FOX 10, Phoenix Live Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzxhd9Pwx40
Golden State Times Link:
The Do’s and Don’ts of attending a MAGA Rally in Tupelo, MS, as explained by Secret Service.
Welcome to MY STATE!!! This will be the President’s second trip to Tupelo! He’s here to rally for our big Governor’s Race and state-wide seats. Mississippi is a deep red state, and chances are Tate Reeves will be our new Governor (He’s running against Jim Hood, the famous trial lawyer who led the landmark Tobacco case). Personally, I find Reeves kind of squishy. He’s known to be incredible competent and powerful in the state, but man-o-man is he boring. He’s no Donald Trump, but then, who is? Reeves can’t drive turnout, obviously, and Jim Hood oozes charisma, thus the reason for Trump’s visit = drive the turnout. And in the end, we dance with the guy who brought us. This is Tate Reeves, you will certainly see him this evening:
Mississippi is legendary for powerful politicians. Haley Barbour was former Governor and now runs one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC. Thad Cochran, the powerful Senate Chair of Ways and Means, ran against Chris McDaniel (Tea Party) in 2014. Recall that race was particularly brutal and opened many eyes to the ways of the RINO in DC. In the 90’s, Senator Trent Lott was Majority Leader of the Senate. Before Lott, Senator John C. Stennis, a Dem/Dixiecrat, was also President Pro-tempore of the Senate and and served for 41yrs. Our Space Center on the Coast is named for him. Every one of those men has been in our house, at least once. In Mississippi, politics is a preferred pastime. Of course, that was long after Jefferson Davis, President, and the Head of the Confederacy being located in Mississippi.
But enough about politics!!! We’re so happy you are here, we have to show you around our state. Let’s get you oriented, because many of you are new to our state. This thread does get a little bit long, because I HAD SO MUCH TO TELL. If you want to, just skip to the rally thread and we won’t mind a bit!
Mississippi is 340 miles long and 170 miles wide. It takes me about 5 hours to travel from just south of Memphis, TN, to New Orleans. A total of 48,430 sq miles of natural resources, a population just under 3 million people with a median income of $43,529, as of 2016, dead last in the union. GDP runs a little over 95 Billion, 37th in the country. (Wiki is the source for basic stats)
Mississippi includes everything from the south, which is really just a big suburb of New Orleans or Mobile. It’s only about a 100 mile shoreline on the Gulf, so the coastal towns tend to blend together. On the western border is the Mighty Mississippi River offering the birthplace of the blues to plantation after plantation and miles of farmland and hunting. The east is where we find vast forests, to the north which is more characterized by the industry of Memphis. The food is fabulous, people are friendly, and as long as you understand the education dynamic within the state, it’s a perfect place to raise children or retire.
Can’t mention the state name without discussing “racism”, and wow, do we have a chip on our shoulder about the subject. It was a label that stuck.
Once you understand the racial makeup of Mississippi, everything else starts to make sense. Our GDP, education, culture, the food and music, everything is influenced by race. Mississippi is different because our black population is so high as a percentage of total population. I have a hard time explaining this to visitors because they go by their own experience of their home. In fact, 37.9% of our state are black citizens, highest in the country. Therefore, if anyone wanted to truly study/solve anything to do with race, the state of Mississippi would be a perfect incubator for any social experiment or a new proposed idea…… if “they” wanted to really fix the problem….. or if there really was a problem?
Little Bit of History
Before the Civil War broke out, the colonies (new states) on the eastern seaboard were connected to the new LA Purchase (1803) territory by the land of what is now the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. The land which was MS and AL, was inhabited by Indians (Chickasaw/Choctaw in the south which beget the Trail of Tears) and Tecumseh (+others) in the upper midwest (IN, IL, MI, Minnesota which beget the war of 1812) when the Brits sided with Tecumseh. These lands did not belong to the USA…yet.
When the Civil War broke out, Mississippi was 55% black. The wealthiest cities in our fledgling country at the time were New Bedford, Massachusetts (whaling and industry), and Natchez, MS (cotton and foreign +domestic trade). The south, via New Orleans was more influenced/loyal/trading partners to the French (Lafayette, Barataria, Acadians, 1812 war with England) and the north, particularly Boston, was more loyal the the English (Puritans, etc.), but the USA declared war on England, conscription of soldiers, to capture the midwest (remember Tecumseh?) In other words, they didn’t really like each other BEFORE the Civil War, particularly when it came to trade, culture, and most of all …….. money.
The Civil War was personal to the south, fought in our front yard. As a kid, I grew up in the north and we learned very little about the Civil War. In the south, we talk about great-granddaddy…. who fought and died…… around the corner. My town was burned by Grant’s soldiers on his way to Vicksburg, save one home across from the firehouse, which had a Mason’s symbol above the door. Our state is one big battlefield and the study of military history is a pursued past time. Probably why Mississippi citizens of all races and backgrounds will NEVER give up their guns.
At the beginning of the war, only 3% of the population owned “slaves”. At the end of the war, 2/3 of the farmland in “the Delta” was owned by blacks, but falling cotton prices caused many farms to be lost. During reconstruction, many blacks held local office, until Governor Vardaman was elected. Vardaman began the red shirts and black voter suppression in the 1890’s.
Remember the PA judge who finally died and lifted the voter suppression penalty on the south, just a couple of years ago? By 1900, the state was still majority black population but the boll weevil hit the cotton crop. Then came the great flood of 1927, followed by the Great Depression, and the migration to Chicago and Detroit began. “When the Levee Breaks” was a song originally by Memphis Minnie, about the Great Flood of ’27.
Today, Mississippi, demographically, is 37% black, 59% white, and almost no Hispanics or Native Americans. We are a black and white state. In other states, like NY (14.4% black), Illinois (14.1), MA (about 8%), California (only 6.5%) or Vermont (1%), people think of “blacks” living in a community, which is far away from “them”. If you notice, there aren’t too many black people in Joliet, Westchester, or Palo Alto. I had a liberal girlfriend in upstate NY who confessed she had never MET a black person, but of course, she “knew all about it”. Note it was “it” and not “them”. Weird.
It’s not like that here. There are no places where “black people” do not exist. They represent almost 40% of our population! Our communities are mixed all up and down the state. Our families have known each other’s families for generations. We cheer for each other’s kids during high school sports and chat in the grocery store. Our kids go to school together. AND when we have hurricanes, tornadoes or ice storms, we figure it out……. together. When I travel to other states, I often say, “Where are all the black people?”, because to me, coming from here, it’s a noticeable absence. Even when I travel to other southern states, LA and AL (about 26%), it’s odd, because statewide, the communities are more disparate. If I go home to Iowa, to visit extended family…. there are almost no black people at all….., anywhere…. and the food is bland.
As a result of the demographics in Mississippi, our cultures mix. It’s how the Blues was born in Clarksdale, MS. It’s how Elvis came to prominence and American Rock and Roll changed the world. It’s how the world was blessed with “comfort food”. Dear Lord, the food is extraordinary. I also believe I could make a legal case on behalf of black grandmothers. They should interrogate all witnesses for the FBI – we would be better off as a nation. As a subset of humanity, elder black women are the most pragmatic people on the planet and can sniff out a lie faster than a good dream disappears in the morning. I have trembled in the face of their wrath and been blessed to call them friends. More than any other demo, elder black women represent the moral fiber, the core, of the state. THEY are responsible for the Steel Magnolias, the strong southern women and well behaved men. And we WILL go to church on Sunday! 83% of the state identifies as Christian.
Our race demographics are also why our state was targeted in the 1960’s. Our black population is so high, if the seeds of discord could be sown here, the animosity would travel like a dandelion on the wind.
My grandparents moved south from Iowa in 1961. Grandpa was part of a three man team who opened the largest factory in town. He wanted to hire black workers (cuz they were 40% of the people who lived here – made sense) and met with opposition from the town leaders. Grandpa wasn’t the kind of guy to back down. It didn’t go well. The guy who used to own my house was a town leader, powerful man, Senators, Cattlemen and the St. Louis FED used to meet at our house…. all the time. He tangled with Grandpa quite often.
The Integration of Ole Miss – Fascinating Story of Meddling by Politicians
By 1962, James Meredith decided to enroll at Ole Miss. Whether he decided himself or it was planned, we will never know. Meredith was an air force veteran, good scores at another college. If he had been white, he would have been a perfect candidate for Ole Miss… but Ole Miss was segregated at the time (as were most other schools all over the country). The Kennedy Administration decided to make their stand in Mississippi and made it a political stunt when it didn’t need to be. Here, it was seen as the 100yr replay of Massachusetts trying to tell Mississippi what to do. Civil War all over again.
Kennedy deployed 500 Marshals and a Combat Battalion out of Ft Campbell to accompany Meredith to registration, when the Governor already agreed to do it. In fact, Meredith had already moved into his dorm! The press was coordinated perfectly (one French journalist died in the riots-bullet to the back – how do you get French press all the way to Ole Miss without coordination). Locals were alarmed by the massive show of force, TROOPS, Army on our own land! People were mortified and James Meredith immediately became an incidental issue. Several hundred were injured in the riots/protests which ensued…. but the media played it perfectly, all about RACE.
Within 24 hours of the television coverage, the entire world thought everyone in the state of Mississippi was a racist. The false label stuck.
The story is fascinating (I have girlfriends who were students there at the time and Ole Miss is my Alma Mater) and a perfect lesson in how politics created a problem where there was no problem. Kennedy Admin and Governor Barnett’s Admin agreed on a discreet enrollment. Meredith was resting comfortably in his dorm room when Kennedy brought troops onto the campus. Here it is, directly from LEFT-LEANING Wikipedia:
In accordance with Barnett and Kennedy’s plan, on Sunday evening, September 30, the day before the anticipated showdown, Meredith was flown to Oxford. He was quietly escorted by Mississippi Highway Patrol as he moved into a dorm room.
The federal marshals assembled on campus, supported by the 70th Army Engineer Combat Battalion from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Responding to the federal presence, a crowd of a thousand, mostly students–led by Edwin Walker–quickly crowded onto campus…… (Walker was an agitator, not from Mississippi, and Bobby Kennedy had him arrested and sent to a mental institution for 90 days – he was let go after 5 days, as soon as the media left town.)
As the scene grew more out of control, the highway patrol initially helped hold off the crowds but, despite Barnett’s renewed commitment, those police were withdrawn by State Senator George Yarbrough starting at about 7:25 p.m. local time. The student demonstration, joined by an increasing number of other agitators, started to break out into a full riot on the Oxford campus. (Betrayed by Kennedy Admin) At 7:30 p.m., Barnett announced on radio that Meredith had been brought to Mississippi by force. After signing his enrollment, Barnett said to the Federal troops:
“Gentlemen, you are trampling on the sovereignty of this great state and depriving it of every vestige of honor and respect as a member of the United States. You are destroying the Constitution of the United States. May God have mercy on your souls. ” (So, locals were primarily protesting what appeared to be an invasion by the US government AND the admission of Meredith, but portrayed as racist on national television and in print media)
The crowd eventually swelled to about three thousand. As its behavior turned increasingly violent, including the death of a journalist, the marshals ran out of tear gas defending the officials in the Lyceum. President Kennedy reluctantly decided to call in reinforcements in the middle of the night under the command of Brigadier General Charles Billingslea, Commanding general, 2nd Infantry Division. He ordered in U.S. Army military police from the 503rd and 716th Military Police Battalions, which had previously been readied for deployment under cover of the nuclear war Exercise Spade Fork, plus the U.S. Border Patrol and the federalized Mississippi National Guard. U.S. Navy medical personnel (physicians and hospital corpsmen) attached to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Millington, Tennessee, were also sent to the university.
Before they arrived, white rioters roaming the campus discovered Meredith was in Baxter Hall and started to assault it. Early in the morning, as Gen. Billingslea’s party entered the university gate, a white mob attacked his staff car and set it on fire. Billingslea, the Deputy Commanding General John Corley, and aide, Capt Harold Lyon, were trapped inside the burning car, but they forced the door open, then crawled 200 yards under gunfire from the mob to the University Lyceum Building (The same Lyceum which was occupied by Grant’s Army and used as a Union Hospital which treated both Union and Confederate soldiers wounded in the battle of Shiloh – only reason Ole Miss wasn’t burned. The same Lyceum where I registered for classes). The army did not return this fire.
To keep control, Gen Billingslea had established a series of escalating secret code words for issuing ammunition down to the platoons, a second one for issuing it to squads, and the third one for loading, none of which could take place without the General confirming the secret codes.
Finally, on October 1, 1962, Meredith became the first African-American student to be enrolled at the University of Mississippi, and attended his first class, in American History. Meredith graduated from the university on August 18, 1963 with a degree in political science. At that time, there were still hundreds of troops guarding him 24 hours a day although, in order to appease the local sensitivities, 4,000 Black soldiers were removed from the Federal troops under Robert Kennedy’s secret orders. (In other words, caused further segregation…. smh)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_Miss_riot_of_1962
It all happened about 30 minutes from here. It lit the flame. From that moment on, Mississippi became the staged battleground for Civil Rights. 1964 made worse.
Schools in Mississippi are horrible, often ranked at or near the bottom of all states, or so I thought, but statistics are sneaky things. The perception of lack of good schools presented a problem in recruiting executives/skilled labor/corporate headquarters from other parts of the country. Education became my primary interest. Good schools lead to more opportunity, better employees, attract more business, leads to stronger communities, and better families. For YEARS, I battled/advocated /screamed loudly to improve the results of students who were educated in MS. It wasn’t until my son was in high school that I figured out what the real problem was.
Because of one of my son’s extracurriculars, I ended up as a Scholarship Chair for thousands of the region’s highest performing students, who were being recruited by top colleges. Along with resumes, SAT/ACT scores were key. I started investigating, poking around, running numbers, comparing studies, and the results of kids across states and even down to various zip codes. Couldn’t believe what I was finding, but we can’t argue with hard data.
I learned the “average” black student scored an 18 on the ACT, Hispanic about a 20, white student about a 22.4, and an Asian student about a 23.6-24. Of course, there were outliers who performed incredibly well despite all kinds of odds. I could, however, compare an “average” black student in Palo Alto, Lake Forest, Wellesley (rich zip codes) to an average black student in rural Mississippi (poor zip code), and the scores were the same, no discernible difference. Same with Hispanics/Whites/Asians. There could be a hundred reasons for the discrepancy among races, but clearly, $$’s spent per pupil was NOT a reason. Flabbergasted. I cross checked dozens, and then hundreds, of different zip codes, same results. I ran into zip codes which spent 3X’s the amount per pupil, no difference in ACT scores.
Therefore, since our state had a higher demo of black students (almost 40%), the lower test scores were bringing down the average of the state, but easily addressed, right? Politically, if we extrapolated the problem across the region of high demo black population states, it explains the stigma of the “dumb southerner”, which hastens division of Americans, and becomes Exhibit A on “How to Lie With Statistics”. Massive legal/illegal immigration into CA could explain the downturn in numbers for California.
It’s not possible to explain “why” there is a difference among races for test scores (above my paygrade – but if lil’ ole me found it, then SURELY someone else has noticed before me). Yet, common sense tells us, if we worked on ACT prep classes with black students we could increase overall averages, improve the state’s reputation for education, recruit more execs, more biz, and increase prosperity. If we had success with one subset for ACT, even in a single zip code, we could duplicate results across the state, right? And then work down across grade levels, right? I gave it to Governors, Senators, Congressmen, even local Superintendents. No one wanted to touch it….. because they would be accused of being racist if they admitted “average” differences in test scores. Thus, the black community suffers…. and we’re all worse off…. which is actually “racist”.
My own school Superintendent alluded to the fact that he already knew what I was telling him…… but the idea was poison to him. Sticking his head in the sand was more politically convenient. Political correctness is therefore racist, and in this case harms all our of fellow citizens. “Systemic Racism” = There it is, a real definition, and it would be so easy to turn around.
It’s a shame. If we can’t talk about a problem, we can’t fix the problem.
Mississippi is a right-to-work state and Nissan and Toyota have enormous plants in the state. We also have shipyards and many military bases here. Mississippi citizens are the highest percentage of those in the military.
With President Trump in office, the shipyards are so busy, the closest Junior College is running welding tech, structural welding, welding info systems, ANYTHING welding classes 3 shifts a day, and another one on weekends, to train welders. It’s amazing.
Of course, Mississippi will always be the land of beautiful women (more Miss Americas than any other state). Ole Miss has a saying….., as opposed to a football team, “We red-shirt Miss Americas”.
Tailgating is an art-form in our state and the men and women dress to impress. The town of Oxford, only has about 30K residents, but on Football Weekends, it swells to about 180-250K. People bring pool tables, satellite dishes, and all their friends.
So, plan to stay for a while. You’re always welcome in Mississippi.
Now, onto the rally thread!