Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Change trumps bigotry in Newark

In Newark, New Jersey, the largest city in your blogstress's home state -- and the nation's second poorest, according to The New York Times -- change has trumped prejudice with the election of Corey Booker as mayor, withstanding homophobic, anti-semitic and anti-intellectual goading from Newark's longtime mayor and godfather, Sharpe James. In an attempt to exploit against Baker, a Rhodes scholar, prejudices he presumed to be common among the city's denizens, Newark's 20-year leader had accused the Baptist, African-American and apparently heterosexual Baker of being Jewish, gay and not black enough.

Kudos to the good people of Newark for not buying into this basest of appeals.

The 37-year-old Booker, whose record of political accomplishment is thin, has quite a job ahead of him in a city blighted by poverty, corruption and a 40-percent high-school drop-out rate. But Newark is truly one of the nation's great cities -- full of beautiful buildings, active churches and a history rich in jazz. If Booker can do that legacy justice, he could be the Democratic Party's next big star.

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