No Clean Hands Available Here

(Part Three in an Occasional Series on the Race in New York’s 10th Congressional District)

Re-reading my two prior posts (See, Curse You Chuck Barron and  Edolphus Towns And The Limits Of Pork) anticipating the nauseating battle between Ed Towns and Charles Barron, it occurred to me that this might be that rare contested race that did not involve mudslinging. I mean, why would these guys need to lie about each other when the truth will suffice?

Then, a more distressing thought occurred; the idea that some otherwise sensible voters might cast a protest vote for one of the two other candidates. There is something extremely refreshing about throwing away one’s vote in an effort to keep one’s hands clean; Lord knows I’ve done it myself.

Still, one must understand that such votes carry with them a great risk; in a closely contested race where one can actually determine the clear lesser of the viable evils, there is a risk that such “clean hands” will later become irreparably stained with the blood of innocents (and others as well). While, in the instant matter, I use this hyperbole metaphorically, in some cases, it can be quite literal; just ask anyone in Florida or New Hampshire who voted for Nader in 2000.  Would we be in Iraq today if not for such voters? 

While I take great comfort in the idea that the presence of Roger Green and Kevin Powell in the 10th CD race will draw anti-incumbent votes away from Charles Barron to the benefit of Ed Towns, I do worry that my own ruminations on the shortcomings of these characters will cause some voters to follow a “clean hands” strategy, inuring to the benefit of Mr. Barron. So, let me make it clear; even in a four candidate race, Ed Towns is still the lesser of all the evils (how sad!).

Over the years, I’ve often heard speculation that Ed Towns was an indictment waiting to happen. There has been a persistent rumor that, during the late 70s or early 80s, he came about three inches from being caught in an ABSCAM-type sting operation. But, while one may think that Ed Towns is a crook; we know this for a fact about Roger Green.  Roger Green is an intelligent and sometimes thoughtful and articulate pol who once held great promise; he now stands convicted of being a small time grifter. Those (including myself) disgusted by the fact that Ed Towns will sell any vote, even one on war and peace, for some pork to benefit his district, should remember that Ed Towns’ offenses against our moral codes have inured largely to the benefit of poor and working people, while Roger Green’s offenses against the Penal Code inured only for the benefit of himself.

As to Kevin Powell, I will note that many writers (I among them) have made a big deal over the fact that Charles Barron, a man of words, feels compelled to publicly share his fantasies about slapping white people. By contrast, Kevin Powell is a man of action, with a record of at least five separate incidents of actual violence against women (color unspecified). Since Powell has at least expressed remorse, perhaps one could prefer him to Barron; but, I am thankful that I am not compelled to make that decision.

Being a grownup is often about making the best choice among several horrible options. This year, voters in the 10th CD can show their maturity by voting for Ed Towns. Sometimes, one must wash their hands in muddy water.