Exploring Louisiana’s Paradoxical Politics: A Look At The People, Policies, And Political Structures In The Bayou State
In her book Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Hochschild demonstrates how American politics has failed the people of Louisiana.
This state is one of the poorest in the Union and yet, despite this, it has voted in a succession of Republican state representatives who have arguably caused them even more economic hardship.
Hochschild went to Louisiana to talk to the locals and get an understanding of what caused their current predicament.
She found that there were serious problems at hand – air pollution created by big oil companies leading to abnormal cancer rates, a lack of well-paying jobs for its white working class residents, and deregulation implemented by Governor Bobby Jindal which gave away 1.6 billion dollars to oil and gas corps – all these issues taking their toll on the people living there.
In addition she found that Fox News was a major factor driving political debate in Louisiana as well as the emergence of a powerful Tea Party movement which championed conservative values attracting deep commitment from supporters.
Ultimately, Hochschild discovered that compassion and understanding are necessary for finding solutions able to thaw differences between those with different political viewpoints in order for progress to be made in states like Louisiana where poverty is rampant amongst its citizens.
Why The People Of Louisiana Support Tea Party Ideologies Despite Poor State Of Affairs
Supporters of the Tea Party in Louisiana seem to be behaving paradoxically when it comes to aid from the government.
Knowing that their own state is one of the poorest states in the nation, you would expect them to advocate for government aid.
Yet they are against it, even though they benefit from it immensely.
At the heart of this paradoxical behavior lies a mistrust of regulatory policies and an aversion to governmental involvement which have been encouraged through elections such as Bobby Jindal’s candidacy for Governor in 2007 and 2011.
Jindal reduced regulations for oil and chemical companies operating within the state and offered billions in dollar incentives to big businesses — all without attempting to raise Louisiana’s pollution standards above national averages.
Louisianans have been further convinced by his policies that a large government “steals” their tax dollars away from them, leading them to support smaller government institutions with less regulation.
Ironically, this support of restricted regulations only continues to keep Louisiana at number 49 out of 50 states on The Measure of America assessment list, due low life expectancy rates, low numbers of educational degrees held by citizens and low school-enrollment levels despite high median personal incomes.
Louisiana Attracts Oil Companies Despite The Devastating Impact On Local Communities
When politicians talk of the billion-dollar industry that is oil, they often paint its benefits in a positive light.
Unfortunately, this rhetoric does not reflect the reality for Louisiana.
In fact, big oil has caused immense damage to the state and its people.
Residents around areas like Tea Party are sure to be enticed by the prospect of jobs coming with new oil plants; however, these positions are never truly realized as they tend to go to workers that come from outside of the region or countries willing to accept much lower wages than locals.
Furthermore, local waterways are polluted due to effluent produced by plants causing many fishermen to lose their livelihoods.
Rather than investment in its people, Louisiana offers immense tax incentives and allows companies operating there up to twenty years of tax-free business without taking into account any lost revenue.
Then there’s the sad fact that oil companies have chosen Louisiana due investigation finding out small towns lacking education but full of devout Christians make for perfect sites for them; Oil companies certainly don’t pick towns located in Louisiana by accident.
It cannot be understated that when it comes to Louisiana and big oil, what industry offers pales in comparison to what it takes away from its citizens and taxpayers alike.
This begs the question: Is oil really worth it?
The Tea Party’s Misplacement Of Blame: Understanding How Racism, Classism, And Gender Stereotypes Fuel Its Ideology
Tea Party supporters feel neglected by the federal government and rightfully so.
Many of these members are white, lower-middle class individuals who feel that their hard work is often overlooked.
The majority of them think that minority groups in America have access to resources like affirmative action that they do not.
These feelings believe that Barack Obama’s successful election as president was an example of preferential treatment.
This sentiment has been fueled even further by Fox News, which often portrays Obama’s achievements as being only possible due to political correctness and affirmative action.
The Tea Party supporters feel like they’ve been forgotten – while every other faction of society gets assistance – which is why the formation of the Tea Party was validating to them.
It showed them they weren’t fighting a lone battle, and Donald Trump’s success with this group demonstrates this further.
His brashness and preference for blaming others appeals to those in the Tea Party movement who were previously held back by the liberal media’s chokehold on the masses.
This President offers an image of returning the country to what it once was, when working-class white individuals were respected and capable of self-governance without interference from outsiders.
Through politicians like Trump and movements like the Tea Party, these people are sending a clear message: pay attention and give us our share too!
The Tea Party’S Feelings Of Condemnation From The Liberal Media
Tea Party members are some of the most disrespected members in the nation.
The liberal media often overlooks their unique beliefs and mocks their way of life as outdated or wrong.
This condescending attitude has been around since the Civil War, when Northerners came down to the South and told them that they had to change.
It happened again with the Civil Rights Movement, and it’s continuing now between Republicans on the right and liberals on the left.
The Tea Party members tend to be looked down upon for how their religious beliefs shape them.
They believe in being “churched”, which means that faith is a major part of who they are as individuals and that their church should be a source for helping those in need.
So when liberals criticize them for not doing enough or being too conservative, this can easily seem like an attack on their beliefs and values.
They also feel disregarded when it comes to issues such as marriage rights.
Even though they may view marriage through a Biblical definition – a union between one man and one woman – liberals label these people as homophobic without really understanding why they hold this position.
It’s clear that Tea Party followers feel attacked by those from different backgrounds, leading many of them to act defensively just to protect themselves and stick up for their way of life.
How Fox News Distracts The People Of Louisiana From The Real Issues Caused By Oil Companies
In Louisiana, a few terrible actions by oil companies have done immense damage to the environment and population.
In 2012, for example, an oil drill produced a massive sinkhole that sucked up and destroyed trees, boats and houses in the area.
Additionally, a raise in cancer cases across the state has been linked to general pollution from oil companies – one family reported that nine of their relatives had all contracted some form of the disease in quick succession.
To distract Louisianans from paying attention to these environmental atrocities, Fox News instead chooses to paint sensationalist pictures of evil federal government activities.
The network lambasts the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to raise air-quality standards as if they were an attack on American citizens rather than a benefit for their safety and wellness.
Ultimately, Louisiana’s small-government policies are destroying its environment and executing its residents through neglect and disinformation served up by Fox News.
The people of this state should take action if they want this toxic cycle to end – after all, their lives depend on it.
Empathy And Compromise Are Key To Bridging The Left-Right Divide In America
It’s essential to try and empathize with the opposing political views if we want to open up meaningful political dialogue.
Although left and right sides of politics agree on a lot of things, they cannot seem to come to an agreement when discussing the root causes of certain issues.
In order to understand the other side’s stance, it is important for us to attempt to look at their experiences and beliefs from their perspectives.
It becomes difficult for both sides to work out potential compromises if there is no willingness from both parties to empathize with one another.
For example, Northern Americans have typically opposed government intervention in matters like welfare programs while many Southern Americans will be more inclined towards that option due to their past experience with slavery.
These different outlooks mean that people on either end of the spectrum will view things differently.
Another issue can be seen in religious values – some people strongly feel that God should be mentioned during the pledge of allegiance while others don’t see religion as being necessary in schools.
It is important for each side in this situation to try and understand where the other comes from before any kind of judgement can be passed.
At its heart, this matter boils down each side feeling displaced by not understanding or recognizing America anymore.
We need empathy toward opposite political views so that American citizens might once again feel happy and proud of their homeland.
Strangers in Their Own Land is a powerful book that offers an insightful look into the difficult political climate in Louisiana.
This story speaks to national trends, drawing attention to how the differences in opinion can make it hard for people to come together.
The book argues that empathy should be viewed as the best way to bring everyone closer together and build toward a better future.
It also emphasizes the importance of recognizing and dismantling the ideologies and organizations which are doing harm rather than good.
This book encourages each and every one of us to think about how we can take part in unifying our nation.