At roughly 9 to 9:30 PM tomorrow night, it will be all over but the cheering and the crying. Life will go on, but we will have lost something deep inside all of us. The post-civil rights skies are moving forward but in a different direction.
A few minutes ago, I received the column from my good friend and BayouBuzz columnist Jeff Crouere. After reading it, I wanted to share my own feelings, so, allow me to do so.
Today, he wrote about what I considered to be a freak but one of the most unique political experiences I have ever encountered.
Apparently, United States Sen. Mary Landrieu, called his radio talk show to be a guest. I know that Landrieu has been on his show over the years on a relatively frequent occasion. Roughly a year ago, she and Jeff had an open disagreement and she has not returned. Until this morning.
Perhaps out of desperation, perhaps out of annoyance, perhaps out of the opportunity to voice her opinions openly and honestly, and certainly, with some hope to get votes, she entered the radio Lion’s den.
She did so, the day before Election Day.
I have not heard the interview, nor knew anything about her radio visit until receiving the column. I have no idea why she did what she did, only that she did.
Say what you want about Mary Landrieu. She did not vote the way that the white men and women in Louisiana wanted her to vote. Whether they hate Obama because of his race or his politics or combination of the two is not as much of an issue as the fact that she voted on the major issues along party lines and with the very unpopular President.
For Landrieu to win, she needs a major African American turnout. In the past, prior to Hurricane Katrina (and even a year or two before then), the black community in Louisiana were somewhat of a dominant force. Due to the storm displacements, the demography has changed. The black community voting is roughly 2/3 of what it was before. As of a result, Mary Landrieu is in dire straits.
You would think that the black community would want to come out in droves to not just support a Landrieu, but to endorse a philosophy that they have felt to be consistent with their needs. Do I believe that they are suddenly conservative and therefore uncaring about Landrieu or how she would be able to serve them versus her opponent? Absolutely not. The fact is, while they have complained about police brutality and discrepancies of wealth, power and opportunities, they have decided to sit on their hands. They choose not to be involved.
Fifty years ago, their fathers and mothers rioted in the cities because their franchises to vote were being denied. Today, they care not.
We can argue whether a Republican versus a Democrat approach to government is best for them. Frankly, that question and answer is up for them to decide. But for the black community to stay away from the polls at a very critical time and to not vote regardless of personalities, promises and political visions, can only be a disappointment. In many respects, they have nobody else to blame but themselves. They are forfeiting their power to others.
Putting politics, philosophies, and everything else aside, I believe that what happened this morning showed the real quality of a person and of a leader, even one whose elective days are numbered.
Her going on WGSO radio is not an easy experience for someone who is not a member of the Tea Party. I know, because I face the crowd weekly. The callers are very decent people with very strong opinions. So is Jeff Crouere. But the radio show is not a place to win philosophical friends if you do not bleed deep Republican red.
Apparently, Landrieu decided to call in. Perhaps what she did was politically wise although judging by Jeff’s column, it was far from. I have the feeling that she did not convince many of the regular show listeners . Nonetheless, that one event tells me much. Despite great odds and discomfort, Mary Landrieu stood up at the most critical time in her career and in this campaign. She faced the harshest critics with, quite frankly, little or nothing to gain.
Her opponent could learn from this experience. The likely-next US Senator, over the past two weeks has gone AWOL. For the most part, all we know at this point about Dr. Cassidy is that he is anti-Obama and he knows how to say the words 97% and Obamacare. That is it. But, that tactic worked for his fellow Republicans so why break the mold? Well, for one, it is a sorry lesson we are teaching our kids about democracy and civil discourse. It obviously is a sure way to win these days. One can be a stealth candidate, buy TV ads, watch 3rd party groups (which have no interest in our affairs) propagandize on our behalf. Poof. Stay on target and out of trouble; And, foremost, stay away when the going gets tough.
Staying away and cowering from the media saved Cassidy’s mentor, David Vitter. Vitter, wrote the book on making comebacks by saying little. Cassidy, whose campaign is being run by Vitter’s aides, has read the book. Now, he readies to be handed the Senatorial crown.
Cassidy, was coasting, hiding from debates, from difficult questions but was suddenly confronted with a growing scandal. He decided not to hold any more public events once the news of the LSU Health Science Center controversy hit the Internet and other airwaves. He refused to face questions from the media on debate night. He took off to Washington DC and canceled very public events involving national personalities. He claims he went to Washington DC to vote. We’re not stupid. To date, I have not heard if he has fielded any questions and I assume that when he finally does do so, most-likely post election, he will say he has already discussed the facts about his LSU part-time employment. Why talk? That worked for him during the debates. The war will be over. Yes, there might be subpoenas, but, he has mastered the waiting game.
Landrieu will likely lose because voices like hers now have fewer listeners. For whatever reason, her base has lost hope, political purpose and has fallen into a deep slumber.
Yet, today, by facing an angry radio audience with few followers to capture, she has earned more of my respect, than ever. The Lioness decided to roar. The mice, one day, might care to follow.