Robin DeMonia of the Birmingham News has a good column today about Rep. Alvin Holmes and his impassioned defense of Patricia Todd and the voters who elected her to the state house. Here are some excerpts, but be sure to read the whole thing.
Alvin Holmes has fought as hard as anyone to open doors for blacks in Alabama.
As the longest-serving black legislator in the state, and one of the most outspoken representatives of any color, Holmes marches headlong into battle more often than most people walk to the mailbox….
…Yet Saturday, Holmes fought just as passionately on behalf of a white candidate.
Holmes urged the Democratic Party to reinstate Patricia Todd, who defeated Gaynell Hendricks in a Jefferson County legislative race but was disqualified (as was Hendricks) for violating a long-ignored party rule.
The problem, Holmes said, wasn’t that Todd didn’t file her campaign finance reports with the party. That rule hasn’t been enforced since 1988. The real problem was Todd is white, and House District 54 is predominantly black….
…”I’ve been arrested 27 times for standing up for people’s rights,” Holmes said. “It’s too late in the evening for me to start standing up and taking people’s rights from them.”…
…Some dismiss Holmes’ antics as good theater. But more often than not, there’s substance and integrity in what Holmes says. As he showed again Saturday, there’s a difference between grandstanding and taking a grand stand.
Rep. Holmes has no problem standing up to the power structure in the state and the party. He deserves lots of credit for his courage. “It’s too late in the evening for me to start standing up and taking people’s rights from them.” Words to live by.