Alice in Wonderland taught us about the world of childhood fantasies. It’s a world of fantasy where some still choose to reside. It’s a magical land of make believe where anything can happen, much like the world of Louisiana politics.
The heart of the Red Stick is the seat of both city and state government where magical dreams come true. It’s a tale that began with wonder and delight. Some call it the legend of Istrouma Bluff . . .
It all began long, long ago on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, when a french explorer, Iberville, spotted a bloody cypress stick and named the location ‘le baton rouge’ or Red Stick.
A new architect to the land, Dakin, built a gothic medieval castle to house the seat of government with a front row view of the massive river traffic, but just as in all magical lands, this castle was not large enough for the politically powerful.
So, Governor Huey P. Long commissioned a taller state capitol to house state government. It would, one day, become the home of the largest employer in the state of Louisiana.
This was only the beginning of the people’s woes including larger, more excessive state government. A chicken in every pot, and funding for all special interests. It was a Never Never Land, where politicians proclaimed ‘no is not an answer’.
In this magical land, money grew on trees and blank checks fell from the sky. Politicians skipped down the halls exchanging votes only behind magical closed doors.
The legislative sessions do often sound like tales from folklore. Don’t they? Unfortunately they are not fairy tales, but the reality of gatherings comprised of elected officials and appointees that often lack common sense, ethical concern and good ole-fashioned prudence.
In the magical world of Louisiana politics, finances are infinite. There is no awareness of real budgets or lack of funding. Like Dick Tracy, someone with a magical answer is always ‘on their way’ to the rescue.
The mentality is that state government is too big to fail, that bailouts and magic financial formulas will cause money to magically appear. And like all mantras, sometimes they do come true as evidenced by $22.6 million in funding suddenly ‘found’ recently.
In this magical world of Louisiana politics, the finances are so tangled in bureaucracy that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. So much so, that within 12 months we can be so far off base to go from a surplus to a shortfall. Then, magically, we begin to pick the fruit of unspent dollars and tax dollars to meet the shortfall.
It truly is magical. No reality here folks. Just a wonderful world of fantasy spending that will endlessly lift us to another world of wonder.
As long as we are living in the world of fantasy, I recommend we all search for a character similar to the one in the movie ‘Dave’. A hero that snuck a friend into the state capitol to recommend financial cuts. If it worked in the movies, surely it will work in the magical world of Louisiana politics. Right?
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican