Why 50th?

August 12, 2009 11:45:00 AM



I''d like to suggest you have John Coffey give us his estimation of why Mississippi is the 50th ranked state in many crucial measurements. 


As an outsider, I have some unstudied opinions on it, but John has been at the hub of the wheel for 25 years, so he may possess a more learned view of the subject. 


What initially irked me was seeing Thad Cochran and Trent Lott''s names splashed across the fronts of buildings at Ole Miss. In my estimation, they should have raised the state out of 50th place before awarding themselves such Ozymandian tributes in Oxford. 


You don''t name a baseball stadium after the manager that kept you in last place for a generation. This should be about Mississippi, not about Thad and Trent. I also estimate Thad and Trent and the state power structure are not, themselves, ranked 50th in anything. More likely they are in the top 2 percent in wealth and national power. So much more tawdry they seem to accept our state''s low ranking as long as theirs is not suffering. 


Now, I do admit I see some hopeful signs. I see many new schools, Mississippi teacher salaries are far higher than 50th, and Mississippi roads are first rate and shame those of Alabama (I-20 near Anniston is the worst I''ve seen, anywhere). 


I''ll be joyous if Ole Miss beats Alabama in football in Oxford this year, but I''d be even more impressed if Mississippi shoves Alabama down into the ignominy of the 50th state title. 




Jay Lacklen