The endorsement I never intended to make

Published 7:48 am Sunday, September 27, 2020

For some reason, my integrity as a journalist has been called into question lately – not by name most often, but in comments which allege that this newspaper as a whole has tilted its coverage and in so doing exposed some sinister and silent bias.

Odd, since, under my editorship, for the first time in this paper’s nearly 200-year history, the Times-Journal has not endorsed a single candidate in a single race – not for county commission, city council or mayor.

I grandiosely attributed this to my ideal of “radical objectivity,” where a newspaper remains steadfastly objective even if that means casting aside traditions, such as endorsements, which have been a hallmark of print media since its inception.

To my surprise, my proclamations of allegiance to the tenets of unbiased journalism have garnered not praise, but derision, as lacking an outward bias these newsprint bloodhounds have sniffed around and found what they believe to be bones, bits of skeletal remains that prove a mass grave of biases still rots somewhere beneath the newsroom.

But I’ve grown weary of preaching the same sermon to a chapel full of functioning eyes unwilling to see – no, now my cynicism and frustration have gotten the better of me and I find justification for my imminent actions in a silver screen exchange:

“The first time someone calls you a horse, you punch him on the nose; the second time someone calls you a horse, you call him a jerk; but the third time someone calls you a horse, well, then, perhaps it’s time to go shopping for a saddle.”

Indeed. If you’re going to be relentlessly accused, at some point it becomes silly to protest in vain; one, already suffering the consequences of guilt, might just as well be guilty.

With that in mind, I wholeheartedly back Miah Jackson to serve as the next Mayor of Selma, believing that she not only has the experience required to effectively fill the position, but also the diehard commitment to this city that will be required to weather the storms it will surely face as it begins its ascent.

To be clear, this is in no way a judgment on the ability of former Mayor James Perkins Jr. to fill the position, it is simply my belief that Miah Jackson is the right candidate for this moment in Selma’s history.

Having watched her on the Selma City Council for the past two years, I have known her to be a woman of high integrity and one willing to doggedly pursue the truth; I’ve also known her to be forward-thinking, a pragmatic-yet-creative thinker, and one always willing to go the extra mile
for this city and its people.

With all respect due to Mayor Perkins, it is time for this city to go in a different direction and pin its hopes on a young, energetic, intelligent and experienced leader who will be tasked with working with a new council poised to consist of similar minds.

I have nothing ill to say of Mayor Perkins – personally, he has always treated me kindly and been a pleasure to interact with – but he had his time at the helm and, for better or worse, it’s over.

Now is the time for next-generation leaders capable of building upon the successes of the past, while also learning from the missteps, and Miah Jackson is undoubtedly the candidate best capable of leading them, and this city, as it seeks to dig itself out from beneath the pile of ruin
that has only grown over the past several years.

Naturally, the preeminent prognosticators of the web will point to this as evidence of their political-forecasting prowess, honed over years of watching county elections – hell, it may even prove that “fake news” has indeed infiltrated the local newsroom – but at least now they have
fuel for their fires.

And, if the work I’ve committed my life to and the seriousness with which I approach it is to be fodder for another’s cheap campaign digs, let me at least go down throwing my hat into the ring, rather than remaining ringside and getting beaten all the same.

Not only is Miah Jackson the best candidate in this race, she represents the very best this city has to offer and there is no doubt that, under her leadership, this city will thrive, prosper and grow.

Candidates of Miah Jackson’s caliber do not come along every day and this city will do an injustice to its own future if it passes up the opportunity to put her behind the wheel and allow her to steer this city toward brighter destinations, which she will surely do, if given the opportunity, with her trademark grace, integrity, pride and determination.