Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is Louisiana Political Factions Hating Each Other Progress ( Rod Dreher Piece )

Rod Dreher had a good post today How Will We Know Whom To Hate If The Media Don’t Tell Us? . 

He sort of makes a broader point that goes beyond Louisiana political woes that is good. However I wanted to stay a tad more local. Here is part of Rod's post ( again read it all ) and my comments come after.

I’ve been down in Baton Rouge this morning, meeting with Jay Dardenne, the lieutenant governor of Louisiana, who is in charge of the state government’s culture and tourism efforts. I was there to give him a copy of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, and to talk to him about the book’s themes. Turns out that he’d read my essay making the cultural case for coming home to Louisiana, and was eager to read the book and talk about it around the state. That was great to hear.

On the way back to my car, parked near the Capitol, I ran into an old friend who’s a veteran of state politics. We talked for a while about my coming back home, and about Louisiana politics. He said that it’s really toxic now, between Republicans and Democrats, way different from how it was when he first entered the political world. “People got along then,” he said. “You might fight like cats and dogs on the legislative floor, but at the end of the day, you could have a drink together, because you genuinely liked each other. That’s not true anymore. It’s all about Republicans and Democrats now, and being loyal to your tribe. I’m so disgusted with both parties now, on the national level too, because nobody can compromise to get anything done.”
Everybody says that, it seems, but this is a guy who has spent his long career working in politics at the sausage-making level, if you know what I mean. And he’s worn out. Things really have gotten worse. He said he gets so weary of the darkness that drives so much political energy these days — people sitting around thinking the absolute worst of their opponents.

“They don’t see the other side as opponents, but enemies,” I said. “They don’t see the other side as wrong, but evil.”

I went to get lunch, and afterward ran into another friend. Because I was downtown, not far from the Capitol, we talked about politics. He’s a liberal Democrat, and knows I’m a conservative Independent who writes for a conservative magazine; neither of us care about politics enough to let it come between friendship, ours or with anybody else. He mentioned that he had been over at a pal’s house the other day, and spent an hour or two watching MSNBC with him.

“Good grief, you ever do anything like that?” he asked. No, I told him, I don’t watch TV news.
“Don’t,” he said. “After a couple of hours of that stuff, you either hate everybody or hate yourself. It’s poison. I can’t imagine what filling your head with that stuff does to the way you see the world.”

Rod's big picture observation I for the most part agree with but a few observations as to the local scene.

First Government in Louisiana no doubt was a tad more friendly and easy going a while back. Of course one reason was there was a lot more money to spend. When hard choices as to the budget have to be made that affect real people the knives come out. Louisiana has far less money and in fact far far  less population than it has in the past.In fact we have just started to recover over well over two decades of sustained population loss.

Second we have to recall that for decades and decades there was no real two party in this state whatsoever. In fact for most of our history as a State we have operated under a strong Governor one party system with small factions in it. I can recall that only real opposition ideas wise was sometimes the  few voices of folks like Woody Jenkins who was viewed by most as quaint I suppose . After our Financial " Hayride " was over that changed a good bit. Further as we have seen how we we wasted the resources of this State one can question how good the good ole days really were.

However Rod and his friends do have a point. It does seem we have gone from one extreme to the other and that is not healthy at all. That needs to be fixed and quick . How that happens I am not sure.

1 comment:

Pauli said...

Yes, the money is what it comes down to, along with Democrats losing power. It's easy to get along when the gravy train is rolling and the annuities are pouring in.

This isn't true of just politics, by the way. I was at a tech company that started going downhill around the dip in 2000-2001. Before that everybody loved each other, there were numerous parties at the CEO's house, it was like Christmas every Friday.

Then when people had to tighten belts, the bickering started. Lines were drawn, fiefdoms were established, "friendships" were blown to shreds. The last days were not pretty.

There is something to be said about the honesty of everybody admitting they truly despise each other and not being buddy-buddy. I'm not sure why it bothers Rod, a man who has been complaining that the Repubs are too much like Dems for years now.