‘Shocking’ governor-elect deserves better treatment

November Theatre
November 5, 2007
Daniel Rodrigue, Sr.
November 7, 2007

(Originally published in The Bossier Press-Tribune)

Louisiana has shocked the world – at least the liberal one.

Shocker number one: Bobby Jindal is the governor-elect without a runoff.

Shocker number two: He isn’t white.

Shocker number three: He has conservative views.

I would like to address each of these “shocking” facts.

First, it should be no real surprise that Jindal won the governor’s mansion without a runoff. It was just two years ago that Sen. David Vitter did the same thing – shocking the nation. Two Conservative Republicans. Two statewide races. Same basic result.

Those of us who live in Louisiana weren’t shocked at all. From the day Jindal was defeated by Gov. Kathleen Blanco, we knew he would be back. In fact, some political pundits have said he’s been running for governor the last four years.

If these “shocked Americans” outside the Bayou State would have just followed some of the political coverage, they would have known that Jindal maintained a substantial lead throughout the campaign. Regardless of whether you were for him or against him, everyone knew Jindal was the man to beat – and no one succeeded.

Second, I am just about tired of every news outlet lamenting about Jindal being the first “non-white” governor in Louisiana history. Yes he is – but that wasn’t the reason he won. And, no, Jindal didn’t win in spite of his race. Some people just can’t understand that someone would be elected based on their ideas and vision, and not based on their skin color. Again, like him or not, Bobby Jindal’s race was never mentioned in any of his political ads or other propaganda. He always stuck to ideas and vision.

Finally, those on the left cannot stand the fact that “Minority Conservatives” exist – or that they might actually ascend to positions of power.

The fact that Jindal has Conservative views and has attained this position has already unleashed the venom of some liberal writers.

AsianWeek’s Emil Guillermo labeled the governor-elect as “Uncle Bob Jindal: Man of No Color.”

“When you see a person of color, you expect someone with similar values, views, beliefs – someone in touch with the emerging new majority. With Jindal, you get someone who very deliberately and proudly downplays his race in order to seek his own individual path. That kind of independence under certain circumstances may be commendable. But only if you happen to agree with his ideas that range from free-market health care, intelligent design instead of evolution, anti-choice and a fenced-in America,” Guillermo writes.

So, Jindal’s conservatism is not commendable, according to this writer. If you believe what Guillermo writes, then the conclusion is that a “person of color” is only allowed to be liberal. So much for diversity of views and tolerance.

Like Clarence Thomas and J.C. Watts, Jindal has committed the “Unpardonable sin.” He has dared to reject the liberal mentality and agenda. He has dared to see himself as an American, not an Indian-American. He has the audacity to be an individual, not beholden to a predetermined rule, “if you are a minority, you must be liberal.”

It is sickening that there are those who would try to tear down the governor-elect before he even takes office. It is a real indicator of where we are politically as a nation.

It is funny that as a state we have been ridiculed for being “rednecks” and “backwoods.” We are all deemed “racists” by the actions of a few in Jena. Where is the praise for electing a “non-white” governor? Oh, I forgot, he doesn’t count because he has Conservative views.

Only time will tell what kind of governor Jindal will be. Louisiana has a long road ahead to full reform and recovery. One thing is for sure. Jindal’s success or failure in his newly acquired position will have nothing to do with the color of his skin.

Perhaps these political experts should remember a few words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”