Really? Seriously? Is this real life? Questions like these have popped up in many of the conversations I have had over the course of the last couple of months in discussing the recent political situation in Mississippi.
Many of you know that I have a keen interest and fascination with everything political. The patriotic calls to rally behind a leader, the embarrassing sex scandals, and quite honestly events like the train wreck unfolding in Mississippi politics captivate many Americans. For some of us, we feed off it like elderly women live to find out what Victor is going to do next on “Days of Our Lives.” While I have taken a small leave of absence from politics I still tune in when I can reading the New York Times, watching CNN, or checking Aljazeera’s website. And no that does not make you a terrorist.
This past Thursday I tuned in to MSNBC’s website where low and behold I see the image of Chris McDaniel sitting atop this nice little caption “Event for Mississippi Republican Chris McDaniel devolves into shouting match.” I said to myself, “Really? Is this real life?” For many, it’s exciting to see Mississippi broadcast on national news. Reality check! We haven’t made the national newscast/commentary shows in a good light in quite a long time. While there are amazing things happening in Mississippi, shouting matches that are occurring in a grocery store near you about how conservative our elected officials should be, are not one of them.
Let me be frank. I do not need conservatism. I do not need liberalism. I need common sense, compassion and a challenge to the status quo.
Mississippians need to realize that persons touting themselves under the blinding veil of radical right or left wing politics are not producing quality policy (the stuff that affects blue collar Americans the most). Instead we are backing candidates who are pushing rhetoric and positioning this state and nation in a direction to divisiveness.
This path will not last. It’s not that it cannot last. The fact of the matter is that I and my generation will not allow it to last. So many young adults have already contributed to the dismantling of the old guard mentality. Whether it be in the social makeup of our society or the decency that we have towards people with opposing views; we are carving out a more open and forward thinking society.
For anyone to say in the year 2014 that the U.S. or Mississippi Department of Education should be done away with is plain wrong! Just like it is equitable to say that Europe should not still be dividing up the spoils of WWII (i.e. Russian’s invasion of Ukraine was wrong.).
In response to some of our more radical candidate’s claim that the DOE should be done away with I have this: Government is not always the answer, simply stated, is a truth that many I feel can agree to. On the flip side, there are public goods that we value that under any other circumstances, financial and otherwise, would not be possible without government entities. Though we criticize our government bureaucracies, curse them when we are on hold and always have a better way of fixing the problem than what was offered, we must realize that government is a collection of human beings; human beings who are flawed. So in realizing that we are not masters of the universe let us not promote ignorance, plain stupidity, or savage behavior but instead rally behind my belief that people for the most part try to do right by other people whether they work for the government or not.
While not many of my age group have entered politics yet, we have taken an active interest in living in a society that does not:
1) Compartmentalize people into caste systems
2) Deny people the true “pursuit of happiness,”
3) Conduce an environment where it is okay to stand in the shaming shadows’ of silent majorities.
We are the next Great Generation. Not because we necessarily wanted to be since we were born, but because we will answer the call for leadership.
And my friends radicalism is not leadership. It is simply an effort to facilitate fear and deny the fruition of the American Spirit.
Zack Huffman is a Chickasaw County native, former Houston School Board Trustee and currently a member of teach For America Corp 2013. He can be contacted through the Chickasaw Journal at firstname.lastname@example.org.