“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.
Broward Circuit Court candidate Dennis Bailey is under fire for creating race-based versions of a palm card touting his campaign. Last week, Buddy Nevins of BrowardBeat exposed how Bailey created one card for black audiences and another for white audiences. One card had a large picture of Martin Luther Jr. and his quote, ““Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The other card used the same quote, but instead of Martin Luther King, Jr., it had a large photograph of a smiling Dennis Bailey. On the back of the card bearing Bailey’s picture, he listed the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. On the back of the MLK card, Bailey listed the endorsements of prominent black lawyers. A supporter of another candidate told Nevins, Bailey was “practicing segregation with his palm cards.”
Bailey admits his campaign manager is uber-lobbyist and salami sandwich doyenne Judy Stern. Political insiders tell RED BROWARD this palm card switcheroo is a typical Stern campaign tactic. Stern is heavily involved in the Broward County Commission races of Joseph Gibbons and Alexandra Davis. Also, Stern is a longtime supporter of Sen. Maria Sachs and her residency games. In order to satisfy Florida’s constitutional requirements, the wealthy state senator claimed she lived in a small, 740-square foot apartment in her Senate district owned by Judy Stern and her daughter, Barbra Stern.
On Tuesday, Bailey clumsily tried to defend his playing of the race card after he was confronted by Corey Shearer, president of the Broward County Black Democratic Caucus. Bailey told the Sun-Sentinel he did not create different cards for black and white audiences. He claimed he made the MLK card for everyone. “I was criticized that nowhere does it say I’m a white man. So I printed my image to show I’m not passing myself off as black. There were comments made that Bailey seems to be a black name and I’m pretending to be black in the black community,” he said.
Bailey said he changed the back of the card after he received the endorsement of the police group. “He said he believed it was a more effective strategy to show the endorsements of groups rather than the four individual black leaders he’d initially touted.”
Shearer warned his Facebook friends about Bailey’s tactics. He posted a flier with Bailey’s cards under the headline, “Warning! There is a fox in the hen house.” Shearer wrote, “No one ever does this. Dr. King’s family doesn’t own MLK – they OWE him. The Black Community doesn’t own MLK – they OWE him. America doesn’t own MLK – they OWE him. Do you think you own him Mr. Bailey? WHO ARE YOU REALLY MR. BAILEY??”
Following an appearance at a Pembroke Pines political forum, Bailey had the nerve to play the victim. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Bailey said, “I was surprised to walk into the room tonight and find out my character is under attack….The only one who should talk about my character is me.”
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
Almost as troubling as Bailey’s race cards, two of Dennis Bailey’s opponents did not want to talk about his character. When asked by the Sun-Sentinel about the controversy, Rhoda Sokoloff and Andrea Ruth Gundersen took the easy way out. “I may have an opinion, but I’m not going to say what my opinion is,” Sokoloff said. Gundersen said, “I’ve seen them. I’ve been at the events when they were handed out. People choose to do what they choose to do. And I’m not going to judge. It’s not my place to judge my opponent and what he chooses to do or not do. If he chooses to do that that’s his business.”
So, Andrea Ruth Gundersen wants to be a judge, but she doesn’t want to “judge” the dubious campaign tactics of her opponent? She considers playing racial political games to be “his business?” And Rhoda Sokoloff has an opinion about using MLK to pander to audiences but she doesn’t want to share? Don’t hide behind “judicial rules” or play the safe, politic, and popular game of spineless politicians. Even though this is Broward County, shouldn’t we expect our judges to take a stand and do something “because conscience tells him it is right?”
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.“–Martin Luther King, Jr.
You should reject the cynical strategies of Dennis Bailey and Judy Stern. Black voters are not dumb. They won’t be fooled into voting for someone based on a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. or any other leader. They won’t be swayed by the endorsements of a few well-connected lawyers. They won’t reject a candidate because they’re endorsed by a police union. A palm card won’t fool black voters into thinking a white candidate is really black.
White voters are not racist. White voters admire and respect Martin Luther King, Jr. For months, RED BROWARD has featured the “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” quote on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Bailey and Stern are using a cynical strategy which flies in the face of the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. And they think we’re too stupid to figure it out before the August 26th primary. Perhaps Bailey and Stern need a a new quote for their campaign:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.