Do you remember this tongue twister from childhood?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
And chuck as much as a woodchuck would
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.
This tongue-twister has been playing in my mind since Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner took the stand in his trial for accepting a bribe and was convicted on all counts. Like many, who had had nothing but good encounters with Mr. Turner previous to this accusation, I thought that when he testified, he would have something profound to say or show that would refute the charges against him. Turns out he didn’t. Turns out he accepted “some” money. Turns out he should have listened to his defense team and other community members who advised him not to take the stand because without his testimony there was still some reasonable doubt as to his guilt. Then he took the stand and it is clear, to me at least, he took the money. (Preachers handshake or not.) So…
How much wood would a woodChuck chuck if a woodChuck could chuck wood?
A deuce and a five (at least).
How much good would a woodchuck do if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
How many lies would a woodChuck tell if a woodChuck thought he could?
How much damage would a woodChuck do when he continued to accuse and brood?
How fast would a woodChuck leave when he overstayed his day?
This all defies logic. Where’s the honesty and grace? (As Chris Rock says in one of his routines, “You know that you did it, just admit it!”)
The original wrong was when Ron Wilburn decided to work for the FBI and didn’t care that his testimony would bring down two seasoned black politicians (former State Senator Dianne Wilkerson being the other one), corrupt/sloppy as they were. He willingly participated in a shell game. (A shell game is “A fraud or deception perpetrated by shifting conspicuous things to hide something else. From thefreedictionary.com)
He* sells seashells by the seashore.
The shells he sells are surely seashells.
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I’m sure she sells seashore shells.
Nothing about Mr. Wilburn is naïve so I assume that $30k was enough for the ruination he caused. Boston’s Black community remain as vulnerable as ever. Two steps forward, 10 steps back. I hope this turnover brings new leadership that will lead thoughtfully, remain principled and know when to get the hell out of the way and let new leadership come, hell, how about grooming and mentoring new leadership?
Interestingly, after this shell game that brought down two black politicians (as able, arrogant and twisted as they might be) and a black businessman, now a pariah in his community (however he defines his community), the other perpetrators of fraud in the licensing bureau are still hiding in plain view.
Little Community Blue*, come, blow your horn!
Wake up community (in Boston and beyond). Wake up! Demand more of our politicians. Stop keeping the blinders on. Scrutinize carefully. Demand more.
(Parting thought. Perhaps we don’t need any more politicians so enamored of their intelligence that they lack commonsense. How about some wise politicians? How about people who have common sense and sound characters?)
*(In the original tongue twister, it’s a she.)
**(In the original nursery rhyme, it’s Little Boy Blue, for those who don’t know.)
- Turner found guilty of accepting cash bribe – Jonathan Saltzman, The Boston Globe (Oct. 30, 2010)
- An Activist to the End – Adrian Walker, The Boston Globe (Oct. 30,2010)
- Shouting match erupts in court (US prosecutor, star witness clash at Turner Trial) – Jonathan Saltzman, The Boston Globe (Oct. 23, 2010)
- Government paid $30,000 to its witness against Turner (Businessman took part in FBI sting operation) – Jonathan Saltzman, The Boston Globe (Oct. 19, 2010)
- Wilkerson guilty of attempted extortion; prosecutors recommend up to 4 years – –Travis Andersen and Jonathan Saltzman, The Boston Globe (June 3, 2010)
(Readers, for some reason I’m not able to link to all of these articles. My apologies.)
If you liked this post, you may also like:
The First Wrong
Boston’s Black on Black Crime