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Posts from the ‘Social Activism’ Category

Why I’m With Mary

I first met Mary Landrieu about eight or nine years ago. I was in my early twenties and had just moved back to Louisiana. She had actually offered me an internship and, once, even a job. I was flattered, but frankly, I wasn’t really sure if she was serious. I thought that maybe it was something she said to a lot of young people. Besides, I really liked my job with Mayor Roy. My loyalty was to him and to my hometown. I never even entertained taking a job in DC or anywhere else.

During the last few years, I’ve been critical of her a few times. I’m firmly in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and Mary is and has always been much more of a centrist and a moderate than I am. For folks like me, she has sometimes been frustrating. I disagreed with her vote on the Iraq War. I think she has been too slow to embrace marriage equality and sometimes too close to the oil and gas industry. Republicans and conservatives believe that she is merely a mouthpiece for President Obama, which is ironic to those of us, like me, who wish that she would be more supportive of the President’s agenda.

I am a single issue voter in this election, but that single issue isn’t abortion or equal rights or guns or climate change or energy or Obama.

My single issue is Louisiana.

I’ve met Mary Landrieu several times over the course of the last few years, but most of what I knew about her was based on what I’d read in the news. I just wish y’all could have seen and heard the Mary Landrieu I met today at lunch, and I hope you’ll take my word: This woman is fearless and righteous. I may disagree with her on some things, but I will never discount her love and passion for the people of Louisiana. I will never again question her bona fides as a champion of civil rights, because it’s absolutely impossible to fake what she expressed to me today. She spoke from the heart about racism and sexism and the need for all of us to come together. She talked about the toxicity and divisiveness of our political and media culture, how it manufactures outrage and discourages cooperation, compromise, and compassion.

I wasn’t interviewing her. I wasn’t wearing a press badge. I wasn’t there as a blogger. This was lunch between friends that I had the privilege of joining, the day before the election.

She was unguarded, and she demonstrated to me that she’s among the best in the country and that she truly, deeply, intensely cares about Louisiana. But perhaps just as importantly, she understands Louisiana; she recognizes that, to be effective, she must bring together disparate interests, forge coalitions, and negotiate compromise. But that requires clear-eyed, level-headed honesty, even if it sometimes forces us to confront some uncomfortable truths.

Some of y’all will never vote for her because of Obama, and a few of y’all don’t like her because she supports the oil and gas industry. It may be a long shot, but I really hope you’ll reconsider your position. To me, it’s naive and myopic. No one is perfect. You’ll never meet the perfect politician.

But what we need and deserve is a leader with the muscle to bring people together, and in a state as divided as Louisiana, no one has been better at cobbling together coalitions and representing a broad range of interests than Mary Landrieu. Bill Cassidy is running a campaign built on dividing us and scaring us and convincing us that Obama is the root of all evil. He may win, but if he does, he won’t be representing Louisiana; just like Jindal, he will be representing a rabid and vocal subset of national conservatives who relish in their anger, who hate government so much that they’re willing to destroy our shared civic institutions in order to line the pockets of the wealthy, who appeal almost exclusively to our collective fears- whether it’s Mexicans crossing the border or Ebola or terrorism or whatever topic du jour scares up enough viewers to keep Fox News on top and enough listeners to keep Rush Limbaugh in syndication.

Today, at lunch, there was a discussion of political heroes. “Mine has always been Eleanor Roosevelt,” Mary said. I asked her if she’d seen the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts, and she said that she watched every minute of it. She talked about how exceptional that family was and how inspirational Eleanor Roosevelt was to her. And as she explained the ways in which Eleanor Roosevelt- a woman who did more to advance human rights in the 20th century than almost anyone else- had been emotionally and psychologically abused by her own mother, she started to tear up a little bit– not out of pity, though. It was out of admiration for a trailblazing woman who endured the relentless cruelties of her own mother, among other things, and still, somehow, remained almost supernaturally strong.

We expect a lot out of our leaders. We subject them and their families to intense scrutiny, and in the age of talk radio, the Internet, and 24-hour cable news, we now take for granted a culture that continually, constantly enables a simplistic but cartoonish vilification of almost anyone and everyone who dares to enter public service. It’s not only unfair; it does a disservice to our democracy.

I already voted. And on the eve of the election, I can rest easily, knowing now- for damned certain- that I voted for the most effective, accomplished, and badass Senator from Louisiana in an entire generation. I don’t have to agree with her on everything; if I did, there’s no chance she would have ever been elected in the first place. This is bigger than me; this is about the future of my state and who will truly listen to all of our people.

I’m with Mary.

Original Draft

71290852Good afternoon.

I was born and raised right up the road in Alexandria- and I know this may sound like I’m pandering to the audience- but I promise this is true. I probably shouldn’t be admitting this.

A few years ago, I worked as an assistant for Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy. Many of y’all probably know Jacques Chances are: Many of y’all are probably related to him. All the time, folks from out of town would ask me, “Where’s the best restaurant in Alexandria?” I should disclose that, even though I wore many hats in my job with the Mayor, my official title was “publicist.” But whenever I got asked that question, I couldn’t help myself. “The best restaurant in Alexandria,” I’d say, “is called the Red River Grill, and it’s about 35 minutes south in Marksville.”

Although I am Sue Eakin’s great nephew and, therefore, Frank’s second cousin, I am actually here as a representative of the Tanner family. My sixth great-grandfather was Robert Tanner.

Robert died more than a decade before Solomon Northup arrived here in Central Louisiana, but his children- my family- became an important part of Solomon’s life in more ways than one.

Indeed, it is impossible to tell the story of slavery in Central Louisiana or the history of the Bayou Bouef without mentioning Robert Tanner and his wife, my sixth great grandmother, Providence Robert.

We are here to remember and reflect on our shared history and to acknowledge the ways in which our lives are connected. For many of us, those connections were first forged by force and unspeakable brutality more than a 150 years ago.

Now, I am not here to deliver a lecture, but I think it’s important, on this day, with all of us gathered here together, to talk a little bit about my family and the history of the Bayou Boeuf. And I imagine that if my Aunt Sue were here today, she’d probably agree— not just because she was the passionate caretaker and custodian of so much of this history, but also because she understood history’s power over the present.

In 1811, a man named William Fendon Cheney from a small town in South Carolina settled right down the road, on the banks of the bayou. Two years later, Cheney had recruited more than 100 others from South Carolina to settle here with him, and as my Aunt Sue discovered, they all had one thing in common.

Quoting from Sue’s book on the history of Rapides Parish:

“They (the migrants) were all either descendants or family members through marriage of Rev. Pierre Robert, a French Hugenot, who had settled in South Carolina on the Santee River in the late 1600s. Peter Robert was the head of the clan with his son-in-law , Robert Tanner, who moved to the area on the Boeuf where Cheney had already settled. The Hugenot descendants had stopped off east of the Mississippi for nearly a decade–time enough for Robert Tanner to survey and lay out Woodville , Mississippi, found Beaulah Baptist Church, and leave some of the clan to move west.”

Robert Tanner, his wife Providence, their four small children, and his slaves had actually left South Carolina more than eight years before their arrival in Louisiana, wandering around the American South, on wagons and boats they had built themselves— or, put more precisely, on wagons and boats that were most assuredly built by Tanner’s slaves.

But Robert Tanner didn’t make his fortune in the slave trade or in farming cotton or sugarcane. That’s how his children made their fortunes. Actually, I’m not even sure Robert ever was a particularly wealthy man, but I know this: Although it may have not been understood at the time of his death at the age of 70 in 1839, Robert Tanner was actually one of the most consequential figures in the shameful history of slavery in Louisiana.

Why?

How?

Because Robert Tanner was, first and foremost, a surveyor. And, as a surveyor, he didn’t just draw maps, he designed the contours and the boundaries of practically every single plantation along the Bayou Bouef. That made him immensely powerful, and perhaps not surprisingly, he used his power to provide for his children and family members.

“Plantations were laid out on both sides of the Boeuf,” Sue Eakin writes, “many belonging to Tanners, members of the large family of Robert and Providence Tanner, as well as other migrating kinsmen by the same name.”

Some of the plantations, like Walnut Grove and Witchwood, still stand today.

As a descendant of Tanner, it’s challenging to know what, exactly, I should make of this inheritance. And don’t get me wrong: I am not talking about money or land or anything of economic value, because whatever fortune his family may have once possessed had been exhausted generations ago, well before even my great-great grandparents walked on this corner of the planet.

I’m talking about the inheritance of privilege. I think about the African-Americans who came, against their will, with my family down here in Louisiana, about their families and their descendants.

Robert Tanner was buried under an elaborate headstone, and although the original marker has long since crumbled, his and his families’ graves are still maintained- at least occasionally- by some of my relatives. And I know that this is an exercise of humility and compassion and decency. But I also recognize that although Robert Tanner’s story is known and although his family, 175 years after his death, still remembers and honors his resting place, so many other stories never been told, and so many other graves have been lost back to the earth, never to be discovered or remembered or honored.

The next time you hear a white person like me argue that a certain slavemaster or plantation owner around here was a good and decent and Christian man or that his slaves lived in clean and decent quarters— all things that well-intentioned folks told the national and international media after the release of the movie last year, just remember: There’s another, maybe two more, maybe a dozen more, maybe even a 100 more versions of the story, versions that we may never know because most slaves were illiterate and kept purposely uneducated.  No one who owned a plantation along Bayou Bouef was a saint or royalty. They were all deeply flawed human beings who refused to acknowledge what most of our country had already resolved: The basic idea that human beings are people, not property.

“History,” William Churchill once said, “is written by the victors.”

Today, I am proud to be here with the descendants of Solomon’s family. I am immensely proud of the work of my Aunt Sue and of my cousin Frank. This is a first step. The more stories that are told and unlocked and discovered through projects like these, the more able we are redefine “the victors.”

Remember, Solomon’s story is not just exceptional because it is riveting and horrific and miraculous all at the same time; Solomon’s story is exceptional because it is known.

Thank you so much.

I Was Smeared Online for Being Disabled: How the Internet Amplifies the Politics of Hate

My father was a big believer in making New Year’s resolutions. At the end of every year, he’d set audacious, nearly impossible goals for himself- writing a book, learning a foreign language, recording an album, running for political office, training for a marathon. On December 31st of every year, my father was the most ambitious man in America.

But he wasn’t delusional. Don’t get me wrong. He was perfectly capable of doing everything he aspired to do, and in fairness to him, he’d balance out his outsized resolutions with other, more manageable, and more pedestrian goals.

10535592_985195448291_4183952736902386221_oI think he just enjoyed the exercise of making a list of goals, even if some of them seemed way too lofty to achieve in a single year. It was both positive reinforcement and a way to hold himself accountable.

I may have inherited my father’s sense of ambition, but unlike him, I’ve never been keen on writing a list of New Year’s resolutions. This year, though, for the first time in my adult life, I decided to publicly resolve myself to do one thing. I had one and only one item on my list.

Two weeks after New Year’s Day, I wrote about it here on my website. Quoting from my post titled “My New Year’s Resolution: Repairing Broken Vessels”:

I made a decision, this year, to be a better and more forceful advocate for the physically, mentally, and developmentally disabled. Or, if you prefer, the physically, mentally, and developmentally challenged. Or, better yet, to paraphrase Steve Gleason, “the superhumans.”

Somehow, I’ve managed to carve out this little place for myself on the Internet, and for some reason, people actually pay attention to the things I say. If there is anything I can do to raise awareness, to educate the public and my neighbors, to advocate for the rights and the basic dignity and humanity of those who, too often, are ridiculed and patronized, and to help repair broken vessels, then I think I must.

Life is too short. No white flags.

I didn’t have any real plan on how I was going to become “a better and more forceful advocate” for the disabled; I only knew, in my gut, that it was something I needed to be.

I’ve spent the greater part of the last decade sharing my opinions on almost everything from local city council elections to creationism in the classroom to the legacy of slavery in the modern American South. And while I have written before about my personal experiences as someone who lives with a disability, almost everything I had ever written on the subject was reactive, not proactive. Usually, it was in response to something that a stranger had said about me on the Internet.

While I always aimed to tell a larger story about the struggle for disability rights in America, I constantly ran the risk of sounding whiny or too defensive. Folks who know me only through the Internet don’t know me for my disability; they know me for my writing and for my opinions on politics and policy, and that’s a good thing, of course. However, it also makes writing about my experience as a disabled American all the more difficult. Since I launched this website eight years ago, it’s been read more than 1.1 million times. No one comes here to read about disability rights. I’ve built my readership by almost exclusively writing about the circus of Louisiana politics.

There’s an adage that is often repeated in almost every college creative writing course in the country: “Write what you know.” I know Louisiana and its politics like the back of my hand, but I know what it is like to live with a disability even more. And for years, I stayed away from the subject. I recoiled when those with whom I disagreed politically would lampoon me for being disabled, as if my physical condition somehow rendered my political opinions less valid.

Over the last two or three years, however, I’ve grown more confident in sharing my personal experience and my perspective as someone who was born with a physical disability. I’ve learned to understand that by sharing my own voice, I can give voice to others who are far too often marginalized or dismissed entirely by a political and media establishment built on privilege and access to power. It may be the most important thing I can possibly do with the time that I have here on this planet.

Two weeks ago, I stepped onto an unfamiliar stage and into the world of Texas politics, and since then, I have learned more about how we as a society treat and perceive those with a physical disability than I’d learned in the entire time I’ve published this website.

On November 4th, Texas will either elect Greg Abbott, a Republican, or Wendy Davis, a Democrat, as its next governor. Both of them have compelling, remarkable stories. Davis went from being a single mother in a trailer to the hallowed halls of Harvard Law School, by sheer force of her own tenacity and smarts. Abbott was paralyzed in an accident when he was in his late 20s, but despite his injury, he has become one of the most successful politicians in Texas history, having been elected twice to the Texas State Supreme Court and three times as Texas Attorney General.

Indeed, Greg Abbott, arguably, is the most successful disabled political leader since FDR, but, ironically, he also has one of the worst records on disability rights in the entire country. After receiving a multi-million dollar settlement for his injury, Abbott spent the next 30 years of his career fighting against the rights of others from receiving the same type of justice. He championed a series of laws that would have made his own settlement illegal. He’s fought against attempts to make Texas comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has been a stalwart opponent of the Affordable Care Act, a law that opens up health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of Texans and guarantees that no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

He may be disabled, but that doesn’t somehow mean that his record on the issue should be off-limits.

Three days before I sat in front of a sea of cameras at a campaign office in Fort Worth, Wendy Davis released a television commercial criticizing Abbott’s hypocrisy on disability and victim’s rights. Her commercial began with the stark, black and white image of an empty wheelchair, and although the commercial proceeded to describe several examples of Abbott’s abysmal record and his blatant hypocrisy, all everyone wanted to talk about was that wheelchair.

Greg Abbott has been elected statewide not once or twice but five times, but if you believed what many in the national media, including some who are considered reliably liberal, and the entire conservative blogosphere were reporting, you’d think that Wendy Davis was callously, recklessly, and cynically attacking a man just for being in a wheelchair. To me, the response to Davis’s ad didn’t just demonstrate how dumb and lazy the political commentariat is; it also revealed that many Americans are somehow more offended by the mere image of a wheelchair than a politician with a record of fighting against the rights of real human beings in wheelchairs.

Through a friend, I volunteered to speak at Wendy Davis’s press conference, and that is how I ended up in Fort Worth and in front of the bright lights.

I thought it was important to tell the public and the media that disabled Americans, people like me, weren’t offended by the image of a wheelchair. As a matter of fact, among folks who live with a physical disability, wheelchairs are hugely popular, and I’m not trying to be flippant. Wheelchairs are empowering. They save lives. The only people who are scared of wheelchairs are those who are scared of being disabled; that’s not a fear for those of us who are already disabled, even folks like me who only use a wheelchair occasionally.

The media had this one completely wrong.

I spoke for about two minutes about Abbott, his record, and why I was proud of Senator Davis for bringing this to light. I gave a couple of pertinent examples of Abbott’s hypocrisy on the issue. But I think most importantly, I was able to talk briefly about basic human empathy, the need to recognize your own privileges, and the importance helping those less fortunate with the chance to access the same opportunities that you may take for granted.

I wasn’t there to deconstruct a television commercial or explain to the media how their collective reaction to the image of a wheelchair revealed their own inherent biases against and uncomfortableness with the disabled.

I volunteered to speak because, to me, this was about ensuring that my three nieces live in a state that protects disabled children against unrelenting bullying and a state provides opportunities and access in education and the workforce for those who may think or move differently than everyone else. I was there because I strongly believe that every single American, regardless of their age or their income, should enjoy the benefits of the best medical care in the world and because I know, first-hand, that with the right doctors and the right care, a child who may have otherwise been imprisoned for life by his disability can become independent. I was there because the Americans with Disabilities Act isn’t a legal abstraction to me; it’s the reason I could receive a mainstream education in public schools as a kid, and it’s one of the reasons I’m able to attend law school. Elevators and ramps don’t build themselves, after all. I was there because I believe in a system of justice that values the rights of victims more than the profit margins of corporations.

Lamar and two strong Texan women, Wendy Davis on the left and Carol White on the right

Lamar and two strong Texan women, Wendy Davis on the left and Carol White on the right

I sat down during my remarks, because, as I later told The Houston Chronicle, I was worried that if I had stood, I may have fallen on camera. Ask anyone who knows me: I have terrible balance. After I wrapped up my speech, I nodded to a staffer to help me slide my chair over about three feet, so I could make room at the podium for the next speaker. It was something I had asked for in advance. The entire exchange took less than five seconds, but in those five seconds, I managed to become the headline.

 

Only minutes after Wendy Davis finished her speech and the event ended, dozens of conservative pundits had taken to social media, lambasting her for using me and the other disabled people who sat and stood by her at the event as “campaign props.” These were the same pundits who were outraged by the image of an empty wheelchair in a television commercial, as if it was an attack against Greg Abbott’s disability, and yet here they were, in full force, arguing that I was nothing more than an object, something to be trotted out on stage in a cynical and exploitative attempt at damage control.

About an hour later, a writer at the Washington Free Beacon uploaded the video clip of me being slid from the podium and blasted the Davis campaign for shamelessly “dragging a disabled man across the stage.” The video was picked up by a number of other conservative websites and bloggers, and within a day, it had been viewed more than 70,000 times.

It was nasty and hateful and dehumanizing, but I wasn’t going to bite my tongue. I sent out a tweet, to no one in particular: “I am a human being. Not a campaign prop. I volunteered to speak because Wendy Davis is right.” The next day, my tweet was the headline of an article in Salon.com and was quoted in the pages of The New York Times. It was reassuring that most people recognized the characterization of me as a “prop” who was “shamelessly dragged” as a smear and a stark example of the cruelty and ignorance of a self-entitled, self-ordained political class who chews and spits up anyone and everyone who challenges the narrative they’re selling.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 6.39.33 AMI was not invented in a laboratory to help Wendy Davis or any other politician. Once I spoke up publicly, both online and in an op-ed published in The Houston Chronicle, I think it became much more difficult to argue, with a straight face, that I was just some poor, helpless handicapped guy who was embarrassed by Wendy Davis. Even the Washington Free Beacon updated its article about me being “dragged across the stage” to report that, in fact, their report was entirely concocted and incorrect.

However, not everyone was as decent or as honest. Not everyone accepted my certification of my own humanity and agency as valid. Some accused me of ginning up my disability for the cameras. A blogger on the LSU forum Tiger Droppings suggested, bizarrely, that I was a “fake paraplegic.”

And perhaps I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was, considering his long record of hate-mongering and bigotry in Louisiana, but Scott McKay, the blogger responsible for the vomit published on The Hayride, was more awful to me and to the disability rights community in general than anyone else in the country, which is saying a lot.

Scott McKay of the Hayride

Scott McKay of the Hayride

Scott’s website is relatively well-known in Louisiana, and although he passes himself off as a serious journalist, it appears- based on the e-mails that he sends out at least once a week- that he is mainly in the business of selling gold, doomsday preparation supplies, and other sundry wares that appeal to the most paranoid fringe of society.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.03.16 AM

Suffice it to say, I’ve never been a fan of his work or his enterprise, and I’ve made it clear to him repeatedly that I think much of what he contributes to our shared political discourse is bigoted and ignorant. Not surprisingly, he’s not a fan of mine either.

On the afternoon that I spoke at Wendy Davis’s press conference, Scott ran with this headline and image:

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 9.41.59 PM

That’s me behind the microphone. In his post, he even embedded the video clip of me being assisted, but because he has never met me in real life, he apparently had no clue that the “crippled” person he was ridiculing was none other than his Louisiana liberal nemesis.

Once another blogger and I pointed this out to him on Twitter, he spent the next couple of days spilling several hundred words about me. I imagine this was just too good to be true for him; his worlds were colliding. Most of what he wrote is hackneyed drivel and not worth any of our time, but there is at least one teachable moment. In his post titled “Lamar White, Noted Wendy Davis Campaign Prop, Now Hurls Accusations” (I’d called him a bigot for, well, see the image above), Scott writes (bold mine):

First, if Lamar couldn’t see that he wasn’t doing his candidate a whole lot of good by having a handler drag his chair away from a microphone it doesn’t particularly speak for his political, or theatrical, acumen. There were lots of ways to handle his exit from center stage. He could have walked off with someone offering him a shoulder to lean on and prevent a fall, he could have used a wheelchair, he could have had a podium of his own set up slightly to the center so that it wouldn’t have been necessary to move him at all in the middle of the press event, he could have had a Segway, or he could have even been on a chair with rollers. Any of those options would have looked less “awkward,” which is another way to say demeaning, than what actually happened.

So if this was his idea of stagecraft, let’s just say he’s not good at it. If you’re going to be a prop to show that Wendy Davis isn’t bigoted against handicapped people despite the ad she just made, you really don’t want to put yourself in position to make it look like her campaign can’t handle its disabled prop-people with any degree of dignity.

So this is a criticism of White that isn’t bigoted about his disability; it’s a criticism of the fact he made his candidate look like a fool – and a fool insensitive to disabled people at that, which defeated the entire purpose of his showing up to defend her. The fact that he’s now lashing out at anyone who commented on the spectacle is evidence that he may understand this.

I decided to quote generously from Scott’s “analysis,” not only because he’s a fellow Louisiana boy but also because he gets almost everything perfectly, comically wrong.

I’m going to tackle each of these accusations; I think they’re all instructive.

But first here’s the video clip he uses (compare it with the other one on top):

Regarding the idea that I lacked political and theatrical acumen: I delivered a two minute speech which was generally well-received, and it took no more than three seconds for me to be assisted to the side of the podium. There were nearly a hundred people at the event that morning, including several major television and newspaper journalists. None of them – in fact no one at all- asked me or anyone else about being slid on stage or the “theatrics” of a press conference that featured a man with cerebral palsy, a girl with cerebral palsy, at least two disabled veterans, and at least three people in wheelchairs. No one was offended or disrespected. No one felt undignified.

Scott McKay watched a ten second video clip and decided that I was a spectacle, that I was handled awkwardly, that I made the candidate look like a fool, and that I looked awkward in that ephemeral clip of me being slid.

I never signed up to perform in a play or to sing or to dance. I volunteered to speak at a press conference on disability rights, and because I have a disability, I suppose there was a risk involved: No amount of make-up could conceal the fact that I walk and sit and move differently. On camera, my disability is noticeable.

Scott suggested to his readers a range of other options he thought would be acceptable for me. But besides the ridiculous notion of me jumping onto a Segway (it’s as if he just “googled” “mobility device”), which, in my hands, would have led to numerous injuries, everything else Scott suggested is about making me seem less disabled to the cameras than I actually am. He called it “stagecraft,” and while he blamed the Davis campaign for the awkwardness of my movements, the truth is that he was just uncomfortable watching a disabled person receiving the exact type of compassionate assistance he had requested.

There is also an inherent presumption that Scott knows more about my disability and limitations than I do. I never, not for a single second, thought that I looked like a fool, because that’s just the way I move. So, put another way, as hard as Scott may have tried to blame Wendy Davis for making me look like a fool, he is actually just arguing that I look like a fool because of my disability. That, I’m afraid, is ignorant and bigoted.

And if the way I moved or the way I was assisted makes anyone uncomfortable, I suggest they reconsider their own biases against those with disabilities.

My disability has made some folks uncomfortable for my entire life. But that is not my problem.

I’ve learned how to negotiate my own life very well, and the advice on stagecraft and theatrical acumen is both patronizing, ignorant, and bigoted; it can only come from someone who is so detached from the realities faced by tens of thousands of people in Louisiana and even more in Texas that live with a disability, someone who cares more about theater than leadership and policy, someone who views politics as entertainment, not an exercise in forming a better and more perfect democracy.

But I’m not going to let it bother me.

I still have that one New Year’s resolution, and right now, I am fairly close to checking it off my list.

 

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