At-Large Trenton Councilman Blakeley: ‘A Body Politic Infected with the Disease of Divisiveness’


In the aftermath of the emergency town hall he convened this evening in city hall to collectively hate speech, At-Large Trenton Councilman Jerell Blakeley described an opportunity for members of the greater Trenton community to interact on an ugly subject – and to help heal.

“I wanted to allow people to share how my colleague’s words affected them, and what I heard was a testament to the healing power of forgiveness and education,” said Blakeley, in the aftermath of a demolition derby of antisemitic or blatantly ignorant comments triggered by Council President Kathy McBride’s “Jew down” email meltdown.

Elected to office last year, Blakeley said he wanted to give the public – denied a chance to speak in city hall last night – a chance to speak in the same venue.

InsiderNJ asked the councilman how it is the community reached this juncture of hate speech apocalypse.

“I think our body politic is infected with the disease of divisiveness, and you see it exhibited by the person occupying the White House,” Blakeley said. “But it has existed and spread. In this environment, I felt it was important to be very public in my statements on this.”

None of his council colleagues attended his town hall.

“it was mostly for the broader community, but I would have welcomed their attendance,’ the at-large councilman said. “Words have power and meaning, and I had an obligation to represent a point of view of my constituents that is not how my colleagues represented Trenton, and put out city in a negative national light.”

Can the council itself heal?

“I think politics is a strange business,” he said. “Politics is a business with no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”

For an inside look at the town hall, please go here.

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