The man who may become Baton Rouge’s next mayor claims he will bring the people of the city together by breaking it up into smaller, self-governing areas to help minimize interaction between people with different interests and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Republican state Sen. Bodi White — who earlier this month made the runoff against Democratic former state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome — insists that, if elected mayor, he will unify Baton Rouge by granting autonomy to dozens of distinct communities that currently make up Louisiana’s second-most-populous city.
Considered by many to be the architect of the failed St. George incorporation effort, which was started in order to form a separate school district, White says he believes the best way to bring people in Baton Rouge together is to let people be “among their own kind” and allow them to govern themselves in a hyperlocal fashion.
“Yugoslavia was a communist nation that forced all those people, many of whom didn’t particularly care for each other’s company, to live together and share a common identity. Well, I sure as hell ain’t no commie.”
“Baton Rouge is a very diverse city, which is why it should be split up into a bunch of much smaller, much more homogeneous cities,” White explained. “The people in Mid City are different and have different interests from the people in Scotlandville. Same goes for the residents of Sherwood Forest and Old South Baton Rouge. Making them share a city only creates strife and resentment.”
White cited communist oppression of various mutually hostile ethnic groups during the Cold War to justify his plan to Balkanize Baton Rouge.
“Yugoslavia was a communist nation that forced all those people, many of whom didn’t particularly care for each other’s company, to live together and share a common identity,” White said. “Well, I sure as hell ain’t no commie, and anyone who makes Baton Rouge’s myriad communities do the same is no better than a godless communist.”
The four-term legislator also quoted fictional characters from a Joel and Ethan Coen film to bolster his argument.
“It’s just like the religious leaders in that movie Hail, Caesar! said about the Holy Trinity,” White maintained. “‘There’s unity in division, and division in unity.’ Now, if separate but equal is good enough for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, I say it’s good enough for Baton Rouge.”