City Hall

Disgraced Councilman Caraway Zapped to Eerie Twilight Zone

I will continue taping Dwaine Caraway back up on the wall until they pry my ink-jet printer from my cold dead fingers.
I will continue taping Dwaine Caraway back up on the wall until they pry my ink-jet printer from my cold dead fingers. Jim Schutze
This is too spooky. They erased Dwaine Caraway. The very recently former Dallas City Council member’s name and image were expunged from City Hall the night after he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges last week.

Name plaque on the horseshoe dais in the council chamber: SCRAPE! Gone! Portrait in City Hall lobby: RIP! Gone! Even his portrait on the wall of former mayors! GRAB! Gone!

I mean, c’mon, really? We can’t remove a big, old, ugly Confederate monument right out in front of City Hall, because that would be DENYING OUR HERITAGE. Rewriting history. Not facing up to hard truths. But we can erase Caraway overnight?

Let me tell you something. Dwaine Caraway is a hard truth. And he’s definitely part of our heritage.

Name plaque on the horseshoe dais in the council chamber: SCRAPE! Gone! Portrait in City Hall lobby: RIP! Gone! Even his portrait on the wall of former mayors! GRAB! Gone!

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I was so upset, I went down there Monday morning and put him back up. It’s just a printout that I taped to the wall in the lobby. I know they won’t leave it up there. But by God I’m going to keep taping it right back up there every time I go to City Hall until they pry my ink-jet printer from my cold, dead hands.

I did find, when I went down there, that the Official Eraser Heads had gone down to City Hall over the weekend and put Caraway back up on the wall of mayors. Damn right!

I happen to know somebody got after them on that one, because that’s just a fact. Caraway was, in fact, mayor of Dallas for several months in 2011 when the elected mayor abdicated.

You can’t change that. You can’t make him not a mayor. He was mayor. The fact that the Eraser Heads even tried to erase him from the wall of mayors tells us a little something, does it not? But he’s still erased from everywhere else.

The Confederate monuments in front of City Hall celebrate a regime that practiced human slavery. All Caraway did was take some money from some hoods.

We can erase Caraway with a magic wand, but we’re going on a full year now unable to decide about those monuments? Oh, we’re just so torn up about the monuments, are we not? But one snap of the finger and Dwaine Caraway is gone like he never got born.

Here’s the difference, so we can put a little scale to this. Slavery was an atrocity. Caraway was an embarrassment. Dallas is less worried about the atrocity than it is about the embarrassment. What can you say? That is just so …so …so Dallas.

click to enlarge Within 24 hours of the announcement of Caraway's guilty plea, his name was down from the council dais, down from the wall of portraits in the lobby of City Hall, and, as you see here on the far right, down from the wall of former mayors, like he was never mayor. They had to put that one back up. - JIM SCHUTZE AND OTHERS WHO WISH NOT TO BE IDENTIFIED.
Within 24 hours of the announcement of Caraway's guilty plea, his name was down from the council dais, down from the wall of portraits in the lobby of City Hall, and, as you see here on the far right, down from the wall of former mayors, like he was never mayor. They had to put that one back up.
Jim Schutze and others who wish not to be identified.
Listen, I’m going to keep Scotch-taping him back up there, and it’s not because I don’t know what he did wrong. We discussed that here in this space just yesterday. By selling out his district for fancy suits and poker chips, he betrayed the citizens among us who could least afford betrayal, the residents of our city who have the greatest need for heroic, selfless leadership. On a scale of one to 10 for heroic, selfless leadership, Caraway is a minus 22.

He is a rat. But he is our rat. And Caraway is as Dallas as it gets. If the Dallas Cowboys married the Dallas Citizens Council, their first-born son would be Caraway. And I’m afraid the first thing he would do when he learned to walk and talk would be to go out and gin up some scam about protecting  the Confederate monuments.

The giant animatronic Big Dwaine statue will turn in one direction and say, “That’s very disingenuous.” Then he’ll flip around the other way and say, “By the same token.”

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Oh, wait. He did that, didn’t he? You don’t think … I mean, my thing about the Cowboys and the Citizens Council ... that was just a joke. Right?

But while we’re on the subject, let me ask you this, Mr. and Mizrus Confederate: After all Caraway did for you, are you not going to raise a hand for him? Why am I the one doing it? Do you not feel some obligation to go down there and stop them from erasing him?
click to enlarge There's where to look for it. You can put one up, too. - JIM SCHUTZE
There's where to look for it. You can put one up, too.
Jim Schutze
He was the swing vote to save your monuments. Don’t you owe him at least a swing or two?

Here I am, an old, burned out, knock-kneed, ex-hippie, pinko-commie son of a bitch, and I’m the one who has to go down there and stand up for your guy and tape him back up on the wall. You Confederates should ashamed of yourselves.

I’m going to start one of those things online, those go-fund-yourself pages, whatever they’re called, and raise enough money to build an enormous Dwaine Caraway memorial to put right out in front of City Hall next to the Confederate memorial. It will be lifelike but 10 times human scale. He’s going to be animatronic and talk, like Big Tex. In fact, that’s what we’ll call him: Big Dwaine.

Big Dwaine will turn in one direction and say, “That’s very disingenuous.” Then he’ll flip around the other way and say, “By the same token.” All day and all night, lit up like the airport. I don’t want anybody to forget Dwaine Caraway. Not never, not no-how.
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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze