rikyrah has already posted video and the news about Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) stepping down “temporarily” over his alleged ethical violations. I think we all know he’s not likely to be back though. Rangel was until today one of the most powerful black people in the world as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (hint: it’s about the federal budget and the benjamins). It was right for him to step down.

However, it’s a sad end for a once-righteous Rangel. It’s a cautionary note for the Congressional Black Caucus. Rangel is one of the CBC’s founding members when it was a cutting-edge concept for a then-small group of black Members of Congress to work together for the interests of African-Americans. He coulda gone down in history like Thurgood Marshall — a titan of American politics. Instead, he sinks in shame due to his own immoral compass.

Gov. David Paterson should also step down. Pressuring a victim of domestic violence to remain silent because um, it might embarrass his administration? Choosing a woman beater who happens to work for you over a woman who needs the protection of the law (if true)? Not ok in my book.

Let this be a lesson to African-Americans in power — the rules still very much apply to you. We’re not going to “understand” your “special needs” as a politician. In fact, if you break any rules or accepted mores, you will get thrown under the bus quicker, most likely, than a non-black politician who does the same thing. AND because of you, the image of all African-Americans is ultimately impacted negatively as a result. It’s still not easy for the public to trust our ability to govern responsibly — the media images of blacks as lazy, rapacious cold criminals are just beginning to be balanced with more realistic images of professional, family-oriented African-Americans.

Keep your nose clean. And you’ll live large a lot longer…

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