The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last-minute Burney email shows chauvinistic tin ear

Burney turned his home into a campaign billboard.

Plainfield Democratic candidate Rashid Burney sent the following email blast at 10:34 AM on primary election day.

I think the 'psychodrama' and 'self-victimization' characterizations show Burney to be -- as we used to say back in the day -- an UNRECONSTRUCTED CHAUVINIST. Hardly the way to win women's votes -- or those of thoughtful men, either.

Here's the email (the highlighting is Burney's) --
Yesterday's mailing by Jerry Green on Rebecca Williams was Jerry Green's mailing. Not mine.

Rebecca 's campaign has had one theme: "Jerry owns Rashid. Vote for Rebecca". Jerry Green does not own me. He is a powerful force in this City and I work with him when I agree with him. When I disagree with him I work hard to get him to see things my way.

My record on the Council stands for itself. My support of gay rights is well known: I initiated and got passed equal benefits for same sex partners of City employees. I held a fundraiser in my home for the Plainfield Pride Film Festival. I fully supported Ray Blanco from day 1. I would never condone any gay bashing.

Rebecca has tried to make this election about Jerry and there is a lot of hate in this campaign, as evidenced by the mailers and Dan Damon's blogs.
At this late date, can we move beyond the Rebecca psychodrama with Jerry? Can we get past the endless self-victimization by Rebecca? I think we must.
My campaign has been about accomplishments, ideas, achievable goals for our City and a strategy to reach those goals:
  • Click here to see my vision for Plainfield
  • Click here to see my accomplishments
  • I am the ONLY candidate willing to speak on our schools. See my goals here.
Please remember, this election is about Plainfield and what we can get done. Will you vote for the person best qualified to move our town forward?
Thank you
Rashid Burney
Speaks for itself, doesn't it?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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robert.bolmer said...

I would like to thank Councilman Burney for the good work he has done for Plainfield. Unfortunately, Assemblyman Green's mailing was no help to Councilman Burney and shows how out of touch Green is. Good luck in your future, Councilman Burney, and God bless.

Alan Goldstein said...

C'mon Dan, give the man a break. I think you're reading too much into this.

Rebecca did make a big deal about Rashid allegedly being owned by Jerry and the party machine. I quote from one of her recent mailings- "Rashid has done everything the poltical bosses want". Maybe some things, as probably every elected official has, but certainly not everything. What would account then for his early and active support for Obama when the poltical bosses were all in the Clinton camp? Further, Rashid's push for citizen participation via advisory committees doesn't seem to play into the concept of machine politics.

But I think you may be reading too much into the words 'psychodrama' and 'self-victimization'. I know plenty of men, and women, both psycho and victimized, in mind if not also in reality. This is not a one way street.

Then, of course, there's Jerry Green. Rashid may very well have been blindsided by Green's last minute letter, just as so many of us were. Slapped in the face might be a better term. But you should note that Rashid's list of endorsements on many of his blog posts do not mention Jerry Green's. However the taint was great and Plainfield may have done a little bit of political calculus: Linda Carter goes to the Board of Freeholders, Rashid owes Jerry, the Jerry-rigged Democratic committee selects three potential replacements for Linda all of whom are Jerry's people, the Council is deadlocked 3-3 on who to select, and 60 days later the Mayor (and Jerry I suppose) gets to choose her replacement and gains solid control of the City Council.

Who knows if it would play out this way or what goes on behind closed doors and who owes who? I don't. But it does appear evident that our Assemblyman/Chairman is a liability, and his attempts to interject himself into the primary as a partisan, though it may not have cost Rashid the election, certainly accounted for Rebecca's clear majority in a 3-way race.

It's not over yet. Rebecca will do a great job, as I think would her November opponent Jim Pivnichny. But Jim, hey, you're a Republican in a Democratic town. Don't feel too victimized. The drama here is with us Democrats and your national party is just too psycho. Rebecca has shown she can fight the fight, and your mission (should you accept it) is to keep the Council and Administration on their toes. And Rashid, keep with the vision for change. Stay active and help us get some real business development in this town. I nominate you as Chairman of the City Democratic Committee, an election that can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

How does Rashid's calling Rebecca on her psychodrama and self-victimization make him a chauvinist? Are you saying that only women have psychodrama and paint themselves as victims? Who is the chauvinist?
Now if he had called her on her histrionics or called her a virago, a hoyden, a scold, a termagant, a harpy or a maenad, that would have been chauvinistic. But psychodramatic and self-victimizing ... not buying it.

Anonymous said...

First, let me extend kind regards and express my respect for the manner in which you share your opinions. However, I have to take extreme exception to your characterization of Mr. Burney's remarks as being chauvinistic. In the context of this solitary e-mail, I submit that Mr. Burney's use of the words "psychodrama" and "self-victimization" was gender neutral and not an intuitive indication of unreconstructed chauvinism as it relates to gender.

In regards to my identity, I choose to remain anonymous but I am an African American male in the 50's age bracket. Also, I have no personal association with Mr. Burney or knowledge of his belief structure or inclinations, i.e., my analysis of his e-mail is purely objective.

Before I continue, if we agree on the following definitions then you will clearly understand my response:

Psychodrama: An event, social interaction, or narrative that manifests psychological forces or problems.

Self-Victimization: Self-Victimization, or "playing the victim" is the act of casting oneself as a victim in order to control others by soliciting a sympathetic response from them or diverting their attention away from abusive behavior.

Chauvinism: Prejudiced belief in the superiority of one's own gender, group, or kind.

Would you agree that political candidates, male and female, are political chauvinists (prejudiced belief in the superiority of one's own political views)? This said, no where in the e-mail is a reference to indicate "male chauvinism" in regards to gender. If the e-mail contained phrases such as "female psychodrama" or "feministic self-victimization", I could see how you came to your conclusion but the e-mail is gender neutral and doesn't contain such verbiage.

Would you agree that male and female political candidates frequently engage in "psychodrama" during the course of a campaign? Unfortunately, psychodrama is part of the political landscape. If Ms. Williams was a man, I submit that Mr. Burney would've used the same word - it applies. As such, his use of the word "psychodrama" does not intuitively indicate male chauvinism.

Would you agree that male and female political candidates play the "victim card" to solicit voter sympathy and divert attacks from another candidate? If yes, can you see how Ms. Williams's and Mr. Burney's responses, to Mr. Green's communications, could be interpreted as playing the role of the victim (self-victimization), i.e., Ms. Williams defending herself and Mr. Burney distancing himself from Mr. Green's communique? As such, his use of the phrase "self-victimization" does not intuitively indicated male chauvinism.

The fact that Ms. Williams is a woman is coincidental and again, Mr. Burney's choice of words is not indicative of gender-based chauvinism. In stronger terms, the e-mail contains nothing of probative value to indicate any of Mr. Burney's gender-based inclinations.

Lastly, I'm reminded of a Shakespearean quote from Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, me thinks", i.e., when a person states a particular position in an unusually forceful manner, it could prompt others to wonder if the opposite is true. In other words, your pointed characterization of Mr. Burney's e-mail may actually indicate unreconstructed (male) chauvinism on your part. However, for me to jump to such an unsubstantiated conclusion would be just as unfair to you as your conclusion was to Mr. Burney.

Dan said...

Alan -- A woman neighbor of mine was aghast at the 'psychodrama' bit. I trust a woman's reaction on this.

Anonymous said...

Dan, I know 10 women who are smart enough to not let it bother them and take it for what it is. A Jerry Green (not Rashid) slime. They are also smart enough to know that Jerry Green doesn't even know the work psychodrama exists, let alone be able to spell it.