What’s the Matter With Mississippi?

This short film by Alexandra Pelosi asks some regular folks in Mississippi why the poorest state in America is also the most conservative:

Pesky Facts: Mississippi has highest rate of child poverty (31.9 percent), highest rate of infant mortality (10.3 percent), highest rate of obesity (35.3 percent of total population), lowest median household income ($35,078), highest teen birth rate (71.9 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19) and highest overall rate of STDs.

6 Replies to “What’s the Matter With Mississippi?”

  1. From watching the video, I get the impression that they have no problems with their current lot in life – whether they come to this conclusion on their own or have bought a bill-off-goods remains to be seen.

  2. Just typical folks one meets when one leaves the airport, eh? Funny how she missed Miss Savannah scheming to get her rebellious, sexually frustrated daughter to the cotillian, Pastor Franklin fighting for civil rights and social justice by day and leading leading the rockin’ church choir in the evening, the sweaty, overweight and corrupt Judge Leroy, Sherriff “You from outta state, boy?” JimBob and the tragic liberal failed novelist, Colton, whose inability to reconcile his love of the South with its dark past leads tragically to his alcoholic decline.

    Is there any other part of the world that has produced so many stereotypes?
    But ok, I’ll bite. What do you assume would happen to those numbers if they started voting Democrat (as they did for decades) and listened to smart guys like Maher?

  3. Sassy: There is a sort of nobility in the fact that they all seem quite “proud” (if that’s the right word) of their lot in life.

    I think the key quote is the toothless guy living in a junk-filled hovel with a bunch of dogs who says of voting Republican, “It hasn’t [worked for me] but it could.”

  4. Peter: To be honest, I don’t really buy the notion that these are “average” folks in Mississippi that the filmmaker met pretty much getting off the plane. It was interesting to read through the comments on various YouTube postings of this video where opinion from people actually living in the sate was about equally divided on its veracity. Some claiming none of the people they know are anything like that, and others insisting they are entirely typical of folks they routinely encounter.

    As for your question, it’s a good one and I don’t really have an adequate answer for it. Quite frankly, it’s hard to see how a culture so deeply and stubbornly rooted in a cult of ignorance and faith-based magical thinking (e.g., “put God in charge of the economy” or “the South will rise again!”) could ever be salvaged by a change in political direction.

    The Democrats in Mississippi ask, “Why be a Democrat?” with the following questions:

    Do you believe all people, regardless of race, gender, or economic status, are created equal and is due equal protection under the law?

    Do you believe every worker is due fair pay for honest labor, a safe work environment and a secure retirement when retirement is reached?

    Do you believe every student should have access to the highest quality education and the opportunity to achieve the best of his or her ability?

    Do you believe every person is entitled to quality health care regardless of income or social status?

    Well, that’s what they claim to be working towards…

  5. KEv: Heh. I saw those stats on The Last Word tonight and was just completely amazed. I mean, I know there’s always a rump of ignorant people that believe the most astonishing things, but that such a high percentage of folks in MS believe that Obama is a Muslim (or aren’t quite sure), really blew me away. But really, why should I be surprised? About the exact same percentage of rubes believe that the Bible is the LITERAL Word of “God” which is just about as catastrophically stupid as one can possibly be in this day and age.

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