I Have the Right To Remain Silent…But I Lack the Ability

Madelaine Brauner Landry | 2020
Posted in: Memoir Partisan Politics Rural/Urban Divide Working Class Experiences
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In this memoir from Madelaine Brauner Landry, a university instructor and freelance writer in Louisiana, the author discusses her experience with local politics in 2019, running for police juror in largely rural Jefferson Davis Parish. Insightful, funny and often inspiring, the book follows Landry as she knocks on doors and visits with residents throughout the parish. She discussed how she handled skepticism as a woman and non-local (she grew up in New Orleans), as well as disillusionment and cynicism from some potential voters — but she also experienced a great deal of warmth and tapped people’s interest in talking about issues important to them.

With a mix of pragmatism and idealism, Landry gives a compelling account of her foray into local politics and her efforts to connect with people who often felt alienated from the political process. “It’s at the local level where you stand a better chance to draw people out in conversation,” she notes. “It is here you can reduce alienation and honor each voter’s thoughts by active listening. National and international politics get the most press, but local is where you first connect.”