Foster Campbell trying to pull fast one on black voters
© Getty Images

Late last month, the Louisiana NAACP held their 74th Annual Convention and Leadership conference in Houma, not far from where I live. I was there in my capacity as Councilwoman for Terrebonne Parish, and as a member of the parent organization. Leaders in our community joined elected officials for the banquet celebration. A lot of good people were there, and a lot of genuine connections were made.

And off to the side, near the front of the room, sat an empty table.

Bought and paid for without so much as a soul to fill it. I came to find out later Foster Campbell and his campaign had paid for the whole set-up as a way to have a presence at our celebration without actually bothering to be present.

Where were you, Commissioner Campbell?

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Where were you when President Obama was running and our people were fighting to make history? Were you standing on the sidelines or standing in the shadows — because you sure weren’t standing with us. Where were you when asked if you, point blank, if you supported President Obama? This summer you were asked that same question and the best you could come up with was muttering and grudging.

“He’s done some good things.” He sure has, Commissioner. And he’s done it all without a lick of help from you.

Where were you for our party’s next attempt to make history? Where were you for Secretary Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState cites 38 people for violations in Clinton email review Trump campaign to hold rallies in Mississippi, Kentucky Biden struggles to reverse fall MORE? To this day, when you are expecting Democrats to fall in line and vote for you, you’re nowhere to be found when it comes to supporting our party’s nominee for president. Another historic moment, another empty table where you should be.

Where were you for the last four decades? As an elected official, you stood by and watched our historic stronghold in Louisiana being chipped away, and finally taken outright by the Republican party.

Where were you for African-American leaders and candidates in all that time? Where’s your record of fighting for us when we needed you?

Where were you, Commissioner, in your long years of public service, when the black community needed a voice—when the Democrats needed a champion?

You were never there. Not for the African American community, not for the Louisiana Democratic Party. Not for us. Not once.

Anyone can buy themselves a table, but not everyone deserves a seat.

You don’t deserve a seat at that table, Commissioner Campbell. And you don’t deserve our votes or our support, no matter what you think you might be entitled to.

It’s an old game you’re playing, and we’ve all been here before. Politicians of a certain era have become accustomed to using the African-American community. You come courting every four years or so, or whenever your ego pushed you to run for the next ill-advised office.

You throw some money around and tell us you’re our friend.

And then, after the election: empty tables. Empty tables and broken promises and half-truths that turn out to be whole lies.

Here’s a truth for you, Commissioner: we know where Caroline Fayard was. She was fighting for us. Without benefit of a fancy title or one of the many, many elected positions you’ve tried to use our community to help you collect. Caroline was there for us. She was there for President Obama. And she’s out there, unashamed and unafraid, helping the Democratic nominee for president fight to make history one more time.

Here’s some more truth for you: Caroline Fayard isn’t “her family.”

Caroline Fayard isn’t someone you get to dismiss just because she’s a woman and you’ve decided to lump her in with her parents. How sexist and old-fashioned is that? Her father wasn’t fighting for John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCummings to lie in state at the Capitol Elizabeth Warren should concern Donald Trump 'bigly' Lawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show MORE eight years ago, but he was supporting Hillary Clinton — which is more than we can say for you.

Caroline Fayard didn’t oppose President Obama in 2010, she opposed the moratorium on drilling that was killing our state’s economy. She stood up for Louisiana, and meanwhile: where were you?

As a woman, as a feminist and as a Democrat, I’m offended by the entire dismissive, condescending line of attack your campaign has taken in this election. In effect, you’re trying to silence one woman, while you run and hide from standing with the woman at the top of the ticket.

All this, and you’re still expecting us to vote for you, still insisting we get in line for your march to one more failed bid for relevance. The idea that you can scare our community with a bunch of lies and half-truths would be insulting if it weren’t so predictable.

Louisiana’s African-American community isn’t as easily manipulated as you seem to think. We aren’t stupid. And Louisiana Democrats have long memories — memories that you’re not in.

Because you weren’t there.

One of your bought-and- paid-for mouthpieces made a point of quoting a “prominent black political leader” he couldn’t be bothered to name. I happen to be a black political leader in Louisiana, and I’m here to ask you, just one more time — where were you?

Williams is the Councilwoman for Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government District 2, the Chair of the National Association of Democratic County Officials, Second Vice Chair of the Louisiana State Democratic Party, and a Delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.


 

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