|What if the life and death of the WASP Ivan Allen III teaches us a valuable truth about politics?|
by Gary M. Pomerantz that – to me - the notion of “the worse the better” lost all applicability to our current situation.
“It will do no good to wait for a white knight on a silver charger to rescue us from reality,” he said. “The challenge, indeed the absolute necessity, will be or us to establish better communications and to obtain more, not less, input into the decision making process as it now exists.”
To those who would sit and carp and complain because things aren’t as they were, I say that things will never as they were for change is constant.”
In an interview conducted the year before his death, Ivan III was asked about his famous name. “ I really don’t want to talk about that,” he said. His reason: “Because I never have.”
“What did Ivan mean by that?” the old mayor (Ivan Allen Jr., one of the last white mayors of Atlanta) asked when his son’s response was related to him months after the funeral.
Searching for his own answers, Ivan Jr. came to believe that the city – and its people – had refused to let his son escape its clutches.
“There is no way to defeat the black vote. I don’t care how liberal or well respected or what name you carry, it’s not going to get you in office. No white man is going to run [and win] against the black ticket.”
“falsehoods about Young. Something had to be done, and he decided (Jackson), to make certain that black Atlantans understood the necessity for a Young victory.”
In his most heavy-handed, racially inflammatory speech as mayor… Maynard Jr. told a predominantly black audience at the Butler Street YMCA… that any black supporting Marcus was a victim of self-hatred. He likened their condition to that of the freed slaves who , following the issuance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, asked to be returned to their masters.
“We are beginning to see shuffling and grinning around the camp of our opponent by a few of our [black former] allies in the struggle,”…”These surfacing Negro voices we are hearing from our own community are the voices of the new selfishites… which are rooted in a shameful part of American history that has forced some Afro-Americans into the corner of racism [which] creates an anger and self-hatred that are awesome in their destructive power.”
For one more time as mayor, Maynard Jr. had played the aggressor’s role, and at considerable personal risk. He cared deeply about preserving the political power of Atlanta’s black elite. Had Andy Young been defeated in the ruoff, “it would have said that the black community had not learned anything about politics,” recalls Michael Lomax, the Jackson protégé and Fulton County commissioner, “ and that wasn’t the case. This was a very sophisticated black community.”
|A reminder: "The worse the better" is wrong|
After all, "the worse the better" didn't work, even with the sacrifice of Detroit, Birmingham, and Memphis. Even with South Africa and Rhodesia.