Well it looks like Kwame Kilpatrick wants to face any possible criminal charges with the title "mayor" in front of his name rather than as a private citizen.
And maybe his pit-bull-in-the-ring act will work, and as long as he stands his ground and growls menacingly nobody will push him off the mark. If things drag on long enough maybe people will get tired of hearing about it as we move on to the next circus. (Mudslinging presidential election anyone?)
I think that Kilpatrick just can't see himself as anything other than a political creature. After all, he said he was born to be mayor of Detroit. But my father used to preach to me that you need to know how to do more than one thing in this world to make a living. Maybe the mayor just needs a little visualization exercise to see that he could have any of numerous alternative futures. He won't be mayor forever, or even as long as Coleman Young. Once he's out of Manoogian, his political career is most likely over and he won't make a comeback like Washington, D.C.'s Marion Barry. Barry, who was caught on video while smoking crack, ended up laughing it off like the party animal he is. Kilpatrick ... well he has family considerations.
That's why he will not return as a city council member the way Barry did. In Detroit there's not much to being a city council member after you've had the power of being mayor, especially for someone as arrogant as Kilpatrick. He wants to be the main man.
So what can he do in his next incarnation? He seems to have such a tight relationship with God, maybe he should be a minister. That special relationship means he could skip divinity school and start off in his own storefront church preaching forgiveness and redemption. With his charisma, the place would be packed to overflowing in no time. Then it would be a short jump to his own megachurch, with thousands attending weekly meetings. Then he could even call himself a bishop. There'll be television and radio broadcasts, healing the sick and laying his hands upon church members who need that special touch. He'll really like tithing. The biblical 10 percent tithe is more than he could ever squeeze out of city residents, and church nonprofit status would keep it all in his hands — with no inquisitive newspapers running around with Freedom of Information Act requests.
But maybe wearing a stiff collar isn't his cup of tea. Since he was known as the hip-hop mayor, maybe he should try being a hip-hop artist. We all know he can rap till the cows come home. For starters how about a name like Gangsta K or Kwame G? Nope, I think the best moniker for him would simply be Da Mayor. He could make the United Sound studios on Second Avenue the home of his Political Machine label. His first CD will be titled Vote for the Big Dog with a single called "Belle Isle Style":
I was rollin' round Belle Isle
With my posse in the Lincoln,
When I spied some luscious honeys
You know what I was thinkin'.
I asked them to come over
To my house cause I'm a playa,
And all our toys would come
At the expense of the taxpayas.
Fame for rappers is as fickle as the allegiance of politicians. Here today, gone tomorrow. Even Kilpatrick's mama is acting a little blasé about him lately. Da Mayor may need something with a little more staying power to it. If you note the ads in the back of the Metro Times you'll see that the strip club business is booming, and while table dancers can be readily discarded once they hit 30, grubby-fingered club managers seem to hang on forever. Plus, Kilpatrick already has the wardrobe for the part, right down to the diamond earring. I don't know a lot about running strip clubs — though I admit to having been inside a couple — but there's usually a big guy who resembles Kilpatrick hanging around the front door. And, hey, the guy's got an eye for the talent.
If he doesn't like staying up half the night with near-naked women, what else can he do? Kilpatrick's a good salesman, so he could open a used car lot on Jefferson Avenue. But maybe the Red Navigator Special would bring up too many memories. What might be a lucrative market is selling secret videotapes of the parties at various conventions of mayors over the years. I can imagine the pitch, "Get your copy of Mayors Gone Wild. These are real mayors gone wild. And if you order right now, we'll send you a free copy of How to Run Your Mayor Out of Town on a Rail!"
Come to think of it, there was a good reason African-American mayors across the nation chose to change the location of their convention to someplace other than Detroit. Nobody really wants to be caught on camera with Kilpatrick these days.
No ... wait ... I got it. He should be a pitchman for a text-messaging company. After all, when you think of Kwame, you think of text messaging. I can see him in profile with his wide-brimmed hat and a trench coat as he punches out a message. He'll turn to the camera and say, "Here's the dirty little secret. Our text packages are so cheap you can afford to send as many as you want — for whatever reason you need. And everything you send on our system is deleted within minutes. If I'd had one of these back in the day, I'd still be mayor of Detroit."
So go on, Mr. Mayor, move on out to that next phase of your life. Don't let stubbornness hold you back — or is that God's hand holding onto the back of your collar? Anyhow, I just want to say this: It's 3 o'clock in the morning. All the children are safe in bed, or as safe as they can be in today's world. The telephone is ringing at Manoogian Mansion. Who is going to answer that call? Nobody, because the music is so loud nobody can hear it ringing.
City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. has started adding a little flash to his rhetoric. In reaction to Kilpatrick's claim that there was no secret agreement or cover-up, Cockrel wondered aloud that Kilpatrick might be living on "Bizarro World." For those of you who didn't read Superman comic books as children, Bizarro is a fictional planet where everything is done the opposite of how it is on Earth. For instance, there you would say "goodbye" when you arrived somewhere and "hello" when you left.
When council postponed a vote on a resolution calling for Kilpatrick's resignation, Cockrel said that council members need to read the controversial Kilpatrick-Beatty text messages in order to "see how big the iceberg is" below the surface before they make a decision. Speaking in metaphors? It sounds like Cockrel has heard just how staid his image is and has begun juicing up the rhetoric. Or did he always talk like that and I didn't notice?Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]