Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gov. Blanco and the Jena Six

I was ready to write a post about Governor Kathleen Blanco and her silence during everything - the arrests, prosecution, rally, bond hearing - going on in Jena, but a quick Google search slowed me down.

I stand corrected.

Blanco has issued statements on the situation in Jena, the first one looking like it was Aug. 10:

"I have received hundreds of calls, letters and emails from citizens concerned about the situation involving the case of the high school students in Jena, La. As Governor, as a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and as a mother, without rushing to judgment, I condemn racism in any form, and I fully expect that those involved in this case, including all parties, will act with fairness and in complete good faith."

She goes on to clear up the "misconception" that many people have about her ability to fix the situation, saying that not one branch of the three branches of government - executive, judicial and legislative - has power over the others.

Blanco issues another statement on Sept. 17, encouraging free speech that the Sept. 20 rally would demonstrate - and oh yeah, subtly reminding folks that the State Police would be out in full force.

(Sidenote: During a pretty significant time for race relations in her state, instead of being somewhere on Louisiana soil doing what she can to protect the reputation of her state, Blanco is in Madrid, Spain on a "business development mission"...sending e-postcards like this one posted on the day of the rally.)

And finally, Saturday, she issued a response to news that hate groups were publishing contact information of the families of the Jena Six on the Internet.

So, yes, Blanco has responded - somewhat - to the situation in Jena, but you know me. I'm never satisfied.

With exception to her last response, calling for law enforcement to investigate the hate groups, her statements have been pretty bland. I'd like to see her take a stand and maybe call for an investigation into how this situation in Jena came to be.

But that's just me.

I mean, what does she have to lose? Votes toward her re-election?


Kevan Smith said...

You're right -- her non-responsive responses have been inadequate. Foti has been AWOL, too.

Donecia Pea said...

Wow, that's just ridiculous. I'm really disappointed in her about this. I mean you would think after all the bad press she got for her actions during Hurricane Katrina, she'd at least try to redeem herself. Very disappointing...

Joel Anderson said...

We can't lose sight of the fact that Gov. Blanco might not have formed a definitive opinion about the kids known as the "Jena Six."

Or, perhaps, Blanco has an opinion that might be unpopular to folks who think the kids should have the charges dropped.

To lots of people, this isn't a clear-cut case, you know? We know that just looking at the 'comments' section on any story concerning Jena. Blanco still might be working her way through her thoughts.

Donecia Pea said...

I mean that may be true Joel, but as the leader of this state during a time when we're in the international spotlight, it just seems like she would have at least shown her face somewhere in Louisiana at least on that day NOT in support or protest of the Jena 6, but just to say that she at least recognizes this to be an important moment in the state's history, she supports free speech, she trusts the legal system to be just, blah, blah, blah. Not just some press release statements on her web site, but at least a live press conference.
Or maybe she did do that and I missed it? That is quite possible...

Janelle Rucker said...

No, DPea, you didn't miss it because it didn't happen.

I agree with you. She didn't have to come out and say she supported or was against the DA's decisions, but she should have atleast shown her face and let her residents know that she's here and will take part in a resolution.

Instead, she left the door to the state wide open and let outsiders come in and do her job. How could 20,000 people, many who aren't even from Louisiana, get to Jena and make a statement before she did?