We’ve been arguing for nearly two years now. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not writing you in order to attempt to reach a peace agreement. I think that the tone of your on-going discussion (and the way in which you treat politics) is deeply offensive, wrong-headed, occasionally bigoted and racist, and often borders on being defamatory. I think readers who simply review the bulk of the material posted on the website throughout the past two years will reach the same conclusions about the overall tone of the discussion.
I’ve said this before, and I can already anticipate the response: That I’m being thin-skinned or naive or somehow “wet behind the ears.” But those opinions– and the people who actually believe that politics should be some type of assassination game– are borne out of a politics of hated and divisiveness. It’s sad. It’s cynical. And it’s ultimately self-defeating. In the end, you can’t work well with anyone.
We criticize elected officials on this website, but we also understand the boundaries between the political and the personal. Politics, ideally, should be concerned with a rigorous discussion on policy; it should not be a rough and tumble free-for-all regarding someone’s personal, religious, or family life, unless, of course, the discussion concerns a substantive hypocrisy.
Simply put, I’ve had it with Cenla Antics.
The people on that website have, in the past, insulted and defamed my late father. They have made fun of my disability. Most recently, someone who has not yet denied being Neil Kavanagh of The Northside Journal has claimed that I am “unemployable” and a “yapping Poodle,” apparently because I have the gall to correct a manipulation of the facts regarding the tax reallocation proposal. To be sure, my most recent conversation with the thinly-disguised blogger named “Grass Roots Gus” did not occur on Cenla Antics, though he has indeed remained a contributor to the site.
(To those of you outside of Alexandria, please note that Cenla Antics is a website created by Quint Carrierre, a board member of the CenLa GOP Political Action Committee, otherwise known as CenLa GOPAC).
I understand that I appear to be merely venting, but I do have a point: Until recently, Cenla Antics had not received a single comment in nearly a week. Then, suddenly, the website once again became flooded with comments. I don’t believe that the influx of new comments is due to an influx of new visitors. I believe that the torrent of anonymous comments belongs to a very small handful of contributors. I’m not sure why the timing is particularly important or what, exactly, these people are attempting to prove, but at least two of them are now coordinating.
And I do know this: Cenla Antics does not reflect our daily political reality. Although I doubt that most local Republicans have even heard of Cenla Antics, I understand that some local Republican politicos take the site seriously. Quoting from a comment left yesterday by an anonymous writer:
Lamar, I have helped many politicians and in this last cycle, only lost two races; The two where the untruthful boys that are directly connected to the mayor (who I worked for and donated to), and who fooled the public.
I have no axe to grind, the public has seen the error of their ways, and there will be a different result next time (see Rick Farrar). The sheriff will probably have to tell his truth within a lawsuit, and the brother has already been laughed at by the entire legislature. My video of that will be priceless in the next election.
In other words, the people who comment on this site actually fashion themselves as Republican kingmakers, and no one can deny that they’re organized.
Unfortunately, the website perpetuates a very simple-minded, narrowly-focused, and occasionally bigoted conversation, instead of a mature, issues-based, and civic-minded one.
Personally, I don’t understand it. I’ve yet to see any evidence of these tactics actually contributing to an electoral victory. And I think it’s the most debased and most facile form of politics with which one can engage.
(Please note: I am not attempting to paint a broad brush over all Louisiana Republicans. Most of my family are Louisiana Republicans. I am merely suggesting that the discussion on this particular website with this particular group of Central Louisianan Republicans represents the absolute worst form of politics).