Charlie Mitchell: Formerly free, currently oblivious?

OXFORD — Last week 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.

We headed for parks and beaches, pondering whether we needed another bag of ice, not why violence continues to increase in our communities.

We watched the rockets’ red glare, thinking about how deeply we love this land. We didn’t dwell on waste by our governments, their bloat, inefficiency or, more specifically, our societal trajectory.

Some 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 — decadent, self-serving, directionless?

We choose not to ponder these things at celebrations. America? Heck yea! Pass the watermelon.

On June 24, Mississippi had a runoff to nominate a Republican for one of its U.S. Senate seats.

For 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.

We were told the stakes were high, but other than who got the most votes, the June 3 primary and June 24 runoff didn’t decide anything.

Not really.

The 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.