o, what’s the matter with the Tea Party, according to those who think there is much the matter with it? It is insufficiently materialistic. Hence its reluctance to be bought by appropriators.
And what’s the matter with Mississippi? The fact — the state has waited a long time for this to be said — that it is so much like the rest of the nation.
The best thing about Mississippi’s recent moment in the national spotlight is how normal the state seems. It is, like the nation, defined by its ambivalence, its uneasy conscience, about its appetite for what Washington dispenses. Mississippi today is burning with embarrassment, but not, at long last, embarrassment about race.
Its Republican primary occurred three days after the 50th anniversary of the disappearance and murder of three civil rights workers — Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney — near the town of Philadelphia in Neshoba County. Today, Philadelphia’s mayor is an African-American and Mississippi, which is 37 percent African-American, has more African-American elected officials than any other state.