New Orleans The midterm elections in the United States are almost over, but there’s one race still pending. It’s a longshot, but cries out for people of conscience, regardless of their politics, to take a stand and be counted. There’s a cry for help, but it’s unclear how many will hear it.
Mississippi to many is a lost cause. What’s the chance that Mike Espy, an African-American former Congressman from the state and Secretary of Agriculture during the Clinton Administration could be elected in this deep red state facing Cindy Hyde-Smith, the Republican Senator appointed recently to the seat? He managed to make it to the runoff coming up on Tuesday, November 27th, so that’s something, but most wrote him off.
Maybe he still doesn’t have a chance, but recent polls have him only 5% behind with a week left before the election. Maybe it shouldn’t matter?
The race has tightened up because of scandalously racist comment made by his opponent at a rally recently. As the Washington Post describes the situation:
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith stumbled recently when, in praise of a supporter, she spoke of her willingness to sit in the front row of a public hanging if he invited her — words that, in the South, evoked images of lynchings. She has struggled to grapple with the fallout, baffling members of her party and causing even faithful Republicans to consider voting for her opponent, former congressman Mike Espy.
She can’t seem to bring herself to apologize and has spent the time since the remark not making amends, but trying to shore up her support with donors and traditionalists, who are perhaps the people who understood her dog whistle message the best over the threat of an African-American in the US Senate from Mississippi. President Trump certainly heard it loud and clear and is now going to hold two rallies to support her on the eve of the election.
Maybe it’s time for us to step up and go to Mississippi to stand at the front row condemning her comment? Maybe we should get ourselves over to Mississippi, not at a Trump rally, but on the doors talking to people about why their votes matter and the importance of opposing attempts to bring back the old Mississippi.
We might not win, but if you remember Doug Jones being elected in Alabama, despite Trump and an army of opponents, then we also know anything is possible.
Win, lose, or draw, I can remember how people crossed the border to help us defeat David Duke in Louisiana, and that was for Edwin Edwards, who was a harder swallow for many that Mike Espy. Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Alabama are all hugging the borders of Mississippi. It wouldn’t be a long haul to get on the ground.
Nancy Griffith has a famous song, “Come on Up, Mississippi,” asking the state to rise from the bottom. Here’s a chance to sing with her, lend a hand up, and provide some push from the grassroots against the racism of the past.