Former DC Mayor Marion Berry dead at 78

There are those who say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead and if you don’t have anything good to say to say nothing. That is not the RedState way.

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry has died. The best possible legacy for the man is to forget him as soon as possible.

Barry burst upon the scene a classic race baiter in the tradition of the end of the street movement part of the Civil Rights Era. Admittedly, he was a piker compared to maestros like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson but still he cut a swath through a liberal white establishment that was so fearful of being called racist that it supported Barry for most of his political efforts.

His signature accomplishment was harnessing the anger of the heavily black wards east of the Anacostia River to his political ambitions and keeping them harnessed by deliberately ignoring those areas and somehow, incredibly, blaming whitey for their troubles. He single-handedly turned the city bureaucracy into a cookie jar for his friends and their idiot relations. The took a police force that was rated among the best in the nation when he was first elected and turned it into a mirror image of himself: corrupt, incompetent, and uncaring. The school systems degenerated into a little shop of horrors that became the reef upon which many a reformer’s career was wrecked and from which children exited. If DC never achieves statehood the reason will be the reign of error that was Marion Barry’s tenure in office. So maybe there is something to be said in his favor.

He exacerbated racial and class divides in order to stay in power and made the capital of the most powerful nation on earth synonymous with murder, drug abuse, cronyism, malfeasance, and misfeasance.

He was a blight upon politics of the city and his demise came far to late to be of any real value.