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Monday, July 27, 2020

Being Used And Abused?

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Perkins supporters and other citizens have had enough

Like most things in life – marriage, relationships, parenting, family – they all start with the best intentions. We begin with a rainbow vision of a colorful and magical life, complete with the proverbial white picket fence and a storybook ending.

And there’s always a moral to the story, as everyone works together for the common good of each another, like an episode of “Leave It to Beaver” or “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Of course, it doesn’t always end up that way. Sometimes, we get taken advantage of. And it’s not that anyone, necessarily, starts out intending to hurt one another or take one another for granted. It’s just that most of us like to “see the best in people,” and we end up “being used” in the process.

“Being used” is defined by the dictionary as, “To seek or achieve an end by means of; to exploit.” And the question is, did Adrian Perkins exploit the people of Shreveport only to further his own political ambitions, since he’s now announced he will be making a run for the U.S. Senate?

Many feel that way, and many were his staunchest supporters when he was running for mayor. They walked door-todoor campaigning for him, introduced him to their family and friends, and welcomed him into their living rooms and churches – and their future – here in Shreveport.

And they did all of that based on his promise that he would do all he could for the community that raised him. They trusted he was genuine whenever he told them that he “believe(s) in Shreveport” and that his intentions were always “to return to Shreveport” (even though he had bought a house in Georgia).

They agreed with him when he said, “Shreveport is by most metrics struggling, and it is going to take new, innovative leadership to allow it to meet its full potential.”

The trouble is, they thought Perkins was going to be that “new, innovative leadership.” Instead, it seems, he has other plans now (or perhaps always did).

As voters, you didn’t do anything wrong, though, in electing him as mayor. Being deceived, manipulated or used isn’t something of which to be ashamed. It just means you didn’t expect it – because it’s not the way you think.

But users do, though. And if you notice, they often cast themselves as benevolent, or martyrs, as if to say that they are doing you a favor by even considering being your friend, coworker, business partner, etc. Doing you a favor moving to Shreveport, for example, because “(t)he future in Shreveport is not so promising” (as Perkins wrote in a letter to his fellow Harvard Law School colleagues before running for mayor).

Or reminding you so many times of how he turned down numerous, lucrative job offers after graduating from law school to come back to Shreveport to “get my hometown back on its feet” (as Perkins most recently rehashes in his campaign announcement for the Senate).

And most often, users overvalue what they think that they’re “giving” you – but it’s not “giving.” It’s most often about their hidden agenda, and they will continue using until they’ve got what they want, or until you stop giving in. But it hurts to admit you’ve been used, especially by someone you took at “face value” and trusted.

This is why so many feel hurt in Shreveport. They feel Perkins has used them, hoodwinked them and made to be a stepping stone. A cog in the wheel for some larger agenda.

And they don’t like it. Of course, there will be those that say, “C’mon, elected officials run for higher offices all the time while they are still serving in another elected office. What’s the big deal?” That is certainly true, but Perkins deliberately (and repeatedly) campaigned that he was committed to staying here until he got his “hometown back on its feet.” And he hasn’t accomplished that.

And here’s the irony of it all: Perkins is also being used, but by the Democrat Party.

The Democrat Party sees having Perkins on the ballot in November as a way to increase Democrat voter turnout, regardless of whether Perkins is prepared to serve in the U.S. Senate or even survive a statewide brawl with Cassidy for votes.

And although I’m sure he was “given” a lot of promises of support from the Democrat Party, as well as folks like Mike Bloomberg, remember that “support” is for their agenda (but I’m sure they made Perkins feel like they were doing him a favor instead).

Kind of like Perkins made Shreveporters feel like he was doing them a favor by running for mayor in the first place.

Sure, Shreveport has been used before to serve the interests of a few instead of the many.

What’s different this time is that many more of us are saying, “We deserve better.”

And we do.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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