Celebrating one Louisiana  

Published 6:25 am Friday, July 29, 2016

Like many in America, I’ve been keeping one eye on the conventions these past two weeks.

I’m mainly interested in the headliner speeches at the end of each night and, to be honest, I skipped Tuesday’s roll-call vote for delegates at the Democratic convention.

Then on Wednesday, I saw a brief write up on New York Magazine’s website that the Louisiana delegation, led by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans, “won” the roll-call vote.

The write up said, “On Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton became the first woman ever to win the nomination of a major American political party — and Louisiana became the first state to ‘win’ a roll-call vote.”

The piece described the vote as “lit,” (which is good) and marked by an “uncountable number” of whooohs.

There’s video of this on Youtube, and it’s worth a look. On the video, Peterson shouts, in part, “We are one Louisiana. We will not be defined by any natural disaster nor will we be defined by any act of senseless violence because we are one Louisiana.”

All the while, the state’s delegation is cheering loudly behind her.

She continues, “We are a melting pot of beautiful cultures. Cajuns, Creoles. We fish, we hunt, we like Rex, we like Mardi Gras, we like Zulu …” before reading the delegate count.

The whole thing takes barely over a minute but it’s a nice reminder that, despite the varied and necessary political differences between us, there is quite a bit in this state that brings us together. Peterson might well have gone on for another minute or two before running out of common interests, but she didn’t need to do that — her point was clear enough.

Even so, on that same day, Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Louisiana is second in the nation in law enforcement murders. Texas leads, with 14, and Louisiana has half that (seven). But the number, however low, isn’t zero. And yes, technically the three officers who were murdered in Baton Rouge this month were gunned down by someone from out of state, but the fact remains there is still a certain fear or unease out there among youth toward law enforcement. In some areas, at least, we’re not yet one Louisiana. In some areas, we are divided.

Yet even so, it strikes me that in this case that the past needn’t be prologue, because there are so many things we all celebrate and we all cherish. I don’t consider myself to be impractical, but I do think that the more common our experiences, the more collective our reality and the more unified our communities then the safer we will be.

When we learn to find comfort in each other and trust one another — regardless of uniform or age or race or whatever — we will move closer to that collective goal of one Louisiana. Given the fact that there is so much in our state, in our culture and at our fingertips that does bring us together, I think the goal is within reach.


Jesse Wright is the managing editor of The Daily News. You can email him at jesse.wright@bogalusadailynews.com, or call him at (985) 732-2565, ext. 301.