It’s been a rough three months for LaWana Mayfield.
In April, she landed in hot water with some voters after appearing to question whether airplanes actually brought down the twin towers in New York during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Less than two months later, she again found herself standing in an unflattering spotlight after she let fly a tweet that called police “homegrown terrorists.”
But as City Council voted Monday to support hosting the 2020 Republican National Convention, a proposition vehemently opposed by a large segment of Charlotte’s black voters, it was Mayfield who spoke most eloquently to crystallize why our city should not serve as a backdrop for what is expected to result in Donald J. Trump’s re-nomination for president.
And she did it using Trump’s own words – a series of directives he blasted from the campaign trail in 2016:
“Knock the crap of him, would you? I promise I will pay your legal fees.”
“I’ll beat the crap out of that guy.”
“I’d like to punch him in the face.”
“Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
“Part of the problem is that no one wants to hurt each other anymore.”
“I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will.”
“The audience hit back; that’s what we need a little bit more of.”
“If you do hurt him, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.”
The packed council chamber sat in what seemed to be stunned silence as Mayfield reminded all in attendance that what we are witnessing in the person of Trump must not be normalized, and that taking a principled stand against hosting hate is not simply partisan politics.
As far back as December, it was Mayfield who stood alone among her council peers as having the prescience to understand just how divisive this issue could become for Charlotte, a city still tender from the violence that erupted following the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott nearly two years ago.
As for hosting the RNC, Mayfield reminded her fellow council members that, “…at some point you have to recognize that blood money is not good,” and she called on city leaders to align their votes with their stated values of making Charlotte — a majority-minority city – a place of hope and opportunity.
When all the talking was done, council members voted 6-5 to welcome the convention, largely behind arguments that hinged on economics and city prestige.
Reasonable people will long differ on the wisdom of that vote, and only time will tell whether some day we celebrate as a city or live to regret it. But in the midst of a summer that has seen Mayfield take some self-inflicted wounds, her words on Monday showed why, to many, she remains the people’s voice on city council.
How They Voted
The yes votes were:
James Mitchell (D)
Greg Phipps (D)
Larken Egleston (D)
Julie Eiselt (D)
Ed Driggs (R)
Tariq Bokhari (R)
The no votes were:
Justin Harlow (D)
Braxton Winston (D)
Dimple Ajmera (D)
Matt Newton (D)
LaWana Mayfield (D)
Glenn H. Burkins is a career journalist and publisher of Qcitymetro. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.