By Mark Rogers
Earlier this week on the campaign trail…
“You ain’t black Mr. Rogers, and you ain’t never gonna know.”
I was drinking Big Red, eating chicken tenders, and talking to a man named Abe in a tire shop on MLK.
“You ain’t black and you don’t know what it’s like to hear authority refer to the people in your neighborhood as animals. And assume anyone white here is buying drugs. They call it a high crime neighborhood, but they don’t do anything. You just don’t know. I bet it ain’t like that in your neighborhood.”
He is right. I don’t know. So I stood there, just not knowing….
And when I don’t know, sometimes I get uncomfortable, and I get real quiet, because I don’t want to say something stupid.
Then a couple of cars pulled up. A fellow got out of one, saw me, did a double-take, and then yelled, “Hey you’re Mr. Rogers, right?” (This usually indicates a former client, and it happens to me a lot.)
“You were my lawyer on my first charge, and got me off! That was a long time ago, and I ain’t been in trouble since! Hey everybody, this guy is an awesome lawyer! What are you doing now?”
“I’m running for DA.”
“Awesome! I wanna help! Give me a sign!”
And as I put my Big Red and tenders down to go get yard signs and cards for everybody, I looked at Abe, and I think we both knew. Some people hurt, some people help, it’s in the soul, not the skin. People who help, inspire others to help. We will never know what it is like to live in another person’s shoes, but if we take the time to walk and talk a mile together, we can respect the wear and tear on those shoes. If we just listen we can help.
Being on the campaign trail has sure taught me a lot about wear and tear in Caddo Parish and the folks who live here. It’s better to walk and get to know people and what they really are concerned about how their DA can serve them and their community than it is to run.
I believe in Mutual Respect Between All Citizens and the Limited Power Granted to Govern. Always have.