I need you. I need you, Baton Rouge resident who is actually allowed to vote. I need you, voter who might be feeling paralyzed by competing mailers and cherry picked data. I need you to help me and help my family. I need you to vote no on breaking away from Baton Rouge. I am asking you, Louisianian to Louisianian, let’s not do this.
I love this city. I have ever since I went to LSU. I love how quirky it is. I love how much we love to eat. I love how we shut down for football games. I love how we came together after the great unnamed flood of 2016. I am proud that my son was born here.
But I am also worried. I am worried for me and my family, but I am also worried for you. Every major city marks its strength by how it grows and annexes, not by how it divides. All the data I’ve read says that this breakaway will hurt my child’s school and yours. It will cost both of us more money with no increase in services.
It’s my profession to try and see the best in people. I want to believe the intentions of the St. George organizers are to make better schools. When I look at how carefully and intricately the white lines are drawn, however, I just can’t trust their intent. I’m asking you, my neighbor, to be wise as serpents.
We’ve missed an opportunity here. If this were only about schools, as the organizers say it is, imagine how great our schools would be for all of our students if they had approached more effective school funding campaigns as voraciously as they have pushed for this breakaway.
By law, because of the place I happened to buy a house, I am not allowed to vote on my city’s future. But you are. I see God when I see people coming together to build a better world. I see God when I see people putting the least of these ahead of our own personal wants. I have a hard time seeing God in this breakaway.
I need you. Please don’t leave.
Rev. Nathan Ryan
associate minister, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge