“Thank god for Mississippi” is a sigh expressed by other states when they are endanger of being ranked last on a poll. Because when it comes to progress, health, and all around human flourishing, it appears that Mississippi is there to rescue other states from the embarrassment of being last. Like Ant-man saves other superheroes the shame of being the least useful.
“Pedestrian!!!!! My greatest foe!!!”
Thinking of good things coming out of Mississippi is like trying to find encouraging words for your cousins meth-lab business. Sure he’s paranoid and decaying shadows of himself, but you know what?! He’s family and we’re going to stick by him through it all!! It’s all about perspective. In the movie 300, history’s greatest group of xenophobic slave driving assholes were rebranded as the freedom fighters of ancient times. So in an attempt to put lip stick on a pig, let’s talk about what you will be missing if you don’t visit the land of the mighty River…
Mississippis is Ridiculously Proud of its History
Mississippi, being in the south and full of cotton plantations, was heavily involved in slavery. When abolitionists in the northern states were gaining momentum in ending slavery in the United States, you better believe that Mississippi was not going to sit idly while the Federal government oppresses their individual right to, uh … oppress individual rights!! Mississippi was among the first states to secede from the Union in 1861 and wrote the Declaration of Mississippi which leaves little guessing as to what they were fighting about.
“[O]ur position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery–the greatest material interest of the world”. -Declaration of Mississippi seceding from the Union.
I get the sense that this guy would disagree…but what would he know about it?
Seeing that I’m not plowing in the fields against my will right now, you don’t have to investigate too deeply to figure out how Mississippi and the Confederacy lost the civil war and the “greatest material interest of the world” was thankfully lost. The 13th amendment ending Slavery in the US on 1865 was expeditiously ratified by Mississippi legislature in 2013? 148 goddamn years later!!! People could travel through time from 1865, see the emergence of the Ford Model T, Air travel, and Space travel and you would still have to wait another half a century before Mississippi officially bans slavery.
“What the hell do you mean ‘we can’t fly over Mississippi’ ?
Mississippi’s Flag is the last state to have the confederate emblem on it. In 2003 their was a progressive push to change this symbol because some thought that it represented a time when people called slavery ” the greatest material good” and some thought this was embarrassment. At the time Georgia and Mississippi were the only two states left with the confederate banner on their state flag? Georgia decided it would be best to leave that banner to the past and country music. Mississippi said “no thanks we like that symbol just fine.”
Mississippi, like a 15 year old 4th grader, you just refuse to learn.
Mississippi Stands Unopposed Against Tyranny…and Good Health
In 2013 our favorite state passes the Anti-Bloomberg Bill. This bill was to ensure that federal regulations cannot pass any laws that would encroach on a person’s right to eat as big of a serving size of fries as they desired and a soft drink as big as a Russian Tsar’s hot tub, which is as big as that person’s heart would allow (literally). The bill was named after Mayor Bloomberg of New York, who passed an act which made it illegal for restaurants to serve sodas in servings larger than 16 oz.
Placing a ban on serving size is ridiculous in and of itself and bordering fascism however, placing a bill to preemptively stop any such bans in your state seems a little bit paranoid. Like during a family reunion when a certain meth addicted cousin blurts out
” Everyone I’m doing great! I know I’ve lost a little weight and this rash on my forehead is looking like “leprosy-ish” , but I assure you I have everything under control! I would appreciate it if we would not broach my recreational activities any further this evening.”
This appearance of paranoia of being regulated is however well grounded when observing the health statistics of Mississippi.
-Most obese state… check
-High rate of heart disease…check.
-High rate of diabetes…check
Well I guess if you are a legislator in Mississippi and you inspect these numbers, your thoughts lean towards “Well even though, virtually no one at the Federal level is suggesting passing restriction on serving sizes, we must use our limited time and resources to safeguard the people’s choice to eat as much as they want, even in the face of more pressing matters such as mounting obesity related illnesses and rising health care costs. This is about Freedom! ”
” I cannot tell a lie. That is the greatest feat of ‘freedom’ I have seen since inviting Benjamin Franklin over for dinner“
Kudos to them for being such crusaders for personal freedom. Speaking of crusades…
Mississippi is Faithful
Mississippi has come up as the most faithful state among several public opinion polls such as Gallup. This faithfulness is by a large proportion in the Southern Baptist Christian denomination. Far be it from me to criticize someone’s religious worldview ( at least not in this article) and the liberty to believe in Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury, Superman etc. is the same liberty that allows one not to believe in any of these.
“Ladies, Gentlemen. Pardon me but I believe this is my rightful place. After all, I’m just as powerful and I teach moral lessons. And I have no insecurities about admitting I’m FICTIONAL“
This is good as long as when belief does not infringe on anyone else’s freedom. Unfortunately, if you have noticed the tone of this article you can safely assume that the Southern Baptist faithfulness of Mississippi is far from benign towards people’s personal freedom. Exhibiting classic symptoms of Fundamentalist Christian obsession towards what people do with their privates, there has been tireless obstruction of gay marriage and women’s reproductive rights.
Mississippi’s arm was twisted into legalizing same sex activity in 2003 when anti- sodomy laws were deemed unconstitutional. In Mississippi’s defense it’s not going down easy. Several states have accepted same sex marriage and honoring marriages made by other state. But our great state has taken every measure it can to define what a relationship between two people should be, that is to be between a man and woman. Mississippi’s standing ban on gay marriage has been challenged as unconstitutional by a circuit judge in 2014. The great Magnolia State has since been taking every measure to stop and slow the progress. Polls do show that Mississippi’s population is starting to become open to the idea of same sex marriage with past polls showing 80% against gay marriage, to today being lowered to 58%.
Such optimism is not there for a woman’s right to choose. Mississippi has done its obstructionist’s best to limit women’s clinics in the great state. Currently there is only one women’s clinic left in the state. Like a heroic badass in the end of zombie movie, Jackson, Mississippi’s Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) is the last abortion clinic in Mississippi barely staying ahead of the hoard with restrictive legislatures and protesters who regularly picket in front of the clinic. Mississippi is among the most restrictive states when it comes to what women decide to do with their uterus. One glance at protestor’s signs that mob the clinic with hopes to shut it down, it’s apparent that Christianity is a driving force.
From their view point a woman deciding to end pregnancy in the early stage is equivalent to murdering an infant with an ax except in certain specific situations, such as rape or incest. This thought process is so pervasive that no state funding or public insurance will be offered to a woman unless she is a victim of rape or incest. At first glance this may seem fair enough, at least the women who were raped or forced into incest won’t have to bear children against their will, but if we are operating under the assumption that life starts at conception then are they not still sanctioning the obliteration of an innocent person?
JWHO was almost closed in 2014 when legislation was placed that would make the doctors, whom are flown from out of state to perform the operations, would be required to have privileged admission (i.e. the ability to admit patients to other local hospitals). To date, no doctor from JWHO has been able to obtain this permission from local hospitals because of the same reason that JWHO has to fly most of its medical staff from out of state. Community focus is so heavily against the right to choose that providing admission privileges would result in hospitals receiving unpleasant public pressure.
Roe vs. Wade states that a woman’s right to choose is a conversation between her and her physician, not a woman and her neighbors, or the state or pastor, or her Oracle. Her womb is not public property for deliberation by committee. But at least with such a strong Christian Foundation they must be providing the most appropriate guidance toward unwanted pregnancy to the youth…
Mississippi has Highest Teen Pregnancy Rate
Dayum!!! The universe says NOPE! Mississippi has a history of teaching abstinence rather than comprehensive sexual education. If you don’t remember what comprehensive sexual education is allow me to refresh your memory. It is the classes that taught you how to put a condom on a banana and other birth control strategies. Even if you were snickering in your seats, you were exposed to the knowledge of these safer sex practices that when it came down to performing the deed ( for teenage me it was , never) you had the knowledge of it. Mississippi side steps this and tells teenagers to just keep it in their pants. You know teenagers right?! These are people that are less homo sapiens and more hormone-sapiens ( minus the sapiens).
“Darwin never mentioned this missing link“
The CDC sheds clear light on how good Mississippi is at severely beating other states in producing pregnant teens. Mississippi teen pregnancy rate is 60% higher than the national average. Not only does teen pregnancy correlate with socioeconomic issues such as dropping out of school, increased crime and unemployment, it is also a health risk for a maturing body resulting in, high rates of premature birth, low birth weight, and even death of the mother. To have this at the magnitude of 60% higher than national average is a serious matter. That level of seriousness is flirting with a state of emergency.
What is this Great states response to this looming Axe pendulum?
Well. I shit you not…They pass a House Bill that would allow the state to take and archive DNA from the umbilical cord any teen mother who is under the age of 16 if they can not give the name of the father. According to Mississippian legislators this middle finger to the 4th amendment is supposed to reduce teen pregnancy… somehow. The bill ascribes automatic probable cause of statutory rape or sexual abuse if the teen mom does not identify a father by name or even if she states that the father is dead. DNA will be collected from the umbilical cord in order to help narrow down the paternity of the child. No word on how they will obtain DNA from any alleged father considering that in the scenarios where this bill is activated, no living alleged father is identified. Supporters of this legal minefield say that “a man who has sex with a minor child should not be protected under the 4th amendment”. Notice this kind of statement says nothing about the rights of the baby and the teen mother. Through the provision of this bill, their DNA would be extracted and archived in a facility in what I imagine is not unlike the human storage units from the matrix. Their are concerns that this bill will force some young teens to not seek medical services during their pregnancies for fear of the legal and social pitfalls this law can add to their situation. Great job!
Their is a silver lining. Mississippi does appear to be allowing school’s to decide whether they can teach abstinence only curriculum or abstinence plus. Abstinence plus would allow for a school to teach abstinence but also any other researched based methods for safer sex. With names like abstinence plus, the state may have found the spoonful of sugar to help the comprehensive sex education go down. Currently it looks like abstinence only sex education to a teenager is not unlike telling a hazardous material specialist to hold his breath from the toxic fumes rather than wear the protective breathing equipment.
Mississippi Has an Obscene Amount of Room for Improvement
Mississippi is the poorest state according to the census bureau and at the very bottom of the American Index of Human Development. This is especially daunting when considering that Mississippi was one of the wealthiest states before the U.S Civil War. During the antebellum period, this state was raking in the cash from its booming cotton trade and didn’t even have to pay labor (wink, wink). But slavery was abolished and the sate was slow to get over the loss of its “greatest material resource”. Instead of investing in state progressive infrastructure like roads and public schooling, the great state took up alternative endeavors in implementing societal programs such as sharecropping and segregation in an effort to recapture the magic of those slavery days.
There is a ray of hope within this dark comedy. This state has many social woes. I named 4 of these issues that jump out at me in this shoddy hit piece but it is important to note that for each of these woes, there are people actively trying to pull the state in to the 21st century. It was 2 Mississippi university professors who pushed for the official ratification of the 13th amendment. Although the great state implemented a law that defends a person’s right to consume as much fat and sugar as he wants, their does seem to be a focus towards developing policies that can help improve the obesity issue. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is still standing only because of the efforts of those who still believe in women’s rights. There are many philanthropic programs that have their focus on providing relief and aide to this once great state. Perhaps one day this state will be a beacon of achievement and progress that we can all look to and the term ” Thank god for Mississippi” will be used on par with “Thank god for Superman”.