In light of Atlanta Joe's need to share his inspired devotions to President Wagner, I'll chime in, too.
Joe is right, President Wagner is probably very sincerely sorry for having offhandedly made such a terribly tone-deaf comparison,
His initial column was written with such a sweeping arrogance that the news that it was in fact horribly offensive probably struck Jim Wagner in much the same way that a window pane strikes a bird as it flies directly into it. And why does the bird hit the window with such destructive force? Because it can't see the window. Wagner is sorry because he didn't see this coming, because to him, arguing that the 3/5ths compromise is an exemplar of National progress seemed an utterly uncontroversial claim to make.
After all, Wagner was trying to express his own love of democracy and futuristic ideals of things to come--things that he thinks he can deliver to Emory University in much the same way as the Statesmen of the late 18th Century delivered democracy to the United States of America. And in many ways he is right. His compromises will continue the disenfranchisement of many members of our community. They will be made in well-appointed rooms by people whose power can only be checked by one another. They will be informed by a limited scope of knowledge and they will be made (and have been) in such a way as to keep that scope limited.
Surely, President Wagner is sorry. And he is also surprised: that people are upset, that such an "oversight" could mean so much, that he could so quickly and fluidly expose the depth of his own arrogance and privilege. But none of that sentiment can undo the fact that he has exposed himself as wholly unfit to serve as a leader in a world as riddled with difficulty and difference as this one.
Creative Loafing Atlanta
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