Personal preferences are a reliable method of distinguishing between conservatives and Democrats. Conservatives believe personal preferences are just that: personal and particular to the individual. When others don't share his preferences a conservative looks for more congenial companions or surroundings. Sometimes he even takes the initiative and creates a like–minded opportunity in the private sector.
Democrats believe their personal preferences are so noteworthy and have such a significant bearing on the future of society that it's only fair these indispensible preferences be imposed on the public by force of law.
Which brings us to Democrat Alvin Tillman, a third–term member of the council in Terrebonne Parish, LA, who evidently does not have enough to occupy his time. Tillman is personally offended by the chroma culprits who paint their family tombs anything but white, which is Tillman's preferred color.
"We want to stop this before it gets out of hand," Tillman was quoted by the Associated Press. "Before you know it you'll go out there and the cemetery will look like Mardi Gras."
Since this is Louisiana -- where being dead is no bar to exercising the franchise in favor of Democrats on election day -- it could be that Tillman is simply responding to the wishes of his electoral base.
So he intends to persuade the council to pass a law. Unfortunately for his finely–tuned sense of aesthetics, his law will only apply to public cemeteries that are government–owned.
No only will Tillman ban future non–white paint jobs, he won't grandfather, so to speak, tombs that have already been painted. Those owners will be required to repaint their tombs, much like cab owners in DC will be required to repaint their cabs a uniform white if Councilwoman Mary Cheh, another Democrat member of the Color Police, gets her way.
In the South there is bad precedent for government intrusion in cemetery management. When local government was under Klan influence, it wasn't concerned so much about the color of the tomb as it was focused on the color of the customer. In many marble orchards the tombs and the dead were uniformly white.
Tillman may be personally biased against tombs–of–color, but Louisiana has a long history of using paint to customize family tombs. The AP story also quotes an expert who observes, "Historically, the limewash used on family tombs was colored in shades of yellow, ochre, pink, gray and red."
White on the outside, instead of the inside, is a recent development.
Personally, I think a tomb of almost any color beats the soggy Teddy Bear and defeated balloon piles dotting the roadside that pass for memorials here in Prince William County. At least in Terrebonne Parish the decoration is in close proximity to the deceased.
Judge Gideon Tucker once said, "No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session." But in Louisiana you don't even have to be alive to be at the mercy of a politician's whims.
Finally, before the write–by date passes, I want to revisit the Sulaimon Brown scandal in DC. Brown is the former candidate for mayor who claims Mayor Vincent Gray (D – Comatose) promised him a job after the election if he continued his attacks on then Mayor Adrian Fenty during the campaign. He also says the Gray operation illegally paid him under the table to keep his campaign afloat.
Gray claims this is untrue and that he only promised Brown an interview after the election.
So let's give Gray the benefit of the doubt. Brown continues his unhinged attacks on Fenty during the campaign. Fenty loses. After the election Gray's administration gives Brown the promised interview.
During the process the crack Gray transition team carefully evaluates Brown just like any other applicant for a job in the new administration. His qualifications include an attempted murder charge as a teenager, a poor credit history and an otherwise questionable resume.
Then, after careful deliberation, the Gray administration gives him a job!
Brown lands a $110,000–a–year spot in the Department of Health Care Finance. Sulaimon is fired in less than a month after repeated outbursts in the office and the discovery of a restraining order on file against him by the mother of a 13–year–old girl.
I don't find it reassuring, if you believe Gray, that instead of Brown being hired as political payback, this manic was hired on his own merits.
Only in the District of Columbia, run since the beginning of home rule by Democrats, is gross incompetence considered positive spin to rebut a charge of breaking the law.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.