"Good Morning Sir, Have A Great Day!" (Charles Rangel - A Visual Study)
Charles Rangel - A Visual Study (From the Politician Series)
I was standing on the corner of 110th street watching the timeless politician Charlie Rangel of New York's 15th Congressional District greet his constituents early in the morning. Rangel, a long time politician wise to the world, the way capital hill runs and New York City politics for that matter is dealing with a crisis of his own. He has been accused of ethics violations and tax discrepancies for a few years, constantly dodging the flames, it appears that it all may catch up to him the autumn when voters go to the polls.
Earlier that morning, I had approached Rangel where you see him in this video and attempted to ask him a question or two about housing issues in Harlem. Rangel himself, has been accused of utilizing low income housing in Harlem to his own benefit and I hoped to somehow catch him with his tongue tied. Yet Rangel smoothly, deflected my questions and I went across the street for a cup of coffee feeling extremely dejected in my tactics.
As I walked home and had a short conversation with my friend Alberto, I realized that politicians are a species truly unique. They seem to be able to lie and cheat the system, yet unwaveringly they are masters at manipulating those whom they are supposed to represent.
In order to better understand Rangel and further, to study politicians as if they were animals in the wild, I went and set up my camera on the corner of 110th street and filmed Charlie Rangel as he stumped and greeted the people who passed by and rarely, sometimes stopped. A week from today, Tuesday, is the Democratic Primary, it'll be interesting to see whether or not Rangel is elected to represent the democratic party.
This piece was filmed over the course of one half hour. And it consists of Rangel greeting his constituents.
Politicians should never get comfortable, no one, for that matter. Whether it is Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Bush in the White House or Charlie Rangel in Harlem. Becoming a leader is a privilege and to represent people in a government is an honor. Politicians must never forget that.
love and health to all...
- Ben Lenzner (Sept 7, 2010)