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Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021

Chained To The Past

Poor excuses for the same old thing

It is often said that “winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”

Thomas Edison insisted, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Author Napoleon Hill wrote once, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

But sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way. Do you ever feel like quitting? Feel as though you’ve given it everything you’ve got, and it’s still too overwhelming and difficult? Ever want to “throw in the towel”? Sure you do – we all do. We’re “wired” to choose the path of least resistance, to pick the “low-hanging fruit” or the easiest way out – the quick win.

It’s why so many quit or give up when a given task seems too hard to accomplish – and they offer every reason for doing so. But as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “We have 40 million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”

So when Shreveport City Councilman James Flurry recently explained why he quit his position on the council, after packing up and leaving the district the voters elected him to represent, he offered many so-called reasons, but not a single excuse.

First, his home was sold “quicker” than expected (as if the decision to leave his district and constituents behind wasn’t planned out). Then, he said it was his nameless “enemies” who wanted him to go (as if the “For Sale”

sign he placed in his yard and the moving truck pulling up in the driveway were coincidences). Then Flurry suggested his quitting was because he is “white” and the majority of his district is “black” (as if African-American voters in his district weren’t smart enough to have figured both out already when they elected and re-elected him).

Then he explained his quitting by saying he “never was Republican enough” (even though it is the City Charter, not any party affiliation, that disqualifies any member of the City Council from serving if they no longer live in the district they were elected to represent).

So this got me thinking. Shreveport doesn’t need any more elected officials who are “Republican enough” or “Democrat enough” or “whatever party enough.” We’ve been there, done that. Instead, we need elected officials who are competent enough. Smart enough. Courageous enough. Color-blind enough. Those who will work hard enough and are persistent enough to turn this community around.

Leaders who are trustworthy enough, transparent enough and committed enough to serve for the people – not for the power. And common-sense enough to understand the difference.

Regrettably, Flurry’s comments are emblematic of those elected officials who keep our community chained to the past and divided. Too many, like Flurry, mistakenly believe the color of a politician’s skin is more important than the content of their character.

Are there times to “throw in the towel,” as Flurry did? Sure, and there may have been undisclosed personal reasons for his quitting (which should be respected). But he didn’t have to slam the door on the way out by reading off the same, tired script that has divided our city for years to excuse his quitting somehow.

George Washington once wrote, “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

And for most of his constituents, that would have been good “enough” for them.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a 0former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.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

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