In what may be a general statement on the history of Louisiana politics, the public tends to take it for granted if (or when) our politicians wind up in trouble. It makes things that much easier when it happens, because it’s already accepted. It’s only a question of whether the person is likable or not (they’re a crook, but they’re nice). Regardless, likability and popularity does not justify the acceptance of corruption as a matter of course, or the derision of those seeking accountability.
People who ask for accountability are often ridiculed. “That’s the way it is and you can’t do anything about it.” You can in fact “do something about it,” it just requires a little research, asking some questions, critical thinking, and then sometimes a few calls to the right people.
An interesting thing I learned in questioning the parish administration on economic development issues was that the specificity of the subject in question determined who the response came from. If the subject was technical in nature, Parish Government responded; if the subject was operational in nature, the St. Tammany West Chamber responded.
A real threat to the democratic process in terms of economic development is the private action of non profit corporations, specifically business and trade organizations, because they are not required to disclose their financial activity, even when operating in what should be considered a governmental role. Such roles, filled in a public realm with no requirement of public disclosure, severely limit any existing concept of a free market.
The idea that a corporation has the same rights as a person is a particular application of the 14th Amendment, originally intended for slaves that became free persons after the Civil War. The use of the14th amendment to benefit corporations at the expense of the rights of the public in general is sinister, and it is indicative of a strongly fascist element in the flawed experiment of representational democracy. If money counts as speech, it is over for the public and true representation.
When asked what has been wrought (at the Constitutional Convention), Benjamin Franklin was said to reply, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Go to Meetings. Ask Questions.
Timothy Achan Gates 985-288-9609 covweekly@gmail
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