Monday, March 24, 2008

Kilpatrick's Wife & Children Become Mayor's Collateral Damage

If you live in Michigan, you might know that 82 years ago today, in 1917, the Colts of Detroit's Northwestern High, still located on West Grand Boulevard due east of Grand River, won the first Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) basketball title.

But that's not what anyone and everyone in 'The Mitten' is talking about today. No, an entire state is talking about this historic day, this March 24th of 2008. For the first time in Detroit's long history, a sitting mayor has been charged with a felony. The sitting mayor is Kwame Kilpatrick and he got the book thrown at him, with eight counts in a 12-count indictment, announced today and viewed with the same rapt attention as the orange crop report in the popular 80's movie Trading Places, starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.

But that's not the tragedy of today. During my segment on Parker & The Man, heard daily on Detroit's News-Talk station, WCHB 1200 AM, it's not that Kwame Kilpatrick will contest the charges, though I honestly don't see what there is to contest. No, what floors me is how little regard he actually has for his wife and his children. Kilpatrick has thrown his immediates into the path of the tornado with reckless abandon. If you do business with the Kilpatrick's City of Detroit from this point forward, this is who you've gotten into bed with.

Kilpatrick has balked at nearly every opportunity to walk away with some grace or dignity. The gloves came off today, and Kilpatrick's painted himself into a corner. He'll fight this battle -- one he could win or lose -- with something else at stake. His future. As he fights these charges, he'll sorely lack the political clout needed to garner support, especially that of the financial nature, to win a re-election. Therefore, should he lose a court battle on these charges, he could have no job while facing jail time, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves.

I could care less if Kilpatrick ends up innocent or guilty, because I didn't elect the man and I don't have to replace the man. But Kwame Kilpatrick is no man. A real man would not -- under any circumstances -- endanger the safety or well-being of his wife or children, and especially not like this.

Kilpatrick could have exited stage right with some dignity in tact. There was room for saving face before today. He would have still had enough clout to earn a handsome job in the private sector, avoided a lot the problems he currently faces and had a chance to salvage a still-promising career.

Now? He's hoping Christine Beatty doesn't hire a new, uncompromised lawyer. He's hoping she is loyal and doesn't flip, although she has the most to gain and the least to lose from doing just that.

And he's wishing we'd talk about Northwestern High state title of 1917, too.


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