It's Hypocritical for Free Press to Slam Congressional Candidate For Robbery as Teen
contradicts the endorsement the Freep gave Johnson two years ago in the state senate race. To wit:
In this field, BERT JOHNSON offers the best combination of competence and experience. Johnson remains handicapped by a robbery he committed at age 19, which he continually must acknowledge but which fades in importance as he matures. His solid performance in the House, which includes casting tough votes such as the one to begin realigning teacher benefits, argues for his election.
Now, two years later, I'm supposed to think that Johnson's criminal record, the same one we were told "fades in importance as he matures" in 2010, should be a bigger obstacle than ever? Suddenly, with a federal congressional seat on the line, his performance now has to take a back seat to his past? Now, after decades of keeping his nose clean and working hard to change perceptions, Johnson no longer has earned the right to be defined as anything more than "a felon?"
Maybe I'm wrong, but this strikes me as illogical and a bit hypocritical.
Further, there's something slightly off with the message here. Johnson's story, which took him from a prison cell to the state legislature, shouldn't be presented as a reason to discourage political participation, but rather as an example of the power of rehabilitation.
I don't doubt that there would be some cruel jokes directed at Johnson and the city were he to win, just as Conyers draws cracks for his age, his wife's criminality and his son's goofball antics.
But so what. This may come as a shock, but Detroit already is the butt of cruel jokes, not to mention the target of shitty national media coverage and statewide enmity. We can handle it. Why in the hell should that stop voters from picking Johnson if they believe he's best suited to champion their interests in Congress?
Henderson's piece has no problem accepting that Conyers has reached the end of his storied political career and presents him as the best in the race not because of anything he's done recently but because of that long history.
Truth is, though, Conyers shouldn't be promoted because of what he did 20 years ago anymore than Johnson, 38, should be panned for what happened nearly two decades back. The term "icon," in this case, is as irrelevant to our current political circumstances as is the word "felon."
The past matters, yes. But this is clearly a case where voters should be much more concerned with how these candidates see our future.