A number of weeks ago, I expressed my misgivings in this space about the lineup for this year’s Dallas Citizens Council luncheon. The Bush Center’s Ken Hersh was to interview Mike Milken on the topic of “how we may all work together to define a more equitable future for all.” I talked to the DCC’s CEO, Kelvin Walker, and its chairman, Rob Walters, who said to me, “[E]quity is in the eye of the beholder, right? And I don’t know exactly what you mean by it. I know what I mean by it. But this program is not about everybody’s equity, right?”
Right. And some animals are more equal than others.
Walters invited me to attend the luncheon and to reserve my judgment. So attend I did. And now I will judge. Here are some of my thoughts and observations from the Dallas Citizens Council luncheon held Tuesday at the Hilton Anatole.
Omicron Doesn’t Exist
On the drive over, I listened to a report on the radio about how the new variant is sweeping through Europe and just starting to kick into gear here in the States. Then I walked into the ballroom and saw 700 people milling about, talking to each other, doing their level best to spread the virus. Music was turned up so that people had to get close to hear each other. No exaggeration: there were maybe 10 people wearing masks, including me. Correction: there were maybe 10 attendees wearing masks. All the servers wore masks.
So before we’d even taken our seats, before the salads were even dressed, I was filled with judgment. Let’s talk about the equitable future of the dozens of servers working that luncheon, nearly all of them people of color, a group whose lives have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. If one of those folks dressing our salads were to get sick and have to stay home, she doesn’t make money. I don’t know what an Anatole serving job pays. But I know it pays nothing if you can’t come to work.
And how about the attendees? I think I can speak for nearly every single one of them. When I get sick and have to stay home, I can jump on a VPN to access our server and do my work from my bed. Hell, even if I feel so lousy that I can’t do anything but finally start watching Succession because all my friends keep telling me I absolutely must watch Succession — I still get paid.
I think I know how someone from the DCC would respond to this. “Tim, would you prefer that we’d canceled the …….