Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My letter to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

I hope you'll forgive my long hiatus from this blog. I've been on other projects, worn out, and also busy at work. I hope to get things jumping here again.

I'll start with the story about Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana), whose name has appeared on the patrons list of the famous DC madam, and whose name has recently appeared on a New Orleans madam's client list, as well. The New Orleans madam, Jeanette Maier, has stated that Vitter's a great guy, and that she doesn't see extramarital sex as a big deal, and that Vitter should be lauded for staying with his kids. I'm sure the senator is thrilled to have her support.

This prompted me to write to Senator Vitter. Now, while I know that senators seldom write back to those who are not in their constituency (and I can hardly blame them for this,) I'd still be delighted to get a response from the senator. If I do, I'll post it here, you can bet. At any rate, I'd like to share, so here goes:

July 11, 2007

Dear Senator,

I recently read a quote from your 2004 campaign that "We need a U.S. senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts' values." Having spent my life deploring regionalist antagonism, whether it's toward my region or toward another region, I want to say that comments like this hurt, and remind me that although you serve in the same Senate that my senators serve in, you aren't working for the whole country, but rather you're working to favor your state over all others while working to cut my state out of any benefits its membership in the U.S. Congress might render it. You hate me because of where I live, in other words, so you'll understand why I don't feel particularly warm toward you.

We've started off on the wrong foot, I realize. But despite your hatred for what my state is about and what we stand for, I still want to understand you. What do you mean by "Massachusetts values"? Do you mean tolerance, a fair tax structure, the sanctity of marriage? I'm particularly pleased with Massachusetts' attitude toward marriage; we have the lowest divorce rate in the entire country! I'm getting married next year, too, so I hope to help to keep that number high! Believe me: this is something I value!

Marriage is apparently viewed differently in Louisiana. I realize your marriage is still intact, which is wonderful, but I don't see how Wendy is able to tolerate the Louisiana value of frequenting brothels. My fiancée would walk out on me if I ever did that--or worse! Why is this part of Louisiana values? Is it just that you passionate men need your outlets when one's love life at home gets a little too... routine, maybe? In Massachusetts, brothels are not part of our "values," generally speaking, though I don't condemn whatever arrangements a particular couple might make. If Wendy's cool with your extramarital activities, then that's great. It's just that it strikes me as odd that your state, as conservative as it is, would rank brothels as part of your "values."

But I guess you're not an anthropologist, are you, Senator? Regardless, if you could offer me some insight into the Louisianan predilection toward brothels, I'd much appreciate it. There might even be a book in this, sort of a companion volume to "Earls of Louisiana," you know? Just a thought. It might be interesting to read such a book. Heck, I'd be willing to research and write it, but I've got another one of those Massachusetts values standing in the way--"holding down a job!"

Do you plan to keep working after 2010, Senator? Just wondering.

I'd just like to add that despite your harsh words, I still don't have anything against your state. And I'll confess: I actually prefer gumbo to clam chowder (though I'll still take baked beans over ratatouille.) See? There's hope that we can come together, somehow. I get the feeling that there must be some Louisianans who agree with me on this. Maybe that nice Bobby Jindal fellow, perhaps? Does he go to brothels, too? Just curious. This value of yours fascinates me!

Regards,
Kurt Kaletka
Watertown, Massachusetts
(and yes, that's the USA)

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4 Comments:

At Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 4:40:00 PM EDT, Blogger Targa said...

Deja vu. I've seen this somewhere before.

heh... I corrected the misspelling.

 
At Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 1:03:00 PM EDT, Blogger droudy said...

I posted this comment on Targa's Tirade, and I'll post it here too.

I too am a Louisianian, and David Vitter DOES NOT speak for me, with his petty rhetoric about "values."

As a Louisianian, I apologize if our "distinguished gentleman" insulted you and the folks from Massachusetts. I believe at the time he made that quote, he was making a non-point about same-sex marriage being the end of civilization. Not all of us are as dogmatically conservative as this, even though the state showed bright red in national elections. There still is a large liberal contingent here, and we need hypcrites like him to go NOW. As for Bobby Jindal, he too is in line with the Vitter camp in that they both have been good conservative boys and did as they were told by the Repugs that own them, so don't expect much from Bobs either.

Best part is, if Mr. Vitter were a man of values and faith, as he claims to be, he would see a wonderful opportunity here to admit he's no different from anyone else, and that would make a bridge for everyone to work better together to get things done. Sadly, and typically, with conservatives, when they err, it's someone else's fault for noticing and mentioning instead of theirs for actually doing.

And, precisely because Mr. Vitter is so smug in his self-righteous stance as being a values man, this ISN'T a frivolous issue and speaks a lot about him and how absolute power corrupts absolutely, another point he smugly imagined himself immune to.

More evidence that Vitter doesn't speak for Louisiana:

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/current/politics.php

 
At Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 12:03:00 PM EDT, Blogger Kurt Kaletka said...

droudy,

I guess my point is more about Senator Vitter's crass, divisive rhetoric than about what Louisiana really is about. The fact that he got elected by asserting that the people of your state are somehow morally superior to those of certain other states (namely mine, in this case,) forces us to conclude that Vitter thinks the rest of Louisiana is just as "moral" as he himself is. I can't say I ever suspected that visiting brothels was a part of daily life in the Bayou State. It's just that if Mr. Vitter is going to make the primary point of his election that he represents "Louisiana values," then he owes all of us—Louisianans in particular—an explanation of his personal behavior. Any prominent citizen who purports to speak for a state needs to justify all his actions to the citizens of that state.

Personally, I don't care if my elected officials spend their free time in brothels or gyms or with their stamp collections or whatever. But if Vitter (and anyone else) is going to use moral turpitude as an election issue, then by jingo, I'm not going to cut him any slack when he deviates from his own publicly-declared standards.

 
At Friday, July 20, 2007 at 10:51:00 AM EDT, Blogger droudy said...

Kurt,
No, trust me, I hear you. Your point was more targeted against Vitter than against us as a whole, so I understand and agree.

Vitter got himself elected by being something of a whiny tattle-tale of anybody he saw as morally or ethically suspect in his book, which, unfortunately, pegs quite a number of politicians in Louisiana.

Corruption here is an artform and too integral a part of the grain of our corner of society for anybody here to be so brutally judgmental. We by and large don't claim to be anything but human, but people like Vitter make themselves into some kind of demigods because (and this is critical) the people who trust and believe in them (read: his tiny cluster of supporters here) really put a store into their officials being demigods instead of the faultful mortal men they really are. So they play up to that and their foolish constituency is pleased. It's all for show, show in front of a few narrow-minded people who think appearance is more important than substance. What's worse, these few folks really believe in their own lies, and expect the rest of us to as well.

Furthermore, the word "value" is a vapid term the Repugs handle with such reverence, yet they don't realize how vague and lifeless a term it is unless it's qualified with real action. They also seem to look for ways to distinguish themselves as upper-cut while depicting the rest of us as slithering in the mud as only our neural ganglia allow us, and they think some pompous and condescending terminology will grant their neural ganglia immunity from slithering with the rest of us. That's what gives the entire sordid episode with Vitter such justice; he's so human like the rest and he can't disprove it or slither away. I digress..

He does owe us all an explanation, one better than the sob story that once upon a time Jimmy Swaggart trotted out, and above all, an admission before God, Congress, and the American People that he is no better than Bill Clinton or anybody else. Further, from that point, he needs to, in his reclaimed human state, work for the betterment of all of us, not just those few he panders to each election day or those he follows after like a well-trained puppy on the Hill.

That's what would satisfy me, as a Liberal Louisianian. Other than that, it's business as usual and he has to go and now.

I like the letter and your blog. Hope you keep bringing the message to us and fighting the good fight for awhile. Peace.

 

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