Clear & Concise: Mississippi’s Problems

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by…

I hate Robert Frost.

That’s not true. I like Robert Frost quite a lot, and he’s a fantastic poet. I hate the effects that Robert Frost had on poetry, as I think a generation of people who grew up knowing nothing more about poetry than “Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe” did a great deal of damage to poetry as a whole, and that’s obviously not Frost’s fault. I would love for American students to have to spend a decade studying the Romantics, because that was some of the best poetry in human history. But that’s actually not what I want to talk about. Just a completely unrelated prologue, in fact.

I began to drop the hints to my colleague today that I am taking steps to move, but it was only something I weakly alluded to. When I left last year, he was the last person to find out. He won’t be the last person to learn of it this time, but I’m still not going to tell him until I’m much closer to the funding goal. That’s a link to the GoFundMe campaign, which you are free to share or donate to, to help me change my life for the better forever.

At any rate, I simply made it a point to bring up Mississippi’s latest piece of bullshit legislation, and my observation that the state is taking babysteps toward theocracy. But just a little while ago a friend shared something on Facebook that I found really interesting.

Diabetes rates across the U.S.

Diabetes rates across the U.S.

But we’re just getting started. Of course, I’ve already shared this one that drags in religion–particularly southern baptists–as well.

religionkeyOf course, poverty is worse here:

We're the blue one. The ONLY blue one.

We’re the blue one. The ONLY blue one.

It’s really hard to put into perspective how much Mississippi truly freaking sucks. Teen pregnancy? Yep, we’re full up on that, too. Might have something to do with the fact that our schools only teach abstinence for sex ed.

Sigh.

Sigh.

Of course, we also have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country–and I’m a statistic on one of those, because I didn’t graduate high school. I instead earned my GED and later went to college. Still. Interesting, Nevada is just as bad as Mississippi in this respect.

Slide4Oh, good. We also have gonorrhea.

ghonnoreaThe short version is that this place sucks.

It sucks even more than I thought it sucked, and I’ve always known that it sucks really bad. It’s not hard to look outside my window and see the boards on buildings, the empty, crack and grass-filled parking lots. Hell, even our banks close up and get out of dodge.

That building in the foreground used to be a bank.

That building in the foreground used to be a bank.

On a given day, I don’t notice on this. And I’ve never had an encounter with gonorrhea, so I’d never notice that anyway. But on any given day, I just see the overabundance of churches. That’s the only real evidence that, just below the surface, this state is sick as hell–horrendously sick, on the verge of catastrophic illness. Beneath the dazzling veneer of the holy churches is a society of petty, petulant, and bitter people, convinced that their problems are caused by:

  • The Muslims.
  • Icky brown people.
  • Them dang Spics done took ‘er jobs!
  • It’s them dang ‘um queers o’er thar that’s the problem.
  • Them boys wanna dress lock girls, what’d’ey ‘xpect was gun happen?
  • Obama’s gonna take our gerns!

And I know I’m sounding like the Liberal Redneck here, and I can appreciate the irony of that, but there’s a few important points to consider:

  1. He made his statements about specific people, specific individuals.
  2. I’ve frequently said this isn’t true of all of them.

Yet… with Mississippi’s Anti-Gay legislation on top of their latest “put God back in school!” legislation, with the fact that…

These people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)...

these people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)…

It’s certainly true of a majority of them.

They’re looking for someone to blame, and Trump didn’t tell them to blame Mexicans and gays. I know Trump likes to credit himself for bringing immigration up to the surface, but who is he kidding? Immigration never really stopped being a large issue anywhere in the world. That we in the U.S. went a few months without talking about doesn’t mean that Trump created the issue. These people–not all the people here, but the majority to which I’m referring–have always said that Mexicans, gays, black people, etc. were the problem.

My mistake was in thinking that the moderates had more sway than they actually do. Clearly, the moderates are powerless here. Our state legislature has proven itself firmly in the grips of religious zealots, and our Governor has proven himself firmly on their side. Rather than veto this horrific legislation, Phil Bryant proudly signs it into law. I spoke in the podcast last night about how this state has lost its mind. But it’s not like Mississippi ever had very far to go to lose its mind. The only thing that has really changed is that the moderates and reasonable people have been swept aside, and the religious extremists have taken over.

There are dark days ahead for Mississippi, and I’m not referring to my suspicion that secession and civil war are inevitable. I mean only that Mississippi has made it clear: Mississippi is committed to pursuing this path of Christian theocracy, where the moral proclamations of a single religion dictate the law. If I hadn’t decided Saturday that it was truly time to leave, then I would be making that decision now. Mississippi already has among the lowest Average Incomes in the country:

I was unable to find one that didn't specifically apply to millennials.

I was unable to find one that didn’t specifically apply to millennials.

When you add in the gonorrhea, the high school dropouts, the teen pregnancy, the high religious rates, the diabetes, and all the other shit, you have a place that is held together only by its religion. So it should be no surprise that Mississippi–which, I think we can all agree, is objectively the worst state in the United States–also has the highest rates of religiosity. What else do these people have, except their hope that they will have a better life in the next world?

Mississippi sucks, and I’m trying to leave it. Unfortunately, most of the problems affecting the statistics above also affect me (except, again, the gonorrhea one :D), and it’s largely irrelevant here that I’m a college graduate with a good work ethic. This is a place where you either work at a gas station, or at an assembly line in a factory (and there are only two factories nearby, both of which only hire through temp agencies and won’t hire someone with a college degree in an unrelated field). This isn’t a place where you get a college degree in I.T. and then stay here, working in your new field. No, as I’ve come to realize, the only option is leaving. And I need help to make that happen. So I ask humbly that you consider helping me with that, in whatever way you can, from donating to liking and sharing–it all helps.

https://www.gofundme.com/transgendermove

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your time.

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