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America is not as economically
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The Miss-Louís breaking news:
Woodville goes smoke-free.
Jobs picture is still
worse than last year.
Concordia Sheriff ups
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The Advice Goddess:
Amy talks about dating sites and
whether they work.
Terry Savage on money:
Savings bonds used to be a good place to
McAllister on health:
Violence and alcohol contribute to a
high rate of death.
Thomas Sowell thinking clearly:
Whites should stop ďhelpingĒ blacks.
Surely, the free market works
better than government.
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Land of the formerly free
by Charlie Mitchell
month, Mississippians joined in the celebration of America.
We pulled out picnic
baskets and coolers and dealt with the simplicity of fried chicken, not the
complexity of Obamacare.
headed for parks and beaches, pondering whether we needed another bag of
ice, not why violence continues to increase in our communities.
watched the rocketsí red glare, thinking about how deeply we love this land.
We didnít dwell on waste by our governments, their bloat, inefficiency or,
more specifically, our societal trajectory.
might say we are delusional, that we celebrate a country that does not
exist. Are we the land of the free, home of the brave? Able to manage our
culture, our finances? Or are we lost sheep ó decadent, self-serving,
choose not to ponder these things at celebrations. America? Heck yea! Pass
June 24, Mississippi had a runoff to nominate a Republican for one of its
U.S. Senate seats.
weeks before and since, we have been treated to one bizarre development
after another, one nutty claim after another. Accusations and weirdness
stacked upon accusations and weirdness.
were told the stakes were high, but other than who got the most votes, the
June 3 primary and June 24 runoff didnít decide anything.
contest between state Sen. Chris McDaniel and incumbent Thad Cochran was
like all those last-minute continuing budget resolutions Congress has to
keep passing to keep America from going belly-up in world financial markets.
The resolutions are a political hammer with which Republicans and Democrats
can keep knocking each other in the head, but provide no lasting fix. Like
the election. A can kicker.
In terms of their
conservatism, McDaniel and Cochran would vote the same 99 percent of the
time on social issues. They think differently about financing, little else.
McDaniel, of course, represents the firebrand side. Fueled by an obsession
that Democrats cater to a something-for-nothing crowd, tea partiers have
turned on their former fellow conservatives for not being conservative
enough. They see the fiscal cliff ahead and want serious brakes applied ó
donít talk about what will happen if the federal books are balanced too
quickly. Thatís because they must know an economic collapse would follow at
least as severe as whatís going to happen if spending continues to escalate
at current rates.
upstarts fault Cochran and other ďtraditionalĒ Republicans for being too
go-along-to-get-along with Democrats. But how do you fault a person like
Cochran, king of earmarks, who has funneled so much money to Mississippi for
so long and across such a broad spectrum? Beat him up for giving us what we
ask for? Almost everyone, including President Obama, agrees that the federal
government spends too much. But the solution is not to turn off the tap.
decades ago, there was a bright line between public and private spending,
between public and private economies. Now thereís not. These days they
interlock, one canít prosper unless the other does. Witness the fact that
when Bill Clinton left office, there was a projected federal tax surplus Ė
enough income to start paying down the national debt. Many factors were in
play, but the leading reason for the surplus was a national economy that was
Today, the same math is in play. Economic disaster is sure to come (1) if
the rate of increase in federal spending isnít slowed or (2) Congress takes
a meat ax to the budget. If weíre smart, weíll elect people who understand
that and who will work constructively to solve the nationís problems. Itís
not a time for power politics. Itís a time to recognize the problem and fix
Meanwhile, we the people will keep celebrating America or, more accurately,
the American ideal. We envision a state and nation
where all people are neighborly, not just most. We envision elected
assemblies where representatives stay focused on the common good, not just
what will play well in the next election. We strive for communities free of
tension and strife, where people respect each other and display that respect
on a daily basis.
Objectively, we canít deny that America has a lot of problems. Objectively,
we donít see much taking place to bring about solutions. But despair solves
nothing. We must keep believing that problems can be solved and they will
we need to do is edge the clowns off the stage and invite thoughtfulness and
reason back into public discourse.
Charlie Mitchell is a
Mississippi journalist. Write to him at Box 1, University, MS 38677, or