Jindal’s latest comedy tour began shortly after a comment about southern race relations by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu who is locked in a heated contest against U.S. Congressman Bill Cassidy in what has become one of the ugliest, most negative and vindictive campaigns on the part of both candidates in the last half-century.
The campaign’s mudslinging and misleading claims have sunk to such depths in fact, that voters appear to have turned on both Landrieu and Cassidy with equal disgust.
Landrieu, when asked why President Obama was so unpopular in Louisiana, responded, “I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”
That one sentence was likely the most accurate claim made in this entire election cycle—by any candidate in any race.
Yet, Jindal chose that remark as his cue to lambast Landrieu, calling her statement “remarkably divisive,” and adding, “She appears to be living in a different century. Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity. That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana and I flatly reject it.”
Well, Governor, perhaps if you shut your eyes tightly and click your heels together, the old prejudices and bigotry will disappear. But, unfortunately, just because you close your eyes to something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And those of us who get out into the real world as opposed to tightly controlled support groups understand this.
A good example of the mindset that still lingers fifty years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was handed to me on Monday, Oct. 13 when I went to check my post office box at the Denham Springs post office. A woman, probably in her late fifties or early sixties entered right behind me. Unlike me, she wanted to do business at the counter only to find it closed. I reminded her it was Columbus Day and her response was: “Well, that must be for Mr. Obama. They wouldn’t close it for anyone else.”
I never bothered reminding her that the post office has been closed on Columbus Day since long before Obama was ever born in Hawaii or Kenya or wherever it is they claim—from personal knowledge, obviously—that he was born.
So, what century is it in which you reside, Governor?
Not satisfied with making an absolute fool of himself in Louisiana by insisting from behind his rose-colored glasses that the South is devoid of racial tensions and that everything is just peachy, Jindal immediately made himself a national laughingstock by repeating his comedy act on twitter and on Faux News. “The only colors that matter are red, white and blue,” he deadpanned on Your World with Neil Cavuto, even expanding on Landrieu’s own words, misquoting her as “calling all of us in the south racists. We don’t think in terms of black and white, in terms of racial colors.”
She never accused “all of us” of being racist; she said the South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. There’s a huge difference, Governor, and you, of all people, should know that.
Nevertheless, if there is a living, breathing person, white, black, brown, pink or green who can truthfully say he or she harbors no prejudices, I want to meet you. There is not a person alive who does not have his or her prejudices or biases. I have mine, you have yours. We have to admit that if we are totally and completely honest with ourselves. Virtually every one of us has told or listened to jokes about blacks, women, gays, Cajuns, Polacks, Asians, fat people, ugly people, short people, Catholics, Jews and Baptists. Did I leave out anyone? Oh, yes, the neo conservatives’ latest favorites to fear and loathe: Mexicans and Islamics.
Oh, man. So many people to hate and so little time. C’mon, Guv, you can’t arbitrarily call an end to discrimination yet. We’re just getting started. We haven’t even started on South America or Australia or Canada.
And as we said at the beginning of this diatribe, timing is everything. Among the comic strips that I read daily online is one called Candorville. Today’s (Sunday) strip was particularly well-timed given Jindal’s proclamation of racial bliss and harmony: