Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's Not Always New Orleans Fault

My boy sent me this article today written by Melissa Harris-Lacewell. She's falling out of love with New Orleans. I'm sorry to hear that but I guess that’s one of the things that happens since we have so much new love after Katrina and that's always one of the dangers of new love. It can burn out real quick as soon as something happens that you don't like. My love for the city is that long, difficult and hard earned love. She doesn't give love back that easy. That's why I feel like you have to pay some dues before you can talk about her. You can read Ms. Harris-Lacewell's piece here but I will sum it up for you. Basically, she's upset because her boyfriend James Perry lost a bad election to Helena Moreno after not doing well in the mayor’s race. The part that doesn't upset me is the fact she is going all out for her boyfriend. I actually respect and admire that. I appreciate that kind of loyalty and James is a lucky man. The part that does upset me is her throwing the whole city under the bus. It's not that she was lying about some things about the city. There's racism, class warfare, corruption, and a majority of the voting base is disengaged. All those things are here but I don't think that's why things turned out for James the way they did.

I don't want to review everything that was done in both of James Perry's campaigns. New Orleans is a one name city. What I mean by that is that when people here have a good rapport with you and a certain level of trust they will call you by your first name or a nickname or some variation that signifies they know you personally. That's why a lot of people of all races felt comfortable voting for Mitch. He had that kind of recognition. That might not always be a positive but it is what it is. James Perry and all the other candidates running against Mitch Landrieu had the same problem. I never heard anyone say "I can't wait to James get in there and straighten things out." He never made that connection and that's why he had a good message that didn't reach enough people. If James Perry really wants to get out there and be successful in New Orleans politics he will work hard at being a man of the people. That's one of the things that we don't have right now and there are thousands of voters waiting for that person. He's got time to make that happen if that's what he really wants.

There is one thing in that article that I don't like and its when people excuse their own flaws by hiding behind the flaws of my city. This article makes it sound like an angel sent James Perry down from the clouds to lead us to the promise land but we were too messed up to realize it. What about the things he could have done differently? I have a close friend of mine that could never keep a job in New Orleans. He would always find one then get fired for all kinds of stupid reasons. What was his excuse? "New Orleans wanna see a brother struggle." He would say stuff like this so much that his wife talked him into moving to Atlanta. They got there and he's still getting fired from job after job for the same poor work habits he always had and blamed on New Orleans. One day we were on the phone and he was complaining about how the man was keeping him down in Atlanta I stopped him in mid-sentence and said "You know I have love for but maybe you are just a bad employee and it had nothing to do with New Orleans." I got love for James Perry but maybe he just ran two bad campaigns. He shouldn't be blaming us for that. He should be blaming the folks that ran his campaigns.

11 comments:

Kevin Allman said...

I would venture to add: it's not always the media's fault, either. Perry had the endorsement of all or most of the city's papers at one point. Melissa (or anyone) can argue that the reason those endorsements were withdrawn or not made again was based on faulty reasoning or even something more sinister, but the fact is those endorsements were indeed initially made. If Perry was sandbagged by anyone, I'd say it was his own campaign folks.

And, Cliff, I did indeed hear a good number of people saying "I can't wait for James to get in there" regarding the state race.

Brian D said...

Thanks, Cliff. I'm just so very tired of those who found their romance with this city because of Hurricane Katrina, who haven't learned to love New Orleans in spite of its historically entrenched and deep-rooted problems. For them, New Orleans is a metaphor for their own world views, and they use the city as a platform to elevate their national stature. Or its an opportunity to make money by claiming to support a social cause. Or its an experience that launches new careers somewhere else. The rest of us have been here for years, and we'll continue trying to change things with our lives. Sure, we can use the help, but not when we're forced to carry someone else's bags. James has a future in politics here if he wants it, and we will likely benefit from his participation in political life.

Brian D said...

Incidentally, the rhetorical flourishes are over the top in that piece -- claiming that James was portrayed as a "criminal." I don't think he ever admitted the extent of his parking and traffic violations. All of us find it difficult to spend money on fines that could be better spent on other priorities. That's why we go out of our way to avoid those fines in the first place. Because they hurt. Ultimately, James' job, with the aid of campaign advisors, was to convince one more than 1,274 voters that he was someone whose judgment could be trusted. He'll be forgiven, in time, for his transgressions. Voters may find that those minor sins are easier to forgive than unjustified raw personal ambition. Yes, I would have voted for James, but I don't live in the 98th district. I also find it ironic that, as a white male who grew up poor in single-parent household in another state, I too can say "how difficult it is to navigate New Orleans without a Creole last name, a trust fund, or political connections." It cuts both ways. Fortunately, I have the benefit of a good education, but I can't name a local high school as an alma mater, or call on former classmates for favors. Yet my love for this city is enduring, after nearly twenty years of sacrifice, and many pounds of flesh, trying to make it an even more promising place to live for everyone -- irrespective of race or class.

Brian D said...

93rd district.

http://staticresults.sos.louisiana.gov/5292010_36.html

And I meant to say that James didn't admit the extent of those violations in the mayor's race. He should have stroked the humorous response that he was contributing to the city's coffers by paying those fines, and then exposed the unsavory ambition of his opponent as the greater sin. Peace out. I love what you do, Cliff.

oyster said...

Very well put, Cliff. I totally agree with you.

K. said...

"There's racism, class warfare, corruption, and a majority of the voting base is disengaged."

This is unique to New Orleans. The rest of the country is paragon of civic virtue and economic and political equality.

Anonymous said...

@ K thanks man i really needed a chuckle today.

the p & j's thing has got me pretty eefing bummed today.

@ cliff , it's getting good sir. loved the shot of big baby drooling and than the after game presser of him telling the kids that spitting and drooling aint cool.

they're playing basket ball , the pill , the pill , the pill.......

GENTILLY YARD ART said...

da' pill sir.

im gonna be sick if you win this beer bet.

good series so far.

sombody's whistle gonna be wey next weekend.

GENTILLY YARD ART said...

wet not wey


damn you fat fingers tiny keyboard.

Clifton said...

email me at clifton611@gmail.com so we can work out the details. I'm not ready to concede yet.

beautyjackson said...

I will say it in front of the blog-o-sphere: Regarding Perry, you were right. We had a discussion about him not tapping into the local heartbeat, and you were right regarding the mayor's race. For the State race, uh, it came out of nowhere. It really, in my opinion, seemed thrown together and poorly run. Now, I'm away, so maybe there are things that I did not see, but that's what I got out of it. "Eh, I didn't win the mayor's race, so might as well." I'm not saying the brother isn't serious about politics, nor am I saying he would not have done a good job. I am saying that perception is a heavy part of politics, and that's how it came off to me.

As far as the fair-weather New Orleans lovers, I believe the (potentially) late Creighton Bernette said it best, when he said, "Fuck you, you fucking fucks."