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Wyatt Emmerich: Mississippi better served with less ideology, more practical policy

 

Wyatt Emmerich

 

 

Of late a few people have commented on my political views, believing I have become less conservative. I find it amusing. 

 

Change is good. My mother used to say, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." But in fact, I have changed little in my views. 

 

What has changed is the political leadership in the state. For decades, the Democratic Party dominated, making numerous bad decisions which I criticized. That made me appear pro-Republican. 

 

Now the Republican Party is dominating the state, making numerous bad decisions, which I have criticized, making me appear pro-Democrat. 

 

It's not me that's changed. I am doing the same thing I have always done -- my job as a journalist, exposing bad policy and corruption. The only thing that has changed is the political party in power. 

 

What I'd like to see in this state is competition. Competition is good. It drives excellence. Having one party dominate, whether it be Republican or Democrat, is not good. We need two competitive mainstream political parties that can serve as a check and balance on each other. 

 

Unfortunately, race is standing in the way of this. We have devolved into essentially a black Democratic Party and a white Republican Party. This is about the worst possible result that could have happened. 

 

Since African Americans make up only about 35 percent of the vote, such race/party affiliation will lead to a permanent domination by the Republican Party and all the corruption absolute power entails. Can you say "Kemper power plant?" 

 

Meanwhile the African American Democratic Party will remain in a state of essential disenfranchisement, powerlessness, leading to alienation and eventual unrest. 

 

It will take some charismatic leaders in the Democratic Party and some colossal failures in the Republican Party to turn this situation around. As voters, we need to be less ideological and more practical about our politics. 

 

I don't watch TV news. The blurting heads bore me. I've heard it all before. 

 

I suppose I am lucky not to be a fanatic. Fanatics scare me. Fierce ideological adherence to any viewpoint typically leads to disaster, violence and tragedy. Just look at ISIS and the communists. 

 

I felt sorry for the Obama haters and now I feel sorry for the Trump haters. It must be miserable to be so angry all the time. 

 

Libertarians also scare me. I appreciate their faith in the free market, but their pursuit of ideological consistency can lead to some monumentally bad decisions. 

 

My political ideology goes right back to the founding fathers of the United States. They were like the Beatles of political philosophy. The perfect group at the perfect time. There will never be another. The greatness of our country goes directly back to them. 

 

Like George Washington, I am skeptical of political parties. I have always been registered as independent. 

 

Balance of power, reliance on personal initiative, primacy of liberty, respect for the free market, appreciation of original sin, faith in God, international neutrality, decentralization of government . . . these were the cornerstones of the founding father' political philosophy and they are likewise the cornerstones of my political philosophy. 

 

One has to be pragmatic. That's my biggest criticism of the current state Republican leadership. By being one of 16 states that did not expand Medicaid, Mississippi has turned down a billion dollars a year for seven years running. 

 

I don't like socialized medicine, but it is the law of the land. In 1913 our country ratified the Sixteenth Amendment giving Washington D.C. the right to take our money. We are foolish not to accept it when they offer to give it back. The Republicans are putting ideology above their loyalty to Mississippi. 

 

Unlike corporate subsidies, which hurt existing employers struggling to retain a limited number of skilled workers, federal Medicaid dollars are strictly upside, allowing our small-town hospitals, typically the town's biggest employer, to grow. 

 

The expanded Medicaid would have helped 300,000 Mississippians who work but struggle to make ends meet. These are the very people we need to keep in Mississippi. Now they are moving to other states where they can get better health care. For the first time in 50 years, our state has quit growing.  

 

Bad decisions do lead to bad results. 

 

Wyatt Emmerich is the editor and publisher of The Northside Sun, a weekly newspaper in Jackson. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

 

 

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