PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: American words, acts contradictory

No wonder the rest of the world doesn’t know what to make of America these days.
We praise democracy to the high heavens, but when it comes to voting in our hometowns, only about 25-30 percent of us do it.
At the very point where we actually can do something about our government or our neighborhood, we don’t vote.
A few more than one-fourth of Tupelo’s registered voters bothered to have an official opinion for mayor Tuesday.
Congratulations to all the candidates for running spirited and above-board campaigns. Nastiness at the local level is very bad form.
It’s much easier to be nasty at the congressional district or state level. Most times, a candidate can go home and rarely face the thousands of citizens offended by whatever the transgression is.
But in a local election, you’ve got to live with the rest of us – knowing what a cad you were.
Other contradictions abound.
In America, we demand that all lawbreakers be put into jails and kept there for lengthy periods.
But we rail at how expensive it is.
We espouse a belief in treating people humanely, even those in prison, so the stuff of Soviet gulags and Chinese work camps isn’t tolerated.
But we turn our heads when non-indicted enemy combatants despair so deeply at their isolation in Guantanamo that they hang themselves. And we chafe at the thought that these accused must be housed at American maximum security facilities, if the rest of the world will not take them off our hands.
We speak loudly about the importance of a first-rate education for all our children, but thousands of Mississippi’s future cannot read, even in advanced grades.
We do not insist upon adequate, reliable support for our universities, where the world of tomorrow is born.
We proclaim the virtues of peace but engage in warfare and atrocities, even accidental, that make us look like hypocrits.
We rejoice in our foreign mission work, but we forget about the needs of people within just a few blocks from our comfortable homes.
We recognize and codify that murder is wrong, yet some people foment the hatred that drives misguided followers.
We have laws that set the course for what is legally right.
For those who disagree, civil disobedience against wrongs is a well recognized, historical protest tactic.
Voting for candidates who support mutual issues may be even more effective.
There is little gray in the issue of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. Both sides feel strongly, even fanatically, that they are right.
Under the law, both sides are respected.
But to murder someone who is acting within the law is beyond legal disobedience or political acumen.
It is murder.
No wonder the rest of the world wonders what to make of us these days.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or

NEMS Daily Journal

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