So it's come to this: There is, as pointed out this week by state Young Democrat president London Lamar, only one "chartered Democratic organization in this county," and it isn't the Shelby County Democratic Party, a body which was officially "decertified" last Friday by state Democratic chair Mary Mancini. It is, in fact, the Shelby County Young Democrats, led by Lamar's colleague Alvin Crook.
Surprisingly, given the fact that the SCDP was a hotbed of internal dispute, there was very little remorse at its passing. It would seem that Mancini's action was widely regarded by all sides as something of a mercy killing.
Meanwhile, Lamar and Crook promise that the Shelby County YDs will pursue "initiatives" and, in effect, act in the stead of the now defunct "state SCDP," pending its reconstitution.
That reconstitution will take some doing, in that the party organization, as such, has been so locked into pointless disputation for some time as to have been of little consequence in influencing political results in Shelby County — at least to any positive end.
In elections for local countywide office, only two Democrats — Assessor Cheyenne Johnson and General Sessions Clerk Ed Stanton Jr. — have been able to gain office and be re-elected in recent years. To rescue an often-abused phrase, their cases are the proverbial exceptions that prove the rule. Both Johnson and Stanton are county-government veterans with demonstrable records of competence and with support across partisan lines. Their success at the polls would seem to clearly debunk the claim made by losing Democratic nominees in every county election in this century that the defeats of party candidates must be due to some infamy or illegality perpetrated by the county's Republican Party or by the admittedly error-prone Election Commission, with its current preponderance of three Republican members to two Democratic ones.
For whatever reason, in a county which, by the usual demographic and economic measures, should possess an overwhelming majority prone to voting Democratic, Republicans rule the roost instead. It is high time that local Democrats cease looking for the blame elsewhere and begin a long overdue reexamination of their own premises.
Under the circumstances, the plucky resolve of the county's Young Democrats is a welcome first step.
Speaking of pluck, the huge turnout this week at the visitation and funeral rites for Ann Ward Norton Morris, across various kinds of lines, political and otherwise, was in large part a testament to that quality in her life — as well as to the virtues of courage and perseverance, which Morris continued to demonstrate, even after a severely disabling stroke suffered in 1997 deprived her of most of the faculties which the rest of us take for granted. Remarkable also was the heroic care-giving service rendered unstintingly over that nearly 20-year period by her husband, former Sheriff and County Mayor Bill Morris, who regards that service, and not any office he gained, as the summit of his own life's work.