It’s no secret that politics in New Orleans can get dodgy fast. As voters, we can blame ourselves only so much for a politician’s decisions or behavior. “Don’t Blame Me I Voted For the Other Guy” a bumper sticker reads. Or more locally famous “Vote For The Crook – It’s Important” when Edwards went up against Duke some years ago; Edwards won, and both have since spent time in prison.
Between crime stats, budget concerns, and yes even and of course scandals, as citizens our vote does matter, but if you don’t register to vote, your voice silences completely; you effectively vote not to participate. Unless you just never registered? Which if you just moved here or are moving here, it’s a strong possibility, wouldn’t you agree?
Yes, it’s a presidential election year too, but so what? I’m talkin’ local, baby! The things that affect you more immediately orbit here, not in DC. Besides, I can tell you who’s going to win the presidential election anyway: the guy that raises the most money. Pretty sure it always is. Sad and pathetic this remains the reality too, regardless of however amazing or ridiculous either candidate may be. Money. Follow the money. But I digress.
Orleans Parish! You either love it or hate it; there is no in between. Your license plates might read Arkansas (and in some cases for two decades too many – there’s this car in this driveway Uptown, I’m not making this up), but you eat, sleep, and breathe here. So mean it. And, really, part of the reason you might have out of state plates older than the Internet might be precisely because you don’t participate politically enough. The only pragmatic reason to maintain one’s non-Louisiana plates longer than acceptable happens not to be allegiance to another state, but allegiance to your wallet. You don’t want to pay, so you don’t. Pretty sure there’s a law against that too. Something like six months, but when, how, and where it gets enforced, who can say?
Back to my point: register to vote here. While mounds of money on Capitol Hill will handily decide the victor this November, the same may not easily be said who will fill District B’s open slot. Plus Mitch’ll be running for re-election soon enough, and you’ll certainly have an opinion therein. At least, you should. And don’t put it off! Make a trek to City Hall and get involved. Just keep your political preferences off your Facebook and Twitter too; no one wants to read how much you love or hate whomever. Your “friends” may not tell you, but I will.
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and the Du Mois gallery on Freret Street and father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also writes an occasional real-estate blog at villererealty.com and shares his family’s adventures via pedicab on Facebook and Twitter.