One Harlemite's viewpoint: Why Rangel gets my vote
KEISHA SUTTON-JAMES | 6/27/2012, 4:03 p.m.
I am a native Harlemite and a proud Charles Rangel supporter. I am deeply troubled that lower-income and even middle-income Harlemites are losing their hold on the neighborhood. The fact that so many of our young men are unemployed and so many of our women and girls are caught in a downward spiral is disheartening. Is the drug and gang violence in our neighborhood out of control? Are our schools a crying shame? Yes and yes.
Indeed, there are even more ills that plague our community. Is there more work to be done? Absolutely! I just think that of our choices, Rangel is the best person for the job. Period.
This isn't news to anyone who knows me and it most likely is not a surprise to anyone who can read my name. Yes, I am Percy Sutton's granddaughter. Yes, my grandfather was one of Rangel's closest advisers, supporters and champions. And yes, I interned in Rangel's congressional offices. Of course, I am aware that those factors play into my strong conviction that Rangel is the man for me.
But that is not it. Not at all. I have my reasons, and they are common reasons. I guess that is why I find the voice of criticism so intriguing.
I hear opponents and their supporters say Rangel is too old and has been in office too long. "Says who?" I ask when I hear that. I find that criticism arbitrary and subjective. And since when is age and experience a liability in Congress?
From my perspective, I agree with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who recently said at the Morehouse baccalaureate, "Youth is not an achievement." In my view, the fact that Rangel's opponents are younger and have less experience is anything but an asset.
In fact, in a system that is entirely run on seniority (face reality, folks--that is how Washington operates), I am not at all interested in trading a senior representative for a freshman. I don't care who the freshman is; Rangel's relationships in- and outside of D.C. and his pure know-how far outweigh that of the other candidates. That is what I want fighting for my district on the floor of the Capitol.
The second most common reason people are saying Rangel ought to go is that "it is time." Again, says who? Last I checked, the job of a U.S. representative is to represent his or her constituency. There is no confusion in the title, folks. He is called a representative, and that he does--better than most!
As a voter, the very first thing I ask myself when considering a candidate is, "Does he or she represent me?" I listen to what they say about the issues and think about whether the views and positions of the candidate are in line with my opinions and needs, as well as those of my neighbors. Further, I look at what they have actually done to bring those positions to action, because talk is cheap. Rangel has got all of that covered. To be perfectly honest, I have heard very little from any of the candidates that is a compelling justification for the aforementioned trade-off.