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Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle

Benny Napoleon rescues baby July 31, 1989. COURTESY PHOTO

Benny Napoleon rescues baby July 31, 1989. COURTESY PHOTO

Detroit babies need us

By Sam Riddle
Special to the Michigan Citizen

Babies tug at our hearts because a baby renders us human. Our natural instincts drive us to protect and love the tiny human as we embrace our own humanity.  That baby is all that keeps the human race going. No babies no hope. No babies no future — no nothing. We love and protect babies unconditionally.

Some have even risked their own lives to snatch a baby out of harm’s way seeking no attention. Just doing it because it needed to be done.

Sheriff Benny Napoleon had a slight tremble in his voice as he exercised the discipline that comes with having come up through the tough ranks of Detroit law enforcement. Those of us who have been on the streets, in jail or prison know the tremble we heard in Napoleon’s voice during the televised debate with D-U-G-G-A-N was not a sign of weakness but the voice of one restraining himself before taking out a weaker, if louder, adversary. Yep. Detroit is a no-bluff zone.

Being a cop on the tough azz streets of the D has turned some into drunks, broken up many a family and even seen a few turn rogue with behavior that shamed the badge. Most cops risk their lives 24/7, serve with honor and take pride in their work simply because that is what good women and men do.

Benny Napoleon has been that good cop unapologetically humbled by being of Detroit for Detroit to a fault. Do not take Napoleon’s quiet demeanor for weakness. Do not let what has not happened to the mayoral campaign of Benny Napoleon cloud your vision of Benny Napoleon the man. After all we should be voting for the person, not casting ballots for slick azz TV/radio ads. But we are suckers for that 30 second TV ad. More of that diabetes-causing Pepsi please.

That picture of a young cop who rescued one of Detroit’s babies from a barricaded gunman situation without regard for his own safety tells me all I need to know about Benny Napoleon’s strength of character. Battlefield experience on the streets of Detroit defeats chicken hawk squawks every time. If Benny was a white boy, the mainstream media would have a cape on Benny and he’d be landing in downtown Gilbertville to the cheers of Gilbertites.

I fear Napoleon may be Detroit’s John Kerry. Kerry was secure in his belief that the American people knew he was a bonafide patriot and war hero beyond question. While that was true; Kerry was “Swiftboated” — defined by lesser jerkwaters who lied but successfully questioned the credentials of a genuine American patriot and war hero to the point that Kerry’s slow response led to Kerry being negatively defined leading to the re-election of President George W. Bush who never saw a day of combat. If we do not define ourselves and resist the paintbrush of negativity, we become what they say we are.

Napoleon and D-u-g-g-a-n. There is a big difference. The choice is ours. Just vote. And don’t hate on that neighbor who doesn’t vote your way. There is still time to educate with facts. Bullying won’t work.

And if one picture is worth a thousand words, what is the worth of that picture in TV/radio ads depicting a Detroit hero, Benny Napoleon, rescuing one of our babies? We’ll soon know. It has earned at least one vote — mine.

We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.

Sam Riddle is political director for Michigan National Action Network. He can be reached on Facebook at facebook.com/sam.riddle or Twitter at twitter.com/samriddle

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