Jimmy Carter had his brother, Billy, a celebrated lush who had a beer named after him and also embarrassed the White House by becoming a registered agent for rogue nation Libya.
Bill Clinton had half brother Roger, who had a cocaine conviction and whose Secret Service code name was “Headache” because of all the problems he caused the family.
And George W. Bush had brother Neil, who was involved in the collapse of a savings and loan that cost the taxpayers $1.3 billion.
Lots of elected officials have an embarrassing blood relative for whom they bear no responsibility. After all, you can’t select which family to be born into. Not so with a spouse.
Which brings us to the values that seem to be coming out of the household of the Village of Orchard Park mayor.
One Facebook posting under the name of Chris Clinton – husband of Mayor Jo Ann Litwin Clinton – included the N-word and the slur “shines” when referring to African-Americans who “never read a (expletive deleted) book” and don’t understand slavery.
Another post used a vulgarity to refer to pop star Beyoncé, who should “be on stage telling her female fan’s to close there legs and stop popping out baby’s left and right and sucking the gov tit.”
The ignorance of grammar is the least of the writer’s shortcomings.
Other posts under Clinton’s name over the last couple of years rag on interracial couples at the NCAA basketball tournament, President Obama’s “Muslim” background, gays, Democrats and liberals in general, often profanely.
If that kind of hate speech is coming out of the household of the mayor of this village within the Town of Orchard Park, what African-American or member of any other marginalized group would be comfortable moving there? Or opening a business? Or even driving through?
The village is about 95 percent white and less than 1 percent African-American, numbers not likely to change much if this is what’s coming out of a top elected official’s household. Is it any wonder that the Buffalo region is considered one of the most segregated in the country?
So what does the mayor have to say about these disgusting posts?
Dirty tricks by political opponents?
Outrage that her husband’s account must have been hacked?
Nothing at all.
Contacted by phone at her business, Litwin Clinton said she would consult with Village Attorney Philip Marshall and get back to me. She didn’t – and refused to take a follow-up call. So I went out to see her after a Village Board meeting last month, expecting her to express shock after actually seeing the posts and to say that it was a mistake.
Instead, she showed no curiosity about the posts, barely glancing at them as she walked away. Other than insisting that the village is “very welcoming,” she repeatedly had no comment.
The village attorney refused to return repeated phone calls before finally emailing a Buffalo News colleague and asking him to relay the message that “my client and I don’t want to speak …”
So that’s it. No explanation for the people of Orchard Park, just the ostrich strategy of putting their heads in the sand and hoping it will just go away.
If only Western New York could actually rid itself of racism so easily.