Monday, November 24, 2014

RIP, Mr. Barry

Marion Barry was the mayor of DC for much of my life. One of the things that's always interesting with any figure both public and not (certainly I have played this game with relatives) is finding the balance in appreciating all the good that they did, and not seeming to ignore the problems.  On balance his struggles with substance abuse end up mattering very little to me, although I am sorry for the ongoing struggles his family has had with that.  The issues of misuse of power and how those often intertwined with attempts to use that power to lure or reward his various mistresses trouble me.  I certainly lived in an area that often got plowed last, since my neighbors often voted for Barry's opponents.  But his work with the SNCC, the summer youth jobs program (I knew a few people who got jobs through that program), and let's face it - does anyone outside of DC much remember it's other six mayors?  (Soon to be seven, yes.) So, the best I have come up with is it's complicated.  He did good, he did bad, but ultimately I think DC benefited from his work, and that seems the thing to remember as is family and loved ones work through this loss.