Last night's NAACP meeting had been contentious, to say the least.
Most of the meeting had been an interrogation of City Councilman Mike Fagan and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich regarding comments they'd made
about transgender rights and President Obama's impact on cop killings. There had been moments of anger and outrage and emotional confession. Long monologues had been delivered about deeply personal experiences. Comments had been made that infuriated those on the left, and comments had been made that had infuriated those on the right.
But as Spokane NAACP President Phil Tyler closes out the night, standing in front of the crowd in a sharp tuxedo with shiny shoes, he doesn't look upset. In fact, it's closer to the opposite. He's beaming.
"Tonight," Tyler says, "will be my final night leading this wonderful organization."
At first, he suggests that he's stepping down to set the stage for other leaders.
"They say you lift as you climb," he says. "I say sometimes, in order to lift, you have to not only reach down but step
He celebrates how the organization has grown and thrived.
"I am happy. You've made me happy," he says. "Continue to spread love."
There's applause. But then, like the post-credits scene in a Marvel movie, he drops a hint about what's coming next — a reveal that his motivation for stepping down may not entirely be about clearing the way for new leadership.
"I will add this final caveat," Tyler says. "Our bylaws expressly prohibit an officer holding a publicly elected office."
"(Wink)," Tyler has written in his notes.