Three political storylines caught my eye over the last few days, and each in their own right have statewide implications to some degree.
Tullos’ HD 79 Challenge
Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn appointed the committee to review the challenge filed by Republican challenger Mark Tullos in the House District 79 race versus longtime incumbent Democrat Bo Eaton.
The race between Eaton and Tullos was certified as a tie, resulting in the two drawing straws and Eaton ultimately winning. Tullos had already filed a challenge with the House Clerk prior to the straw circus.
By law, Gunn’s appointments had to come from the state’s five old congressional districts, all of which have a Republican majority, save one. In light of this fact, Gunn appointing four Republicans and one Democrat to serve on this select election challenge committee makes sense.
Once the committee does its review and the matter goes before the full House, it is likely Tullos will be seated, giving Republicans the supermajority, that is, barring solid evidence in Eaton’s favor.
The Democrat spectacle to come on this is likely to be well worth the price of admission and a large popcorn.
Sam Hall, Syrian Refugees, and being Christian
Gov. Phil Bryant along with most of Mississippi’s congressional delegation have called on President Obama to pause the Syrian refugee program and strengthen the vetting process in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. Bryant doesn’t want refugees brought into the state for resettlement and has vowed to “do everything humanly possible” to keep them out.
The Clarion Ledger’s Sam Hall used his weekly column to ask, “Are we acting like a Christian nation” in how we are handling Syrian refugees, a not so veiled shot across the Republican leaders’ bow. Hall says, “Our priorities are out of whack. Too many Christians are letting personal fears dictate actions instead of heeding God’s commandments to love and witness to and help those in need – especially non-believers and even in the face of evil.”
Hall goes on to attempt to justify his position using selected Biblical scriptures as a reference.
For the sake of space and time I won’t get into a theological discussion on this issue, although I have frequently in recent days. However, it should be noted that there is a stark differentiation between what individual Christians are called to do in their lives by the Almighty and what our American government is constitutionally mandated to do for our citizens.
I seriously doubt many adults over the age of 30 find sagging pants a fashion trend they see as worthy of emulating. However, sagging continues to be a fad young people somehow find appealing, and as such some political leaders in Laurel, Gautier and elsewhere want government to step in to regulate this fashion trend.
Say what you will about the symbolism of sagging pants, the gangsta lifestyle, or it being a sort of prison invitation, the fashion of our youth is rooted in the guidance, or lack there of, of their parents and families. That is the deeper issue.
Legislating fashion in hopes of “cleaning up society” should not be an option. Some may find sagging pants offensive while others may find piercings or tattoos or bikinis or speedos or yoga pants just as offensive. Heck, it could be argued that sagging pants cover up more skin than some of the latter.
Most communities already have indecent exposure ordinances should the drooping go beyond the outer layer of clothing. Adding another law where local police are forced to make a determination on the severity of the sagging is a recipe for trouble. Leave the fashion policing to Hollywood and find another way to positively impact the lives of the youth in your community, perhaps through relationship rather than regulation.
The precedent set by passing laws on fashion and the unintended consequences of such isn’t a road Mississippi communities need to follow.