I lived in Mississippi for seven years and in Virginia for the past twenty. Yet, I feel I know and understand Mississippi better than I do Virginia.
I felt I was in touch with more people across the state than I am in Virginia. Mississippi is a small state and that means the newspaper community is also small. I was self-syndicating my cartoons to Mississippi newspapers during that time and I got to know editors, publishers, and reporters from Tupelo to Biloxi and everywhere in between. The community was so small, that meeting statewide elected officials and knowing them on a first-name basis wasn’t a big deal. If you bragged that you talked to Trent Lott, other people in the profession would be like, “when don’t I talk to Trent Lott?” He was everywhere.
Virginia is a much larger state and there are suburbs and cities. Mississippi has small cities and basically no suburbs. The counties that are home to the larger cities of Tupelo, Biloxi, Gulfport, and the suburbs of Memphis all went to Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. The largest county in the state, Hinds, went to Democrat Mike Espy. At the end of the night, there were still about 60 precincts in Hinds that hadn’t reported, but the 70,000 votes Espy needed to overcome Hyde-Smith weren’t there. In Virginia, those larger areas would have gone blue and if 70,000 votes from a large city were still out and needed for a Democrat to win, that Democrat would get it.
It didn’t surprise me that white voters heard Hyde-Smith joke about lynching and voter suppression and learned that she attended and also sent her daughter to “segregation” academies, and still voted for her. What is a little puzzling is why any black person would vote for her.
Charles Evers is one such person. Mr. Evers brother was a civil rights leader who was gunned down in his driveway by Byron De La Beckwith in 1963, and it took three trials to finally convict him. Yet, Mr. Evers is a Republican who voted for Cindy Hyde-Smith. His biggest issue with Mike Espy was that he believed he wouldn’t work with Donald Trump. It’s mind-boggling that Mr. Evers would want to send someone to Washington to work with racist Donald Trump.
John Mosely, an African-American Republican who ran for mayor of Moss Point in 2017 said about Hyde-Smith’s comments, “I just choose to look at it as a possible mistake and chalk it up to that, and I haven’t given it much thought afterward.” That right there is a great example that whether you’re black or white, Republicans don’t give much thought to things they should think about.
Rev. Charles McKinney of Moss Point is a black Republican who, along with his two sons, was among the few African-Americans at Trump’s Biloxi rally Monday. He said, “It’s an insult to Mississippi for people to say we’ve had a racist public figure that has served so long and we didn’t know she was a racist.” I agree. It is insulting he didn’t know she was a racist before this election. It’s also a tad ambiguous that he still doesn’t know it.
People are not monoliths and no one should be scorched for which party they belong to or vote for. But, I do think it’s fair to criticize people for voting against their best interests. Donald Trump is a racist. It’s not a secret and you have to be willfully ignorant to ignore his racism. Voting for a racist who will help a racist create racist policies isn’t a smart thing to do for a white person, let alone if you’re a minority. But then again, I’m still trying to figure out why a majority of white women voted for Trump.
It’s not a surprise that Mississippi really hasn’t changed that much since 1963. What are surprising are the cows who want you to eat more cows.
Creative note: I have to give a shout-out to my friend R. Bruce. Mr. Bruce is a friend of mine who plays music professionally, used to live in my town, and is a friend of mine. Now, he lives in Australia taking lots of bird pictures and trying not to get eaten by a crocodile. He made a comment yesterday on a post of mine comparing black Republicans with Jews for Jesus, and Vegans for McDonald’s. I replied with the cow analogy. Right after I made the post, I thought the cow thing would make for a funny cartoon. A minute later, Bruce made a comment that I should draw it before some lurker colleague on my Facebook page stole it from me. Thanks, Bruce for triggering this idea, which is probably going to get me in trouble.
I already heard from a colleague, who often gets in trouble, that I’m going to get in trouble.
Watch me draw.