I am happy to live in a country that allows us to have the opportunity to express our opinions freely and to vote. However,it remains depressing that in Virginia Beach and elsewhere, we cannot evaluate without denigrating or refrain from doing our best to ruin a candidate’s character without a shred of proof. I am sickened again to hear about the racial cartoons that were disseminated by one of the Virginia Beach Republican city council candidates’ campaign managers and the vitriolic comments of some in Virginia Beach expressing their belief there is no need to put a black man on the council. And why was it necessary for some Republican party members to berate members of their party for supporting a black candidate running for a nonpartisan office? Did they forget the definition of non partisan or just dismiss it? Finally, please explain to me the hypocritical comments of certain members of the Black community who professed they wanted diversity on city council then complained because it wasn’t “their candidate” who was appointed even though Prescott Sherrod was imminently qualified? All this negativity makes me want to take a shower to wash off the dirt that is weighing my spirit down! It gets us nowhere! Can we please go to the polls and vote for the candidate based on facts about their character and positions? I am voting for Prescott Sherrod because I know the good things he has done. Over the 15 years I have known him I have seen him overcome adversity in business with dignity and devote his time and energy to helping other businesses through his church and community organizations. In a time when all we see in the media about most politicians is negative behavior, I will cast my vote for Prescott Sherrod who ran a positive campaign and, has demonstrated over fifteen years devotion to his wife, his business and his community. I believe those are good reasons to give him a chance to continue to lead our city.
During this Halloween season we don’t have to look far to find horror – it is alive and well right here in Virginia Beach. This year’s political campaigns have most of us who try to do our civic duty running screaming into our houses, shutting off our TV’s and radios and hiding under the covers in an attempt to stop the negative bombardment politicos like to call “communication with the public”. Just look at what the campaign wars have uncovered again- disinformation: false information deliberately and often covertly spread misinformation: wrong information which is given to someone deliberately, and downright lies. If you don’t believe me, just ask any TV station or newspaper who has a “truth-o-meter” to characterize the political ads by the above designations. You will find plenty of evidence.
However, in my opinion, there is nothing more evil or destructive for our city and our society than the use of race or religion as weapons of mass destruction for they incite hatred and fear, they harm the person who is the target, our city’s reputation, and, most of all they harm our children who learn how to treat people from us- the adults who love them. Indeed the outcome of these insidious attacks more often than not is an ongoing societal war waged between the good old boys and those who are different or new, or even worse, a kind of weary acceptance, that indicates nothing can be done to prevent our divided society.
For instance, in the city council campaign for the Princess Anne district friends of the incumbent, Barbara Henley, have decided to attack the challenger, Ms Tanya Bullock, a young attorney who happens to be African American, using disinformation, misinformation and race baiting. Henley’s supporters (we don’t know if Henley is involved) Misinformed the voters in their negative political piece regarding Tanya Bullocks’ background; they used Disinformation when informing voters of Tanya’s views on Agricultural Reserve, the Greenline and other environmentally directed programs (Truth-Ms Bullock has praised Ms Henley for her advocacy) and, they downright lied about Oceana not having good relations with the city because “a young Black Attorney” would be on city council. I think most people in this city give the military leaders at Oceana more credit.
Finally, the use of race baiting negative stereotypes by inferring that the district shouldn’t be turned over to this “black attorney” who was clever enough to “hook up” with a white “car dealer”. First, Ms. Henley and her supporters surely know when people write an angry letter, they don’t mention race unless its derogatory; second, being clever enough to “hook up” makes you wonder if we have some insidious racial profiling going on. President Bush was neither the first nor the last to decide that the path to victory lay in picking at the scab of race, in order to make white voters feel afraid, or angry, or resentful as was done with the Willie Horton scandal. And here we are again, with a group of entrepreneurs of racial division — doing all they can to convince whites that their way of life is threatened by dangerous blacks. This is indeed a horror I had hoped Virginia Beach would not invite in to our homes again. I remember well the racial slurs and the death threats I and my campaign workers had to endure when I ran for reelection to city council in 1998. Many people, who were confused by hate mongers, believed the disinformation they fed to voters. I am hoping there are enough voters in Virginia Beach who believe in giving qualified candidates a chance regardless of race, religion or the color of their skin and will have the moral strength to take up the banner in this fight for a Virginia Beach where all citizens are respected. Truthfully, it would be a horror and frightening if in 2010 I am still the only African American woman to have served on Virginia Beach city council.