Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The votes are in and counted. Mike Nifong will continue to be Durham County District Attorney, at least until the bar complaints are followed through. To those of you who voted for Nifong so you could see the “privileged white boys” on trial (as the first comment on our blog rejoiced after the results were revealed), congratulations. You got your wish. To those of you disappointed that this amazing effort didn’t result in Nifong’s removal from office, turn off “There’s a tear in my beer.” Or as Jo Dee Messina might say, “There’s no time for tears.” Put in Montgomery Gentry’s “Something to be proud of” and turn it up as loud as it will go.
A group of Durham citizens organized an effort to state loud and clear that Nifong’s unethical and despicable conduct would not go unnoticed. An easy general election win quickly turned into a less than 50% escape. That’s something to be proud of. The Democratic Party in Durham offered up only a candidate who wouldn’t serve. The Republican Party in Durham offered up only a delusional fool interested in promoting himself and too vain to bow out when a graceful exit could not be made. Ordinary citizens picked up the slack and spoke in a loud unmistakable voice about the real values of justice and the conduct expected of our public officials. This was best summarized in the confrontation between DA Nifong and longtime Blue Devil announcer Bob Harris. Responding to Nifong’s comical statement, “This isn’t about Duke at all,” Harris stated succinctly, “No, it’s about honesty. You’re not honest.” Every single person who contributed to this incredible and historic grassroots efforts against public abuse of power deserves to be proud today.
The words “something to be proud of” should haunt many others as we move into the beginning of the substantive portion of DA Nifong’s persecution of Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans. Regardless of what the conspiracy theorists choose to believe, these three young men are obviously and demonstrably innocent. People like those who spew hatred in the comments on our blog may rejoice today believing they scored a victory, but in reality all such people do is support the prosecution of clearly innocent people and the profound denigration of our criminal justice system. The Group of 88 professors at Duke may hope that a future day will vindicate their April 6th assessment that “what happened to this young woman” was a social disaster. What the conspiracy theorists and “get the privileged white boys” people forget is that there is a ton of evidence proving the innocence of Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans. A ll those that have supported and enabled this hoax will be soon exposed. The only thing the election results yesterday showed was that 49% of the Durham public wants to believe that DA Nifong has evidence and that the accuser has a credible claim. However, nothing is going to change the cold hard reality that this is clearly false. A courageous group of Durham citizens made a gallant effort to stop this train wreck. That it continues is nothing to be proud of.
As for Steve Monks and his supporters, most notably Charlotte Woods and Cliff Brandt, there is really nothing much to say. They undercut a citizens’ movement to remove an out of control public official from power. They are responsible for helping Nifong remain the District Attorney in Durham County. Perhaps this was their intention all along. Perhaps it was all a stunt to exercise political muscle. Monks, Woods, and Brandt should live in infamy as discredited, dishonest, and despicable individuals. The result of their efforts is nothing to be proud of.
Those with “something to be proud of” are those who stood against abuse of power and those who have vow to continue the fight. The justice of this cause will be determined by the truth and that truth has yet to be revealed in its full and dramatic glory. Innocence is only the beginning. Citizens of Durham did their best to avoid the painful process of exposing Nifong and the ugly details of this hoax. That process is now inevitable. While we are disappointed it could not be avoided, frankly, we are looking forward to it. When the hoax is over and the full truth known, we will all look back and judge our actions against the standards of “something to be proud of.” LieStoppers is comfortable where it stands.