ERROL LABORDEIn this election year, listening to the words of the candidates has influenced me to change my life. I want to be a “Good Ole Boy.”
By the ways that some candidates decry the Good Ole Boys I can only assume that the Boys have absolute control over the state. Four years ago, during the last gubernatorial campaign, even the normally soft-spoken Kathleen Blanco was quoted saying at a forum that “If I waited for endorsements from the Good Ole Boys, I wouldn’t be lieutenant governor today.”
If the Good Ole Boys have so much power as to generate such concern than that’s where I want to be, right in the center of it – making deals over Jack Daniels, finishing lunch at Galatoire’s in time for dinner, defining poverty as not having a vacation condo. Then there’s the matter of the much whispered about “Good Ole Boy Network.” Apparently the Boys have mastered a form of internal communication by which they control everyone’s lives. I want some of that.
My first step has been to try to locate the appropriate Good Ole Boy so as to infiltrate the ranks. (Even among the Boys there’s probably an inner circle of Better Ole Boys who those on the outer circle envy.) Where are they? First I thought about our members of Congress but they’re either too Potomac, in trouble or both.
How about the legislature? Certainly there are some cigar-chomping power brokers within the group. Yes, but they’re mostly term limited now and if they were so powerful how did they ever allow term limitations to pass?
A question for the ages: Is it possible for a woman to be a Good Ole Boy? Judging from Blanco’s comment, apparently not – at least not yet.
There was a time when being white was a prerequisite for being a Good Ole Boy. Can blacks infiltrate the inner circle? Perhaps, but none that are in power now. Ray Nagin comes the closest but he’s too New Orleans. Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden? Nope. He was once part of the news media. Bill Jefferson? See above. Cleo Field? Too close to Edwin.
A more skeptical person might conclude that there’s really no such thing as Good Ole Boys or their network – that the term is a political bogeyman to simplify righteousness from evil. True, there was a time after Reconstruction when the state was ruled by gentlemen planters but that changed with Huey Long’s populist revolution of 1928. The old guard hasn’t been in the mansion since.
Put three people on a deserted island and a ruling faction will emerge. As populations grow and times change, power shifts. (The most powerful person in Louisiana over the last three decades now sits powerless in a federal prison.) Who are the true Good Ole Boys? All of the above and all of us – in our little sections of the world.
That’s what a skeptic might think. I, on the other hand, am still believing and still looking. I just know that the Good Ole Boys of legend are out there and they’re waiting to welcome me. I would like a hearty Cabernet with my filet, please.