With all the attention being on national politics this fall, many may have missed news of Mississippi Speaker of the House Phil Gunn’s “listening tour.”
The two words that interest me most about the tour are “bipartisan” and “diverse.” This is how the Daily Journal described the tour: “The listening tour is bipartisan, so ideas can come from either side of the aisle… The 75-minute sessions obviously cannot be exhaustive but they can be diverse…” I hope this is true, Speaker Gunn seems like a nice enough guy, but most of those who subscribe to his conservative views don’t seem to care much for the words “bipartisan” and “diverse” – or the word “compromise.”
Note to Mississippi conservatives: Compromise doesn’t mean discarding strongly-held principles, it means using them to forge consensus.
The basic goal of Mississippi conservatives – in my view – is to effectively codify their personal opinions into state laws, without regard to consequences.
A few examples:
• Personal opinion: Most people on Medicaid are free-loaders. Public Policy: Cut Medicaid. Consequences: tens of thousands left suffering without health care.
• Personal opinion: Too many Hispanics are flooding into Mississippi. Public law: Pass illegal immigration legislation to run them out. Consequences: perpetuation of racism and xenophobia.
• Personal opinion: Too many of the wrong people are exercising their right to vote. Public law: Enact voter I.D. Consequences: a trampling on and violation of the most basic right as a citizen.
• Personal opinion: Public schools aren’t working. Public policy: Create charter schools. Consequences. Take funds from an already crippled, underfunded public school system.
I, for one, plan to actively, aggressively oppose this regressive, repressive, uncompromising brand of politics. Who’s with me?
Counterpoint Ed Holliday
James, where were you in 2010 when Reid, Pelosi and President Obama actively and aggressively shoved their healthcare plan down the throats of 310 million Americans? The Democrats’ only solution for healthcare reform is now law with over 2,400 pages and not one word was allowed to be written by a Republican.
I hope you are really sincere and recognize the need to be consistent when you call for bipartisanship. With the re-election of President Obama all leaders need to work together from the White House to the statehouses and courthouses. Dialogue is important, but action is necessary to save America and build Mississippi.
Now to quickly educate you and others on your mentioned misconceptions, first conservatives know that most citizens on Medicaid need it, and to imply conservatives want to cut Medicaid for no reason is just wrong.
Immigrants are needed in Mississippi, but let’s obey the law. If the Federal law is bad then change the law, but don’t force the working poor in Mississippi to compete for lower wages.
I have never heard any conservative say that an eligible citizen should not be allowed to vote. But we all know of incidents where people have voted more than once, dead people voted, etc. Voter I.D. is needed to protect all Mississippians.
Mississippi has been on the bottom in education for too long. Why would anyone in their right mind advocate for the status quo? We should encourage educational innovation.
Listening and creating innovative public policy must happen in Mississippi and D.C.
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.