Our newspaper today, this Sunday before Thanksgiving Day, is full of pro and con letters to the editor concerning CR's remarks about our state.
One of our weekly columnist and book author, a chef extrodinaire, wanted to remind this Democrat that despite NYC having a gaggle of chef-driven restaurants, some of the best Southern food can be found in our state. (Has he tried our shrimp and grits?)
Other letters invited CR to visit before ever criticizing a place; declared that his crude remark didn't convince any troubled(by his remarks) Mississippian to think that his beloved New York City was better when pollutants, crowded real estate, high taxes, impossible prices for living quarters plague citizens.
Perhaps our slow speech and laid-back life give a false impression of our abilities and education. Our governor, Haley Barbour, was recently named the nation's most outstanding governor in the November issue and a 2006 Public Official of the Year, by Governing magazine, an independent magazine focusing on coverage of state and local government. The magazine stated this honor was for "being straight about the utter devastation in the area but also for his own demeanor in public appearances that suggested the state would summon the will to rebuild."
The state is full of famous and successful writers, professional football players, actors, businessmen. Ask Morgan Freeman why he's living in Mississippi between movies. Ask Brett Favre why he yearly returns to his home state. Ask any literary buff why Eudora Welty remained in her home state after several awards from the French government and world-wide recognition. These and other greats have found the quiet life of our state far more enticing and inexpensive than any place in the East.
We have cleaner air, lower taxes, reasonable real estate prices, and we are hospitable. We don't constantly say "I hate Democrats(Republicans)!" Hate isn't a part of our disagreement vocabulary. We vote, and if the other party wins, we quietly go about working with that party. "We are brought up to be nice to people like him (CR)" stated one writer. "What he may not know is that we are the first to go anywhere in the world that we are needed."
And to that remark, our helping others, a young woman aiding Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast, related recently on local radio, that volunteers from New York City, which included firemen and policemen, complimented the locals for their willingness to help one another, despite having lost so much themselves. They thought our hospitality overcame any preconceived misgivings the volunteers had before arriving on the Coast.
Another writer from Staten Island, stated "It's absolutely true that New York City sends tons more hard-earned tax dollars to the federal government than it ever gets back, and Mississippians get more back than they pay." How does he come to this conclusion? Wages are high because living there takes a large chunk of earnings. There are probably far more have-nots in the City than in our state, and tax dollars are levied on those who have. True, our tax base isn't as high, but we, too, have a part of our population that doesn't work, depends on the government for existence, lives in poor housing, etc. Our taxes can't begin to help them when our public school education is drowning, populated by those same low economic class folks. We suffer from money problems as does the City, only to a lesser degree.
Everyone has carved a little heaven where (s)he lives and no one should blatantly criticize another's home without first-hand knowledge.
Well, Charlie apologized, but only after pressure was exerted. He will be under scrutiny until he can prove he's a better leader than an extemporaneous speaker.