It sure seems as if some politicians don’t have a sense of propriety – or even of absurdity.
Take the newest case, of New Orleans Mayor (D) LaToya Cantrell. As Joseph Michalitsianos reports for the Daily Mail:
“LaToya Cantrell, the controversial Democratic mayor of New Orleans, repaid the city nearly $29,000 she wrongfully used in city cash for first class flights after justifying it by saying economy class is unsafe for black women.”
This new report comes months after Cantrell had at first refused to cough up the cash, fueling public outrage and more than a little mockery for claiming she had to plunk down tens of thousands in tax dollars for first-class tickers because flying as a black woman was a security risk.
Now, imagine if a white politician had said the equivalent of that, but in favor of her own use of “first class.”
Cantrell got her back up, and tried to resist calls for her to pay-up. Writes Michalitsianos:
“The mayor paid for the flights after she spent more than $40,000 on a four-day trip in June to France, with her own first-class flight costing almost $18,000 - but her aides traveled in economy.
'My travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury,' Cantrell, who reportedly earns approximately $188,000, said at a press conference.”
And who could fault her? After the city was in lockdown for nearly two years, a resident can get antsy, and want to fly to France.
Oh, that’s right. Cantrell was the force behind the lockdowns in New Orleans.
And she’s also been embroiled in controversy over accusations of her living rent-free in a city-owned apartment.
So, was it dangerous for a black woman to live in her own home? Is it okay to pull the proverbial “race card” for that, too?
And, by the way, how is it okay for city employees to jet to France on the taxpayer dime – and not have to reimburse the taxpayers – but that “First Class” level is just a “bridge too far”?
It’s alright to ride on the backs of taxpayers, but only if you’re not really, extra comfy while doing it?
Adds Michalitsianos, the Mayor said:
“’As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be. Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn't understand the world black women walk in.'
But councilmembers didn't buy these excuses and had threatened to dock her pay in the 2023 budget to recover the funds.
'I'm glad that we can put this behind us,' Council President Helena Moreno said.”
But is it “behind” everyone?
Or does the problem remain – the deep problem of politicians assuming for others how they value their toil, assuming for others that they must hand it to their agents of the state or else go to jail. And does one overlook that fundamental immorality and elitism when debating an arbitrary distinction that the government creates for ITSELF regarding what its agents can skim from people, and what its agents cannot?
It is no more morally acceptable to take money from people for a bicycle ride to the French Quarter for a beignet than it is to take cash to sample French cuisine in Paris, regardless of the “kind of plane fare” obtained by bleeding the taxpayer.
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