When I was a child, I would follow my dad into the voting booth on election day. He would tell me the importance of casting a vote, and that it was our duty to do so.
Often, I would ask Dad who he voted for. “That is my business,” he would say. I grew to understand that statement.
Now, for the first time, I am breaking with that tradition in order to prove a point.
In 2015, I voted for John Bel Edwards for governor of Louisiana. Can you hear the gasp from my fellow Republicans?
I voted for Edwards because he was to be the agent of change from the status quo. Sen. David Vitter, Edwards’s opponent in the runoff, was seen by many as “more of the same” in Baton Rouge.
I knew Louisiana was facing some very real problems the previous administration at the very least ignored, if not caused. Therefore, I cast my ballot and hoped for the best.
It is apparent I was not alone in my assessment, as Edwards, a Democrat, was elected by the majority in a “red state.”
In 2016, I once again cast my ballot for the presumed “agent of change,” albeit with more trepidation than my statewide choice.
I did not vote for Donald Trump because I am a racist, a sexist, a nationalist, or a homophobe. My vote was cast because the Democratic nominee reflected not only the status quo but also Washington elite.
Again, I was not alone, as Trump took Louisiana and was eventually chosen by the Electoral College.
How is it possible that someone such as myself could vote for these two seemingly opposite individuals within one year of each other? If you were to listen to political pundits, I must suffer from some sort of disorder. I suppose the majority of us in Louisiana suffer from the same disorder?
Those who paint everything with the broad brushes of politics, racism, sexisim, and all the other “-isms” run the risk of not knowing the hearts and minds of the people they are judging.
There are many afraid to take part in the political process due to being labeled this or that. That is the problem with our culture. It takes only one action, statement, or misunderstanding to be labeled something negative.
So what do Edwards and Trump have in common, other than my vote? They were both elected to tackle very real problems, both on the national scale and statewide.
Perhaps we should judge them on that, instead of everything else.
After all, a broad brush rarely creates a work of art.
David Specht is editor and publisher of the Minden Press-Herald.