Did you see it? It had to be a first. With all the commotion going on. It is all over social media. There are online articles about this everywhere. The local news carried it. Talk radio got down and dirty. But just in case you have been working on important projects, let me break it down for you. Oliver Thomas and JP Morrell had a verbal disagreement. The disagreement got ugly.
Now people are jumping at the opportunity to attack. JP is intentionally aggravating. Why did Oliver respond? In case you somehow missed the full exchange, click here. JP sent texts apologizing to the media. Oliver wrote a whole article about how he must not let people get under his skin. And people are salivating at the chance to put their own spin on things.
Thugs and Gangs at City Hall
Of course this is not the first time politicians vehemently disagreed. This is certainly not even the first time legislators from the same body have disagreed. And this is not the first time legislators from even the same party have disagreed. And it’s not the first time legislators from the same party serving the same constituency have vehemently disagreed. Do we have a speaker of the house? Nope! Republicans can’t even agree on the third most powerful position in the entire US governmental system. So disagreements are not that unusual.
But here in New Orleans, we are having a social media, talk radio frenzy about a verbal disagreement. Reminds me of Allen Iverson. But instead of “Practice?” we talking about an ARGUMENT. We talking about an argument. Between legislators. Shucks, the idea of a representative democracy is that our leaders must fight for our perspective to be heard. This leads to tense and testy conversations. Sometimes emotions boil over. But if the participants only verbally disagree, then each is simply doing his/her job. We should expect disagreement. If we all thought alike, then there is no need for a second majority black district in Louisiana. And we know we have had many verbal arguments about another Black legislative district in Louisiana.
Thugs and Gangs at City Hall
City council members have bickered for decades. Stacey Head and Cynthia Willard Lewis. Dorothy Mae Taylor and Peggy Wilson. Joe Giarusso and Jim Singleton had their skirmishes. These are just a few. You had the infamous “You Lie” outburst as President Barack Obama gave a state of the union address. American politics is much more dignified than other countries where yelling and fistfights occur. But disagreement is often an essential part of growth. So the OT/JP dustup was neither unusual or unexpected.
Where the whole thing went off the rails is with the ugly racial stereotypes. A local talk radio host on WWL radio, said Councilman Thomas displayed “thug mentality” when he argued with Councilman Morrell. This stale racist diatribe is par for the course for these “conservative” talk shows. Their currency is base, seedy and negative stereotypes of a bygone era. Yellow journalism at its finest.
The fact is OT and JP will continue to do the people’s work. But Scoot wants you to believe that Councilman Thomas is going to be lurking in the halls of city hall with a baseball bat and two of his gang members and beat up Councilman Morrell. Scoot’s dumb attack on Councilman Thomas is insulting to the entire city council. It’s insulting to the people of our city. Newsflash – Two black men can disagree and no bloodshed happens.
We have real issues in this town and the currency of racial stereotypes has no place in the discourse.