Quan’s Last Song

A sea of mostly empty circular tables adorned with white table cloth greeted me when I arrived at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, Jean Quan’s campaign party location Tuesday night. Live music substituted for conversation before Quan’s spirited faithful trickled in to celebrate victory and slowly a medley of supporters’ voices began to compete with the musicians. Both electrified the once empty room.

Quan's empty room
Fellow Oakland Voices correspondent Sergio Martinez waiting for the candidate

Families brought children, whose dangling feet swung  from their chairs, and it was great seeing young adults like Ramon Emanuel engaged in political dialogue.  This was Emanuel’s first political campaign and he said, “Working with the mayor on the campaign was a fun experience.” He went on to express a desire to become an Oakland police officer, because he believes Oakland needs more officers from local communities. I hope his dreams of serving Oakland aren’t lost, because he supported the wrong candidate.

full room
Mayor Jean Quan supporters

I spoke to Joyce Gordon of the Joyce Gordon Gallery and she said, “Quan was great. She gets things done.” A sentiment Merlin Edwards, another business owner echoed; however, he said that Quan’s  personality needs improvement.

Everyone  enjoyed the free flowing Mexican- style entrees and lemonade, while some purchased bar drinks to compliment their meal. The crowd’s  excitement grew to cheers when Quan arrived, dressed in red. TV reporters nudged out the print press for space close to the lady in red with their bright lights and microphones. Defeat wasn’t part of Quan’s lexicon that night. She highlighted in a speech about her outreach to the Latino Community and how her ground work would eventfully lead to the first Latino mayor.

lady in red
Mayor Jean Quan Meets the Press

The big screen telecast mostly showed national election results of the republicans gobbling up the country like in an old pac-man game. A political romp,  which reminded me of Don Meredith’s Monday Night Football song he would sing, “Turn out the lights the party is over,” – a sure kiss of death.

Quan didn’t sing Don’s song Tuesday night. If she had, it would have sucked all hope from the room. Instead, the lady in red told everyone to wait until Thursday when all of the absentee ballots were counted. Unfortunately,  time and voters weren’t that kind to Quan.

The desire for instant gratification runs deep in youth culture; however, acquiring perseverance comes from enduring defeat. Let’s hope one of the lessons learned by the youth in Quan’s bid for reelection was: don’t quit.

Mayor with youth
The mayor with two of her young supporters

I hope Meredith’s lyrics don’t represent Quan’s parting song. Hopefully, she prefers Sly Stone, “You can make it if you try,”  words our children can bank on, because they need all the encouragement we can give them. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then Mayor Quan standing with two young community change agents is worth a farewell heartfelt song.

Author Profile

Gerald Green is a 25-year cancer survivor. Green released his memoir Life Constricted: To Love, Hugs and Laughter in 2010, which chronicles his family’s saga and victories over his three bouts with cancer: tongue cancer in 1995, neck cancer in 1997 and prostate cancer in 2008. His chapter, Fatherhood Love, appeared in the second edition of Black Fathers an Invisible Presence in America published by Routledge in 2011. Green’s poetry has appeared in the Healing Journey, an on-line publication, and The Monthly, a premier magazine of culture and commerce, which published one of his essays. Green’s writings like his article Prostate Cancer’s Time Zone reflect the importance of early cancer detection and the healthy impact of a loving family. Green is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) ECOG-ACRIN Head and Neck Cancer Committee and the Cancer Research Advocates Committee.

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