I saw this Quote by Neil S. Kavanaugh in the "Northside Journal."
"For generations we have elected men and women based on what they say they will give us, not on their leadership ability." It's nice to see something in print that I believe is the root of the problem, not only in Louisiana, but in all or our government. I've been saying it since President Clinton was running for President. Remember Jennifer Flowers, the state troopers and all the allegations? A much quoted sentiment was that Clinton's private behavior was not important. We were told that only his political record mattered. Everything in me screamed, "NO!" Integrity and leadership are the MOST important qualities in a candidate.
Government is incredibly complex. Candidates may promise all sorts of things and they may be entirely sincere, but when they are actually on the job, things are a lot more complicated. That is why a lot of well meaning politicians end up not being able to deliver on campaign promises. They learn that they have to compromise and play the game if they want to see ANY of their ideals realized. We elect politicians because we want the things they promise, but what is the difference between a politician who does his or her best to be true to their consistency and one who simply promises whatever they think the voters want to hear? For example, I recently read an article saying that Hillary Clinton tried to join the Marines. Hmmm...
I'm going out on a limb and saying that integrity and leadership are just about all that matters in an elected position. "Just about" is the operative phrase. That is, provided that the politician knows how to surround himself or herself with talented people who know what they are doing and have the same kind of integrity AND the politician knows how to delegate and accept advice. If I vote for someone who has this type of character and skills, I can be confident that the best is being done for all of us. I've seen this time and time again in local politics. It is a little easier to see on the local level. I'm a great writer of letters to my elected officials. I always love it when they either call or write back to me with the reasons they felt they had to vote they way they did. Even if I disagree, I admire honesty, integrity and leadership. I can have confidence in that kind of person.
So what happened in Louisiana? There has been an entrenched bankruptcy of quality government for a long time. Don't blame the politicians entirely. It's been said that most people get the kind of government they deserve. That is a huge problem in government today. We have a staggering Federal debt and yet people don't want to vote for a politician who says that they will cut programs that effect us. Right now the Federal government is promising the hurricane victims just about anything they want. Is anyone asking if we can afford it? Who is going to pay for this? Why is this hurricane so different? One man, interviewed by FOX, was contemptuous of the money he had been given by the government. He wanted the government to just give victims $20,000 each and let them get on with their lives. So, we are supposed to give him $20,000 because his ancestors came on a slave ship and he chose to live below sea level protected by a levee system that ought to scare just about anyone? Look at the picture. The man has his arm around a white woman and it's so normal it took me a minute or so to catch on to the caption under the picture. We've come a long way from that slave ship.
I live on a barrier island in Florida. I pay a lot for insurance. I pay more for flood insurance. It has never occurred to me that the government should pay me damages because I chose to live here. The people of the United States don't owe me any thing except maybe basic emergency relief. If I will only vote for people who promise to take care of me so that I won't have to take care of myself, then shame on me.
We have got to start electing politicians that will do what is best for this country even if it means giving up our personal gravy train. We have got to give up this idea of "entitlements." We have to elect officials who act responsibly doing hard things like fixing levees, highways and other necessary things that should be the business of government and not pretty things that put money in the pockets of our friends. We have to help our indigent population with programs that require that they help themselves.
We have to look at the character of our candidates and vote for people who will be responsible with the money we pay with our taxes. Louisiana should be a wake-up call for all of us. The Louisiana government gambled and lost. They broke faith with their people because they didn't do the most important thing that government is charged with. They didn't look out for their citizens and keep them safe and they are compounding the lack of leadership by blaming others for their own shortcomings.