

That missed meeting may well have been the beginning of the end for Mayor Fenty. Black district residents, especially those of the fairer sex, began to look at the mayor through different eyes and they started to see a man who didn't care about them.

Whether that perception is true or not is moot. In politics, perception is everything.

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