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8 November 2011

Dear Mississippi,

I was born ten minutes from the bathtub-warm brackish and silty Mississippi Sound.  Before I said “Momma,” before I said “Daddy,” or “dog,” or “cat,” I said “Pascagoula.”  No matter how long I live away from your moonlight and magnolias, your Mardi Gras and tamales at Christmas, your fig trees and fresh seafood, I will always fall into a deeper southern accent after talking to family or having too much to drink.  And no matter how much I defend you with names like Faulkner and Welty, Hannah and Hamer, I will never be able to erase the images of lynchings and marches and bombings that I’ve accumulated in my conscious and subconscious after years of studying your history.

Today, after years of being dragged kicking and screaming out of the 19th century, your voters, my Mississippi brothers and sisters, are heading to the polls to create another legally-defined underclass.  This inclination of yours toward always dividing and sowing hate among our lifeblood, our people, is something that we need to address.  Mississippi, in case you forgot during your years of treasonous rebellion, “all people are created equal”.  The initiative 26 that your people are arguing and voting on today commits a number of scientific and legal errors all in the name of making women into forced incubators.  In short, you’re regressing to some pre-enlightenment era of feme covert, where women’s legal rights are subsumed by the state – or the men in their lives.  

Mississippi, I hate to tell you this, because there are people and things inside your borders for which I care deeply and long daily.  But if you pass this thing today, I won’t feel safe coming home any more.  I’ve always joked that I’m anxious driving my Corolla with the “Geauxbama” and Darwin-fish stickers across the state line, but by your line of ‘reasoning,’ eventually when I go home, my IUD will be contraband.  I have scores of friends who are biding their time, waiting to see if they need to look for homes in Louisiana or Alabama.  You are walking down a path that should scare your leaders as much as it scares me – a path that leads to a far more acute “brain drain” of bright young Mississippians who could bring so much to your people but won’t allow you to dictate what their uteri (or their daughters’ or wives’) can and cannot be used for.  Your peoples’ consideration of a law that would give the health and wellbeing of a clump of cells legal standing and health priority above that of the woman whose body houses it scares me and so many of your best and brightest citizens.

So I implore you, Mississippi.  After Katrina and BP’s manmade disaster in the Gulf, please don’t willfully destroy any more of my nostalgia.  Stop this regression.  Look forward.  Your pine trees and beaches and fields are beautiful, and there are many in your borders who wake up every day with their minds still, after all these years, set on freedom and justice.  Please support them.  Bring my home into some sort of enlightenment.  Make me proud today, Mississippi.  Follow those of us who want more for your people and your land than what you've had in the past.  Follow those of us who have your best interests at heart.  Shut this thing down.

Fondly, even after all these years,

khowell

Originally posted to khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:03 AM PST.

Also republished by Abortion.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

    by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:03:19 AM PST

  •  Beautiful letter (5+ / 0-)

    I hope one day you can return home a free person with nothing to fear.

    Thank you for sharing your love and your concern for your home state.  

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

    by Damnit Janet on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:12:39 AM PST

    •  Thanks, (4+ / 0-)

      I've just worried myself sick over all of this.  I have a young, newlywed, and newly-pregnant sister.  I fear for her and her baby if this passes.

      Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

      by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:14:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Equality for all (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deedogg, Pinto Pony

        If this is happening in Miss or Kansas, then it is happening to us all.  And it's up to all of us to put an end to this slavery and madness.

        Side note:  I once played "Babe" from the play "Crimes of the Heart".  I had to study to get a "Southern" accent.  It's been a decade at least but I still slip into that lovely pattern of lilting speech from time to time. :)  

        Your words about Mississippi made me want to visit.  

        "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~Jimi Hendrix

        by Damnit Janet on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:19:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just returned.. (9+ / 0-)

    ..from voting against the medieval atrocity that is "Personhood."

    You wouldn't think it, but there is a surprising strong anti-Personhood sentiment in this state.

    The vote on Personhood will be very close.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 09:26:58 AM PST

    •  I hope to hell this doesn't pass. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deedogg, Damnit Janet, khowell

      Since many of the jobs that I'm qualified for are becoming contract positions..... If I were asked to work in Mississippi, my rate would skyrocket to $250 an hour, minimum.  If they cough at that number, I'll tell the exactly why - I could be putting my life in danger by going there.

    •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)

      I wish I could've voted in my old zip code today.  I have a feeling, though, that my time to vote against it here in Kentucky will come sooner rather than later.

      Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

      by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 11:10:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just had this conversation with my husband (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoregon, radarlady

        If 26 passes.... for Mississippi to think that it can still secure outside investors, businesses, etc., and be a 'leader' in bringing in industry and investment with medieval laws like this on the books?  It's LAUGHABLE.  Ridiculous.  

        Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

        by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 11:12:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  thanks (4+ / 0-)

    from Biloxi.  We did all we could to get out the word on this.  Tonight will tell if we had any effect at all.

    Hey! glad to see you. Hope you are doing well.

    by deedogg on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 10:05:20 AM PST

    •  Side question for you.... Did that seafood (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      khowell, deedogg

      resturant that was down by the Point, near the bridge going from Biloxi to OS, and had a marina behind it ever rebuild??  That was some serious good food there.  Went there often.

      •  Are you thinking of McElroy's? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        deedogg

        That wasn't really close to the OS bridge, though.  There was a fast food place near JL Scott, on the Biloxi side... but it didn't have moorings or anything right close to it.

        Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

        by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 11:07:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Probably. It's been more than 8 years since the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          deedogg

          last time I was down there.  It was a blue building with docks immediately behind it.  I know it's all in the Sound now.

          My parents had a time share near the light house (right by the cemetery on 90 - so the place was between the cemetery and the I10 loop down to the beach).  The place refused to tell my parents what happened to it during Katrina.  Their unit was on the 2nd floor, front side, and at the east end.  With the reports of 20-25ft surges... it was toast, but they refused to say what happened.  When they refused to say, dad refused to pay the yearly fees.

      •  I think you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nchristine

        are thinking of McElroy's which has not rebuilt.  There has been a sign up saying they were coming back for several years, though.  Just not yet.

        Of course, the OS bridge is completely new and different than before the storm.

        Hey! glad to see you. Hope you are doing well.

        by deedogg on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 12:00:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I know you've tried (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deedogg

      Believe me.  I'm part of the Mississippians against 26 group on Facebook, and I've seen how hard all of you have worked.  I hope it will pay off - it will have had a positive effect, regardless.  You will be better set to help fight the good fight when it comes up in other states.

      Cheers, my friend, and thank you for fighting.  Go wiggle your toes in the sand for this homesick girl, wouldja?

      Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

      by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 11:09:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wish I could rec this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    khowell, Pandoras Box, Garrett

    multiple times.  I love your letter, and even more so the idea of the letter to the place that means so many contradictory things: former home.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 10:47:06 AM PST

    •  Thanks, a gilas girl, (4+ / 0-)

      very much.  I'm so sad and worried about the whole thing.  I can only hope that when it's time for us to fight it in KY we can do so with the passion that I've seen from so many of my friends in MS.  You never can go home again, I've always known that, but Katrina and BP did much more to make that come true for me than any number of years ever could.  

      Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

      by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 11:03:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If personhood passes, we ladies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, khowell, nchristine

    better get ready to put on our chastity belts and walk
    6 steps behind our men and stay in the kitchen.  I wish I could step into a time capsule and head back to the 70's and warn people of Reagan and what was coming after
    all the hard work of Gloria Steinem and others.

    Weep for Women  for that you have come a long way baby is about to take a hard shove backwards.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 12:02:09 PM PST

    •  I feel the fight coming - (0+ / 0-)

      spreading more (and more quickly) than it has in the past, particularly on the heels of this nonsense in my home state.  I've made clear to my husband that when it's time for me to fight in Kentucky that I will be a rabble-raising, hell-raising protesting, loud-mouthed, feminist like he's never seen before.  It was 'bad' enough with this initiative in Mississippi, my calling friends and family all the time.

      Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

      by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 12:31:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where does it end? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    khowell, Bluefin, nchristine, edsbrooklyn

    My wife had a miscarriage, a Hydatidiform mole.  She had the recommended treatment, a D&C, and later bore our second child.  If the GOP gets its way she would be a murderer because the shapeless mass of cells that threatened her life had a unique genetic code.

    What will happen to the women of Mississippi who suffer a similar failed pregnancy?  Must they allow this tumor to grow unchecked because it began from a fertilized egg?

    My niece had a tubal pregnancy that necessitated surgery.  One murder there.  She later bore a child via in-vitro fertilization.  She would be many times a murderer if she does not implant and bear those fertilized eggs.

    When will the people of America say "enough"?  How long will we allow these heartless, insane fanatics control our government and our most personal decisions?

    •  That's what terrifies me (0+ / 0-)

      about the proposal.  There are no clear cut limits.  There is no logic.  There is absolutely no science.  How can you legislate a biological function without a basic understanding of science?  A zygote is not a person!

      Southerners are remarkably careless with their history. - Jane Daley, 2011 SHA Meeting

      by khowell on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 12:27:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I looked up your diary because (0+ / 0-)

    I wanted to thank you for sharing such a moving piece of writing, and to congratulate you now that the people of Mississippi have overwhelmingly rejected this horrid proposal.

  •  The sane people spoke (0+ / 0-)

    and voted DOWN that personhood amendment. I'm proud of my family members who voted in union against that piece of crap. Hat's off to the JSU students who campaigned hard for the defeat of #26.

    If nothing else, this regressive plot along with the inspired campaign of Johnny Dupree propelled more people into the political process. This is great news going into 2012. Keep it up, family!

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