Back in 2005 I watched a documentary called Street Fight. It followed this young guy getting his figurative nose bloody in a race to be mayor of Newark New Jersey. He lost.
Of course that race was back 2002 and today no one remembers who the mayor of Newark was back then. A lot more people know Corey Booker.
In 2012 Mr. Booker, who by this time was mayor, made national news by running into a burning building to save a woman. The cynics thought it quite the stunt. I didn’t. This guy has been living in this sort of stunt since 1998.
You see, back in ’98 this guy had just graduated Yale Law. This after getting his BA in Poly Sci from Stanford (where he played football and was elected student body president)and studying as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. With this resume he skipped the penthouse and moved into the projects. He lived in the now demolished brick towers, Newark’s projects. How is that for downward mobility?
I didn’t meet Corey in the projects, I met him at a fund raiser in a home that another attendee joked could be purchased for a measly 1/4 of our countries national debt.
There were maybe 100 folks there in total. I knew none of them.
In the hour or two preceding Corey’s remarks I met a couple real estate investors, a wealth manager, a VP of a very well known online entertainment provider, a couple professors, a stay at home mom, and a guy in a yarmulke spent twenty minutes teaching me Yiddish words that I have regrettably since forgotten.
We ate caviar. They drank wine. At one point the man with whom I was chatting and I accepted some delicious looking sliders from the hors d’ouvre tray. before digging in my companion noticed a strip of bacon beneath the burger. he twisted his lips and looked disappointed. We looked around for a trash can, a utilitarian item that apparently didn’t fit the decor, and being the stand-up guy that I am, I volunteered to “dispose” of the offending food item. He thanked me and promised to return the favor should I find myself in possession of a glass of wine.
Senator Booker talked for about an hour and then answered questions.
In his remarks he covered his desire to have more people in elected positions coming out of the business world because they have had to “run something”. He talked about the need to make data driven decisions. He spoke of collaborating with all parties in order to solve problems. He recounted parables from the Talmud. He talked about reforming education and debt reduction.
He did not demonize. I have been to other political events that were nothing but demonizing and this was not that. Now make no mistake there was plenty of asking for money. Very direct requests for money. It was open, urgent, and in this place, location, and crowd that oozed privilege and dollars, there was a remarkable lack of sleaze.
Passionately rational and moral. That is how I would sum him up.
I won’t be voting for him. at least not any time soon. I won’t be donating either. Not because I don’t want to, I am simply unable on both counts. But should you be in New Jersey, or in possession of disposable income, I would encourage you to do either or both.
That slider was fantastic.