Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lee Holloway remains a thug

Local blogger Steve Eggleston, writing about a memo by Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway, had the temerity to refer to the chairman as a "thug." Jim Rowen objects, and says that Eggleston is playing the race card.

At least one self-described "hard-boiled" righty blogger can't stop playing the race card.

That's the only conclusion you can come to when "Thug" - - a word that worked itself into the local vocabulary following particularly violent crimes, and especially during former Ald. Michael McGee's legal troubles - - suddenly becomes Holloway's middle name, too.

Apparently on at least one right-wing blog from the south Milwaukee suburbs - - and so far I'm not seeing anyone on the conservative side of the blogosphere take the race-baiter to task - - Holloway's 'crime' was supporting a sales tax increase, in a public policy debate, at the Milwaukee County Board.

Which he chairs, as the Supervisors' elected leader.

In other words, where he does his job.

Yes, readers outside greater Milwaukee and beyond, this is part of the heavily-racialized public debate that is endured here.

Rowen then points out a number of white politicians that supported raising taxes not commonly referred to as a "thug."

The word "thug" has its origins in a murder cult in India. The Thuggees were devoted to the death goddess Kali and their favorite method of murder was to take unsuspecting travellers and strangle them.

Today "thug" refers to someone who is a violent, often physically brutal, criminal in nature. The nice part about the word "thug" is that the ugly sound of the word wonderfully provides an aural texture to the thought being conveyed in such a small word. "Thug." The "ug" sound, like in "ugly" and "ugh" (or reversed in "disgust") quickly identifies an object of revulsion.

Like Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway. Let's face it. "Thug" is so much better as a short descriptor than almost any term to describe the chairman. It certainly rolls off the toungue more quickly than, "petty and violent kleptocrat and slumlord." Or even "brutish and corrupt".

Rowen attempts to make the case that Steve Eggleston was using the term because a) race, and b) Holloway's stand on taxes. Would it make Rowen sleep better if I accuse him of thuggish bullying with his cry of racism? After all, Rowen admits that Eggleston has used the term before to describe Holloway in other blog posts on other issues, but does not provide any evidence that Eggleston meant the term in a racilly pejorative fashion.

Rowen's only argument is that Holloway is an African American, Michael McGee Jr was an African American, conservatives have used the word "thug" to describe both. Perhaps Rowen should be more concerned why their African American constituents were tolerant of having thugs as their elected representatives.

Rowen owes Eggleston an apology, the word "thug" remains in circulation, and Lee Holloway remains a thug whether Rowen acknowledges it or not.

In the meantime, perhaps Rowen would be willing to take up the cause of the misuse of the term to describe other politicians? Yeah, I didn't think so.