Saturday, December 14, 2002

Kingfishery and Kingcakery - In reviewing the reports that continue to surface about the "tricks" played on the run-off election day in Louisiana, I am coming around to the realization that if these despicable things are ever going to stop in the state of my birth and current residence, there needs to be an attitude change among all of us, myself included, who blithely (and even a bit proudly) accept dirty Louisiana politics as a matter of course. We in Louisiana cannot continue to find Edwin Edwards charming and find his moniker as "The Crook" cute. We cannot smile knowingly and shrug at Cleo Fields stuffing his pockets with money. We cannot observe David Duke with detached curiosity. Taking any measure of perverse pride in our corrupt reputation, or throwing up our hands as if to say "Oh well, what to do? After all, it is Louisiana" is no longer tenable - at least not for me. Speaking of Louisiana politics in this way, which I have done in this blog on a number of occasions, only serves to validate and perpetuate this perverse legacy of politics. No more is it acceptable to laugh and poke fun at Louisiana political shenanigans light-heartedly. Why? Undoubtedly the sleaziness and underhandedness that I witnessed on election day last week is rooted in this "resignation" to "dirty politics" that so defines the average Louisiana citizen. While my rants focused on the Republican party shenanigans in trying to suppress the black vote in New Orleans, apparently this vile also comes courtesy of the Democratic party in Louisiana (thanks to fellow Louisianian Rod Dreher for pointing me to this review of all the election-day shenanigans in this past election cycle in Louisiana.). It is ALL despicable and abhorrent. I agree with Donna Brazile that there has never been such blatant disrespect for the voter and for efforts to encourage the participation and turnout of all eligible voters - at least as far as my recollection stretches - in a Louisiana election. It's got to stop if we want to take ourselves and our commitments to a fuller and more vibrant democracy seriously. And it's only going to stop if I (and others, Rod Dreher included) stop propagating it as somehow tolerable and to be expected because, after all, it is Louisiana.

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