The Bayou Brief‘s slogan was coined by one of our most dedicated and generous supporters, a young woman from Alexandria who has spent most of her career caring for our most vulnerable children. Like so many of us, she experienced, first-hand, the devastating effects that Bobby Jindal’s eight years of selfish ambition and willful negligence inflicted on those most in need.
When Sen. Mitch McConnell attempted to famously mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren by quipping, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” progressives, moderates, and almost every woman in this country understood that in his attempt to be patronizing, he was unwittingly affirming one of the finest qualities we can hope from a leader: Principled tenacity.
It is a quality that is now severely lacking in Washington, D.C., but one that Louisianians now see, for the first time in eight years, on the fourth floor of our state Capitol. During the previous legislative session, we saw that quality in State Rep. Helena Moreno, as she fought for equal pay. And the entire nation saw that quality in New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. But our elected officials’ capacity to demonstrate principled tenacity is entirely reliant on the work done, each and every day, by ordinary Louisianians who believe in a more tolerant, a more just, and a more compassionate state and country.
I have been writing about the politics of Louisiana for more than eleven years, and there is one thing I’ve learned for certain: Nothing in Louisiana is ever for certain. Shreveport became the first city to pass an equal rights ordinance protecting LGBT citizens in the workplace. Monuments to the Confederacy were rejected by two New Orleans city commissions, all but one member of its City Council, its Mayor, and in more than a dozen court proceedings.
There are now chapters of the Indivisible movement in Central Louisiana, Acadiana, Shreveport, and I’m told there’s even a group of like-minded progressives that gather to discuss political strategy in Lincoln Parish. Although Donald Trump won this state by nearly 20 points last year, the Louisiana volunteers for Sec. Clinton’s campaign made more phone calls on election day than almost any other office in the entire country, contacting nearly 100,000 voters in swing states like Florida.
In January, tens of thousands of women and men marched in the streets of New Orleans in protest of Donald Trump, joining more than 4.3 million people across the country, and perhaps most surprisingly, a group of nearly 2,000 in Shreveport.
This is why we adopted the slogan “Nevertheless, we will progress.” It is not an admission of defeat or hopelessness.
It is an expression of principled tenacity.