WMC-TV Channel 5 aired the first forum for the upcoming mayoral election tonight and I was fortunate enough to be one of three panelists.
Nine of the contenders for Memphis mayor were at Opera Memphis for the… circus.
Yep, circus. The CA’s story is here.
I’m all for the democratic process – and I understand that that means that some of the candidates may be weaker than others but Robert Hodges, aka Prince Mongo, was a disgrace.
I only met the man for the first time tonight, when pre-debate, I asked him why his legs (nekkid to the knee) were different colors.
The purple is because of his royalty, he explained, and the pink is the blood of the people. (I thought blood was red, but what do I know?)
He let me take a picture of him and told me I was pretty. He got pretty close when sharing that last tidbit, and what I had heard I can confirm: He smells like last week. (Or maybe last year. Either way, it’s not fresh.)
The Flyer’s Jackson Baker and The Main Street Journal’s Jonathan Lindberg were the other panelists and we’re a threesome on the debate scene, having worked together several times.
This may be my last forum, though, because after Hodges’ first rant – he was mad because Ch. 5’s producer was understandably not thrilled with his choice of clothing for the night’s festivities (bare feet, some sort of robe, a matted wig, shades, a fringe headband and…. wait for it… a rubber chicken hanging around his neck) – I was about to die laughing.
But I couldn’t laugh, because I’m sitting on stage and I have to ask Jerry Lawler (who is much brighter than I gave him credit for – my bad, Jerry) a question.
My parents TiVoed the forum, so I watched it at their house and saw how poorly I did at trying to keep it together. Anchor Joe Birch was fighting back laughter at points too, so if a pro like him was about to lose it, at least I was in good company.
At past debates/forums, the camera usually zooms in on the panelist asking a question. Not so tonight. When any of us asked a question, all three of us were on camera.
All my grimaces, all the times I covered my face in prayer, all the times I was covering my mouth to stifle the laughter – the camera caught.
Sorry ‘bout that.
BUT – Prince Mongo had no business being there. Yeah, I know, he was hilarious, and I’m sure Wanda Halbert and Lawler, who sat on either side of the prince, can still smell him.
He is a joke. He is not going to win, he’s never won, and he’s a distraction. I don’t know how Ch. 5 could have legally kept him out – maybe a no shoes, no service rule? – because he did meet the qualifications to run for mayor, but seriously?
A year from now, what will I remember from this debate?
Mongo’s smell. His call to arm all citizens with Uzis. His declaration that no one can prepare for an earthquake, so you better say your prayers (which in itself, is not bad advice). His desire to flush the “turds” clogging the city’s political system than much else that was said. And his bare feet. And colored legs.
And the Memphis mayoral race is too important to be toyed with. I mean, we had a game player for long enough, it’s time to get SERIOUS.
For example, Lawler gave a pretty good showing – I certainly have a greater appreciation for his campaign now – but will anyone be talking about that in a week?
I think Halbert is spot-on when she says there are enough people in Memphis to fill the vacant police positions – but will we talk about that?
Wharton gave a good listing of the things he’s accomplished in his tenure – things I wasn’t aware he could take credit for (and will research whether he’s really responsible or not) – and that’s information I didn’t know before tonight.
Wharton, the ballot’s “tapioca,” also sparred a bit with the slimmed-down, hottie that Carol Chumney has morphed into – showing more cajones than I thought he had. Smart move – people needs to know he can go “Midtown” (I think that’s where he lives) when need be.
Sharon Webb…. bless her heart. Not. Ready. For. Prime. Time.
Charles Carpenter – didn’t impress me. Didn’t depress me either, but the jury is out on him.
Rev. Kenneth Whalum squandered a perfect opportunity to either explain what happened with the two lesbian women he had ejected from his church last Sunday – if he didn’t want to give details, he could have at least said his church is open to all who want to come and given a third plug for Bust-A-Move Mondays (the website for which hasn’t been updated in months).
Baker asked Whalum if he’d explain what happened at his church, and Whalum said absolutely not. That kind of reticence/secrecy/I ain’t telling you ish is EXACTLY what we need in an elected official. *Sarcasm. I mean, he didn’t even have the sense to spin it? Boooo. BOOO!
Can’t wait for the next debate, to learn more about the candidates. I’m not sure who is hosting it, but I’ll be sure to tune in. And in the meantime, here’s to praying that Mongo is not available for any other debates and/or the organizers find a way to keep him out.
Yeah, that may be trampling on the democratic process, but seriously. It’s time to get serious.