I love Mississippi and being from Mississippi. I love the work I and those around me and many of you do daily to help our state reach its full potential and become equitable and inviting for all our people. I have honestly never lived a more vibrant, engaged, colorful, fast-paced or exciting life amid more determined people anywhere than I have since I returned to Mississippi in 2001.
But damn, our elections are demoralizing.
I don’t actually mean that the gut punch is necessarily who wins the elections—although, sure, that happens—I’m talking about the process. The worst part is the mindless mud-slinging back and forth, much of it exaggerated or outright false. I’m thinking of candidates across parties playing to the worst possible instincts and bigotries in Mississippi, no matter who it damages, or causes to hurt themselves, or to leave and take their potential with them as soon as they’re old enough.
I’m talking about the expectation that whole blocks of people—even big-population groups like women—will put basic life-and-death concerns aside and play along with the least offensive candidate who might be able to convince the Legislature to do something different, but probably not.
Political division was left to the side in MFP-YMP Solutions Circles at New Horizon Church in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 9, 2023. The circles are meant to be a beginning of shared people-led civil discourse and solutions across Mississippi.
I’m talking about fearful candidates who can’t handle even open bigots criticizing them. I’m talking about the utter lack of meaningful conversation during election season, which I dubbed “silly season” here. My disdain for Mississippi race-to-the-bottom politics built while watching useless campaign after campaign not move a single damn needle or attract more votes than the last white man who did it, with insipid dog, truck and gun ads being their big closers as Election Day neared.
Not to mention, even journalists twist themselves into pretzels to shine their best possible light on their candidate of choice rather than fact-checking no matter where the chips fall. They even softball political embraces of bigotry or waving off
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