I must confess a great deal of chagrin and at least a small bit of bewilderment that so many of my fellow Mississippians – political leaders and those who support and finance their campaigns - have made themselves out to be such hypocrites.
Let me start with the “personhood” amendment on the November ballot. The same people pushing this amendment, mandating government control over a woman’s body, are the same ones who feign support for individual liberties. They rail against activist judges and intrusive government, but want to codify into law the state’s right to make individual liberty illegal. In fact, the law would make abortion of any kind under any circumstances illegal. What about rape? Incest? The results of an amniocentesis showing severe deformities in a growing fetus? Does the state really have the right to tell a woman she must bear a newborn which will likely die in her arms?
I oppose abortion, and for thousands of Mississippians like myself, the battle against abortion must be fought in the churches and in hearts, not on a political ballot.
Now, here is my admittedly jaded view: Those who conceived of putting the personhood initiative on the ballot didn’t want it there to protect life, they did it to make sure conservatives had something to vote for other than their candidates. It’s called a “red meat” issue, meaning it will get voters more excited and more stirred up than red meat would to a pack of ravenous wolves.
And then there is the thoroughly hypocritical Voter I.D. law.
Why hypocritical? Because two legislative sessions ago, Democrats and Republicans had reached a compromise trading a Voter I.D. law for early voting. But, what did Gov. Barbour and Lt. Gov. Bryant do? They put a roadblock on the compromise so that, once again, conservatives – fueled by propaganda over voter fraud – would have more red meat.
Never mind the real voter fraud takes place in absentee ballots, not identity theft. And who mobilize more absentee ballots, by mining the church sick and shut-in, nursing homes, assisted living centers and extended family members? Republicans...Say what?
Counterpoint - Ed Holliday
Your questions of concern are being used by opponents of Yes on 26 to muddy the simple fact that voting for Yes on 26 will bring Mississippi’s position on abortion back to where it was before the Roe vs. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It only defines when a person becomes a person. The Mississippi legislature can still make laws as needed to address any unforeseen questions. Mississippi had no outrageous pregnancy dilemmas before Roe vs. Wade, so this amendment will serve to protect life.
I am glad that when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw injustice he did not just say let’s leave it to the church and changing hearts to stop it. And when we see a cause bring the likes of Phil Bryant and Speaker Billy McCoy, Sens. Nancy Collins and Eric Powell, along with Jim Hood and Brandon Presley all together in endorsements then I say all this collected political leadership and wisdom must have confidence that Yes on 26 is the right choice to make. And Johnny Dupree said in a debate in Hattiesburg that he will vote for the amendment.
Now why the exact reason the personhood amendment is on the ballot has nothing to do with red meat issues. It came about because real grassroots leaders volunteered to spend untold thousands of hours and long weekends for many months going all over Mississippi to accumulate more than 120,000 certified signatures from all parts of the state as demanded in law. Don’t feel jaded James, be gratified that there are still Americans who labor and sweat freely for what they believe in.
Hypocrite on Voter I.D.? Phony baloney. Everyone should have heard Anita MonCrief last Tuesday night in Tupelo as she told hair-raising stories about organized voter fraud. And she knows! She was worked for ACORN (and voted for President Obama) but she got so disgusted with the illegal tactics being used by ACORN that she blew the whistle on the organization! Need I say more? We need integrity and honesty in protecting the rights of all voters. Vote yes for voter I.D.
Dr. Ed Holliday is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. James Hull is an award-wining journalist and a political consultant. You may contact him at email@example.com.