Sometimes life can seem so cruel. Take two intrepid boys, both with dreams of grandeur about making their mark in their respective professional fields. Both have a strong will and both will forever be indelibly linked with the Dominican Republic- but for very different reasons.
Ding Dong! Yes, please. World renowned fashion designer Oscar de la Renta just may be DR’s most prominent citizen, bringing refinement, high-brow class and elegance to the country.
Oh Charlie Rangel, how are have you fallen.. well, wait, you cannot fall from an upwards perch where you never resided in the first place. By the time you read this, you should be well aware that Congressman Rangel (D-Harlem) was found guilty on 11 of 13 ethics violations by the House’s Adjudicatory Subcommittee this past week. Although many reports have surfaced regarding his “unethical practices”, including the use of four rent stabilized apartments as campaign headquarters, I would like to focus on a different topic- exactly how in the world did this guy get reelected for the 20th time just a few weeks ago?
The answer is simple: Charlie Rangel is the “black hope”. Make no mistake about it, he is the Obama of Harlem. He was born in Harlem, NY, went to undergrand and law school here and prospered his way all the way to Washington DC. He is in the mind of many, powerful, affluent (enough so that he purchased that villa in DR where he was photographed sunning himself.. vomit) and has achieved what so many downtrodden Harlemites desire- position and financial means. However, is the fact that he possesses extremely poor judgment and is nothing short of a liar, not an issue for those who voted for him?
Apparently not. Rangel supports just about ever single government assistance one could hope for; Food stamps, discounts on gas and electric, discounted transportation, you name it, he is getting it for his constituents. Currently, the face of Harlem is changing. A new W hotel opened up, Marcus Samuelsson opened his new restaurant, Red Rooster on Lenox Av. and 125th street and the inundation of young white couples have left, African-Americans as the minority race in Harlem (currently 4 of every 10 residents is Black). Essentially, young couples looking for the combination of space, affordability and location have moved up from the UES and UWS to Harlem, bringing with them higher rental rates and forcing those who cannot pay them, well out. And where do those go who are displaced? Maybe Sugar Hill, but a safer bet is back from whence they came, namely Queens and Brooklyn.
For those who are on the cusp of loosing their beloved place in the Harlem community, Rangel’s angle is to maintain the status quo as long as humanly possible. Eschew the likelihood of a face lift for the borough in order to keep the food stamps coming, the rent as low as possible, and the “woe is me” attitude affixed as tightly as any weave worth wearing.
Honestly, this is a classic case of the blind leading the blind. How can a leader without ethical boundaries, or even the ability to give a clear, concise explanation of his actions, lead a neighborhood so desperately in need of advancement into a new era if he himself is the poster boy for “give me more for less, I deserve it” attitude. Here is to hoping that Rangel will accept his punishment and go away, because at this point, Harlem is likely to keep electing him for another 20 terms and last time I checked, there is not veto for elections.