There was a period of time when I had a healthy measure of respect for Monroe City Councilman Norman Garrett.
I felt like he was playing an important role on the council, the contrarian who was holding city officials and city employees accountable in a way they probably hadn’t been in a long time. If ever.
Not that I particularly agreed with Garrett on any of his points, but I could respect the effort he was putting into making them.
Unfortunately, it is getting difficult to respect Garrett any longer. His recent actions combined with his most recent words simply makes it almost impossible.
Garrett is at odds, shocking I know, with Mayor John Howard and Garrett’s colleagues on the council because he doesn’t feel like he received the proper level of support from them relative to an event he wanted to put on promoting unity in the community.
“Garrett” and “unity” don’t often collide in the same sentence, so you may want to mark that one folks.
Garrett wanted to have his event at a park that was closed. City officials asked him to move it to one that was open. Garrett became upset because he wasn’t getting his way, and immediately took to social media to make sure everyone knew racism was the reason he wasn’t getting his way. Going so far as to call the mayor racist on his Facebook page.
You can read the profanity-laced tirade Garrett offered Tribune reporter Andrew Kenneson relative to his dealings with the city on the event in the story about the controversy on page A3 of today’s paper.
Garrett continued his profanity-laced tirade by taking aim at Editor and Publisher David Clemons, telling Kenneson after the meeting that a column Clemons wrote last week was racist, even though the column had nothing to do with Garrett’s event.
Doesn’t matter, as far as Garrett is concerned, the folks who own and operate The Tribune are as racist as they come.
Despite the absurdity, race-baiting like this is dangerous. It can inflame the community in a way that is detrimental to the overall good of the city, which as a member of the council Garrett is allegedly supposed to be working toward.
At the least, it creates the opportunity for Monroe to be in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, which would do nothing but slow the tremendous positive momentum the city is experiencing right now.
Most importantly, it’s just not true. Norman Garrett not getting his way does not automatically mean the person telling him “no” is racist. Only Garrett could turn an upgrade in facility for his event into a race issue.
But that’s Garrett’s M.O. when he gets upset. This is just the latest example.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a world where a man would be judged by the content of his character not the color of his skin.
Based on his words and actions, I wonder what the great civil rights leader would think about the content of Garrett’s character right now?
I’d have to think he’d be pretty disappointed.
I know I am.