- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

D.C. voters get to do something in November they have never before done — vote for an attorney general.

The city currently has an AG, but he and the mayor are attached at the hip, for better and for worse.

The law changes that relationship.

Various city agencies will still have general counsels and the like, but the elected AG will have considerable legal authority.

The race is finally shaping up following a ballot initiative, our own lawmakers holding their collective noses at the very thought of an elected AG and a legal battle.

The court sided with voters, thanks to the heavens.

The deadline for petitions to be on the November ballot was Wednesday, and one of those who made the cut, Ed “Smitty” Smith, told me Thursday that he turned in 6,500 signatures — more than twice the required number for a citywide seat.

A lawyer formerly with the prestigious Hogan & Hartson firm, Mr. Smith also has worked as a federal lawyer and worked on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign — and, yes, he is a native son of D.C.

Mr. Smith has the experience and credentials that could easily qualify him to be “of counsel,” but critics say he is too young — translation: Mr. Smith has yet to pay his “Democratic Party dues.”

Phooey.

That’s a huge part of the incestuous problem in Washington. Everybody wants to be in bed together, but nobody wants to bring the smokes.

Mr. Smith, who I interviewed Thursday on WPFW-FM Radio and spoke with briefly afterward, is not of the clique.

Besides, Harvard Law taught him more than merely prepping him for the bar exam.

And those 6,500 signatures prove it.

Be afraid of Ebola, pray for cure

Ebola is often a deadly disease that is caused by a virus found in Africa and is marked by fever, muscle aches and bleeding inside the body.

Those are the facts we are facing, and we need to face them front-forward, backward and sideways.

More often than we readily admit, when a new disease or affliction arises, we don’t face facts.

We look at it in geographic isolation, as we did SARS, or we fall into what I call the check-the-box trap — race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, income, religious affiliation. You know what I mean.

We need to stop that when health is the topic of concern.

Sickness knows no check boxes, as we learned, for example, with HIV/AIDS.

Illnesses never put an “X” or check mark in those little boxes. Humans do.

For more than a decade now, we’ve been warned to wash our hands, cover our mouths when we sneeze, wash our hands, cover our mouths when we cough, wash our hands.

Did I mention wash our hands?

Since the HIV/AIDS crisis, we were warned about hopping in and out of bed from partner to partner (even when a bed is not in the picture).

Mutations occurred as I wrote this sentence and continue to mutate as you read it.

Ebola is of this truly global society. We, our spouses, children and church members are crossing time zones and oceans to socialize, work, do missionary work and learn more about how other cultures lives.

Ebola, like the virus that causes AIDS and the virus that leads to SARS, can be contained if we do our part.

And while simply washing our hands will not stop it, think about not so much the act of hand-washing, but the message.

And there’s something else: Prayer works.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtntimes.com.

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