In the early 1990s, as a young man willing to take on a "good-ole-boy" system that dominated southern politics, I was befriended by an eclectic group of individuals. Among them was a charming and very bright state representative named, yes, Cynthia McKinney.
Later, I served with her father in the Georgia Legislature. Although often political foes, we never exchanged cross words. In my personal dealings with each of them, I was left with nothing but fond memories of both father and daughter. Because of that, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the McKinneys.
That said, Cynthia's ascendance to Washington led her into the waiting arms of the very leaders of these "dead-end movements" that Williams exposes in his book. McKinney increasingly embraced their cynical view of America and turned to their tired antics, which seek to deflect criticism and conjure support by demanding it.
These players played Cynthia. They knew she was bright, attractive and willing to say virtually anything to make an impact.
And so the spiral began. By 2002, her outrageous comments about 9/11 only fed the perception that she was too comfortable with the national and international political factions that demonized America. This was too much for her suburban Atlanta district. She was voted out, only to return quietly when the seat became vacant two years later.
When our recent poll was released, she blasted it as being "Republican."
She is wrong. InsiderAdvantage polling is not partisan. Our polling record around the nation -- and especially in the South -- clearly shows this.
But I understood. It's just politics.
After the dust settles -- probably leaving a bad taste in her mouth -- I hope Cynthia McKinney will reflect on the fact that the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are no longer the future of African-Americans.
I hope further that she will reassess her view of those who have used her as a one-woman movement to support their own self-proclaimed causes.
I also hope she will read Juan Williams' book.
The sad thing is that I cherish the personal memories I have of Cynthia McKinney. And my wish for her is that she can find that former Cynthia once again.
She'll probably have plenty of time to look.