Thursday, May 9, 2013

Do Hogsett's Prayer Breakfast Comments Signal Anything At All?

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett
As 2015 draws closer, Democrats continue to wonder what candidate will carry their party’s standard against Mayor Greg Ballard in the election fight for Mayor of Indianapolis.

Democrats are hoping to get it right this time around in matching the right candidate with the right tactics. They need to find someone who can raise cash, carry a message, and yet is not afraid to mix it up in attacking the Ballard Administration's many shortcomings.

The Democratic candidate must adopt the mantra that everything is on the table in 2015, and Indianapolis cannot afford another four years of the Ballard Administration.

So far, a few Democratic candidates like Brian Mahern and Ed Delaney have said they are considering the race, but it's clear that one name could still carry a big punch should he enter the race.  That's U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett.

A Rushville, Indiana native, Hogsett presents many positives as a candidate. As I previously have stated on this blog, his political rolodex is deep and diverse. He can raise a lot of money in a short amount of time and can deliver a stump speech like few others.  He would have substance and style signaling the perfect match for a candidate in 2015 to run against Mayor Ballard.

So, sign him up, right?  Well, it's not that easy.

Ballard is not going to go quietly.  He's going to raise a ton of cash and the Republicans will do whatever they can to keep him in office.  That gives Hogsett has a lot to think about. He could be U.S. Attorney until 2017 for sure and on into a potential Hillary Clinton Administration given his close relationship to the Clinton family. That means he could be the U.S. Attorney until at least 2025 if he wants to be and he continues to be asked to serve. It’s a big decision for him.

What’s Joe thinking?

Perhaps we got a clue from a speech he gave on May 2 to a Prayer Breakfast in Lawrence. In front of a crowd of the who’s who in Lawrence and Marion County politics, Hogsett drew a standing and loud ovation for a moving speech.

Indy Democrat has obtained a copy of the remarks from a local campaign volunteer and activist. Here is the speech:
Remarks of U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett
City of Lawrence Prayer Breakfast
May 2, 2013

Let us pray:
For food, in a world where many still walk in hunger.
For faith and community, in a world where many still walk in fear.
For friends, in a world where many still walk alone.
Gracious and Loving God, we give you thanks. 
As was noted in that generous introduction, I have now served as the United States Attorney for nearly three years. In this position, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mayor Jessup and other mayors across Indiana as we strive to make our communities safer.
This is, quite simply, the best job I’ve ever had. 
But it isn’t all fun. Before I was able to work with Mayor Jessup and Police Chief Walton, I first had to face a group of leaders who are a bit more challenging to deal with — the United States Senate. Thankfully, my confirmation process was relatively brief and mercifully uninteresting. 
I will share with you with some measure of pride that my nomination was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. Whether the fact that it occurred at 2:17am in the morning on that October day in 2010 was cause for this unusual bipartisan support is a question that remains unanswered. And I have prompted no further inquiry. 
Once I was confirmed, though, there were two things that happened. The first was that I was blessed to receive ample congratulations from friends and family – although I will say that it was pretty apparent that many of my congratulators didn’t have the foggiest what it was they were congratulating me for. 
In fact, I think I see a couple of faces here today who at the time may have congratulated me on my new position as a federal judge. 
The second thing that happened is that I was administered the oath of office that all members of the Executive Branch take when they are sworn in. You swear to uphold the Constitution, to defend the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and then you conclude with those four words that have guided our nation’s leaders across two and a half centuries: so help me God. 
When I took that oath, I couldn’t help but think of President Bill Clinton. In settings such as these, President Clinton often recounted his experience being sworn in as President on the National Mall in 1993. 
As he tells it, he had rehearsed the lines over and over again, and the part he most looked forward to – the part he rehearsed the most – were those final four words. He says he had hoped to deliver them with power. With authority. To feel the weight of history as he echoed the call that had been spoken for centuries by our country’s great leaders. 
Instead, as he stood there on that cold morning in 1993, as he reached the crescendo of the Oath, President Clinton says things didn’t go as planned. 
What came out was more like this: “So…help me, God.” 
And so we gather here today to do the same. To ask, “so…help me, God.” To gain strength through the fellowship that comes when we all pause from our hectic lives to bow our heads and lift up our voices, acknowledging that we, too, need help. 
But in the time I have been given to speak to you, I’d like to caution all of us to not view our collective “amens” today as the end of prayer – rather, we must recognize it as the beginning of our work to have our prayers answered. 
And there is much work to be done. 
A few weeks ago, I was asked to offer remarks at the King-Kennedy Park on the anniversary of Dr. King’s untimely passing. That night I mentioned what Dr. King always referred to as the “unarmed truth.” 
A truth unvarnished. A truth hard to say because it is unpopular. A truth hard to accept because it may leave us with heavy hearts. 
And that truth is that in Indianapolis, as in too many of our state’s urban areas, we have not one city, but two.

Each living almost oblivious of the other, touching only on those occasions when the poverty and violence of one spills into the tranquility of the other. 
In one city, we find success. A city filled with spirit and opportunity. A city where streets are safe. 
But indeed, there is another city. 
A city that has neighborhoods where it is easier for a child to become a convicted felon than a college graduate. A city where young people are immersed in a culture where it is easier to get a gun than a high school diploma. 
Those committing these crimes did not come into the world this way. They are a product of our shared but divided cities, where citizens are bound by a common dwelling, but divided by race, class and fear. They are the victims of the great struggles we face. 
The challenge of reforming and expanding the educational opportunities in our most troubled neighborhoods. The need for access to more and better jobs. The fight to make it more difficult for children to illegally obtain a gun while giving those who have erred a chance to rebuild their lives and rejoin society. 
You are blessed to have leaders here today who understand these things. Mayor Jessup knows that. Police Chief Walton knows that. Other city leaders here in the room today know that. 
And so today, on their behalf, we pray for all who seek to lead and support the effort to heal these chasms that divide our communities. 
But more importantly, I ask for your help. 
Scripture doesn’t say, blessed are the peace-lovers, does it? Who doesn’t love peace? 
No, scripture acknowledges that God’s full mercies are bestowed on the peace-makers. 
That sentiment is echoed in the Book of James, where we are told to “be the doers of the word, and not merely the hearers.” 
As civic leaders, as public servants, as community activists, that is our charge. And I suggest that it is a challenge shared by all of us who call ourselves citizens of this community. 
For that reason, I ask that you pray today not just for others to find solutions to the problems we face in our neighborhoods, but rather that you pray to find within yourself the strength of purpose and the courage of conviction to truly live those precepts that are fundamental to the Gospel message. 
To live by those commands that bind every set of personal beliefs around the world – from Christianity to Islam, from Judaism to Hinduism, from Sikhism to the writings of the ancient Greeks. 
We are radically commanded to love neighbor as self. And we don’t select who “neighbor” is, do we? No, that has been selected for us. To treat others as you would have them treat you. 
I ask that we pray to cast off the false comfort and luxury that plagues those who become conscientious objectors in the war against poverty and hardship. That we not be content to just recognize adversity, but rather heed adversity as a call to action. 
As the Reverend Phillips Brooks said: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” 
Let us make it more difficult for our children to obtain guns. 
Let us take up the challenge of healing the wounds that divide our neighborhoods. 
Let us banish that mindless menace of violence from our streets. 
And at the last, let us work together toward this cause, not as whites or as blacks or as Latinos, or as rural or urban, or as rich or poor, but as citizens of a common community in a common dwelling, with a common desire. 
As my former law partner, Claude Spilman, Jr., used to admonish me, (and yes, he, too, was from Rushville): “Don’t give me justice, because that is what I deserve. Give me love and mercy, because that is what I really need.” 
I thank you.

Read what you want into all of that, but it appears that Joe Hogsett very eloquently still has the City of Indianapolis front and center in his mind.


Anonymous said...

Before you start crowing him as the your savior,you need to look at Vop Osilis FB page from yesterday

Paul K. Ogden said...

If Vop Osili is the savior, Lord help us. The man has voted for every corporate welfare scheme introduced into the council.

I don't know why you assume Ballard is going to run. I don't know that he will and he would be foolish to do so. He's already beaten the odds twice. He'd be smart to go out a winner. At the end of the day though the Democrats have to be willing to go after issues that for some reason the Kennedy campaign didn't want to touch.

Jon Easter said...

Checked the Facebook page, and I don't know what I should be looking for.

Regardless, Vop knows exactly how I feel about him. He's a good friend of mine. I just have not heard him say a word in public about Mayor.

Mahern and Delaney both have said they are exploring the issue, and someone forwarded me the Hogsett speech. I thought it was noteworthy.

Don't take what I write as an endorsement unless I say I endorse someone.

Jon Easter said...

BTW, I endorsed Vop for SOS before the 2010 Indiana Democratic Convention.