Charles Rangel personifies what is wrong with our politicians. His career encompasses just about every evil a political party and candidate/elected official can contain. It begins with race followed by evasion of the law, gentrification, congressional chairmanships and low moral character. Before my democrat friends cry foul this is not about their party but rather about a corrupt system that allows a person of low moral character and obvious violations of the law to be elected over and over.
Witness the New York Times coverage of Representative Rangel’s 11 counts of ethical violations including failure to pay taxes, solicitation of charitable donations [for his own charity] and failure to report his personal income. His actions brought dishonor on the house, and yet he was re-nominated as the democrat representative for the 13th district of New York. If you are not from the Manhattan area of New York you might scratch your head and ask why would the public re-nominate a public service with a terribly flawed moral character for another two year term in congress [assuming he wins in November of this year,] making it his 23rd consecutive terms in the congress.
So hear is the story. The 13th district has historically been a black community. It made sense that no white or Hispanic candidate could effectively court the predominately black community. It reminds me of a line from a citizen in the city of Detroit Michigan when asked why he wasn’t voting for the white candidate for mayor said; better my black devil than your white devil. As in many communities the growth and shift in population [in this case white and Hispanic] started to threaten the constituency Charlie had and now he faces a Hispanic community that probably will unseat him in the 2016 election because they want their own representation that understands their feelings about local and state issues. Of course gentrification means money and it is conceivable although not likely that the Hispanic community will have to accommodate the power that comes with money from those trying to gentrify the 13th district. Finally it may leave the black community as a true minority in a district that they have dominated for over 50 years.
There is more of course, Rangel obusied his power as chair of the ways and means committee using his position to intimidate corporate organizations to donate funds to his sponsored charities with questionable book keeping methods. He failed to pay federal taxes claiming he didn’t know what the tax laws were. Didn’t know what the laws were, he voted for them! He had off shore homes that he had not declared because he didn’t want to pay taxes on those properties. Now when the ethics committee reviewed the 13 charges of ethics violation [eventually he was convicted of 11 of those charges] he walked out in rage shocked that the committee would have the temerity to question his actions.
Finally the democrat party for 46 years of more had tolerated Rangel’s indiscretions and illegal acts and continued to support him financially as well as with endorsements. Why? Because he controlled a solidly black district and delivered their votes to national democrat candidates and on issues the party wanted to win. Do I suggest that the republicans wouldn’t do the same things, absolutely not? It is the nature of our political system that race, money, shifting population, ethnicity and party political objectives over come ethics and the good of the people. Charlie Rangel’s career is the poster child for the sick political power in our country.