SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -Savannah Alderman and Mayoral candidate Van Johnson stepped in it last week. Literally. After two days of premeditation and thought, Johnson agreed to participate in a community meeting that barred reporters who were not African-American.
Not only an overt act of racism, but also an affront to the Constitution’s First Amendment.
When confronted immediately after the gathering at the Bolton Street Church, Johnson shrugged off the appearance as nothing more than an opportunity to speak with community leaders to advance his candidacy. The next morning Johnson went a bit further with the ultimate cop out by saying it wasn’t his meeting.
It wasn’t until Friday and until the outrage reached a fever pitch and the story made national headlines, that Johnson decided to apologize. But did he really?
In the lengthy statement he read in front of cameras, Johnson offered a non-apology apology, saying he was sorry he offended, not sorry that he crossed the threshold of the church in the first place.
Consider This: to be Mayor of Savannah, a candidate must have the ability to represent all its citizens, not just the ones you believe can get you elected.
On Friday, Alderman Johnson said that were the circumstances turned around and it was African American journalists barred from the meeting, he would have been the first to protest, which makes his decision last Wednesday even more egregious.
Johnson has vowed that he will do better and learn from this, but the lesson may be too late in terms of his bid to become Mayor.