Saturday, April 9, 2016

What has Mississippi gone and done now?

    The railroad station in 2008. I took this photograph
     on a return visit to Canton, Mississippi. The
     "colored" waiting room where I sat in 1964 was no
     longer there.

Mississippi ain’t one of my favorite states. I’ll tell you that! Mississippi and I don’t get along. There are a number of people, who live in Mississippi, who I just love like crazy. I could tell you about them, man, but that is not the purpose of this blog.
by Charlie Leck

“This is not politics! This is human rights!” Ellen DeGeneres

I’m writing today in support of the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, who has just banned any non-essential travel to Mississippi by Minnesota government employees on government business matters (except when it is absolutely essential). Governor Dayton, like I and a lot of other people, is very upset about what Mississippi has now gone and done.

Mississippi has passed, and the governor of that state has signed, a stupid bill (Religious Liberty Bill) that allows people with religious objections to deny LGBT people marriage, adoption and foster care services. And that ain’t all (as a Mississippian might easily say)! Residents may also refuse to sell such person any property or services.

This utterly stupid bill will allow churches, religious charities and any private businesses to decline services to people if doing so violates their religious beliefs on marriage and gender.

It’s time to write-off any future travel to Mississippi! It’s time for businesses to rise up and tell Mississippi that this law may cost millions and millions of dollars and many, many jobs for its residents. Mississipians don’t get it: Many corporations are dependent on their good relationships with the gay and lesbian communities.

Mississippi and I have never gotten along. I arrived there for the first time in my life on a Monday morning in 1964 – actually on June 22 – at about 8 o’clock in the morning! The famous old train, The City of New Orleans, dropped me and a few traveling partners off at the railroad station in the city of Canton. As we traveled through the dark night on that train, a number of KKK fellows stopped three young men on a back road between Philadelphia (MS) and Meridian. Those young men (only slightly more than boys) were murdered by the KKK and their bodies were secretly buried where the ungodly organization thought they’d never be found.

But you know this old story of Mississippi Burning! Don’t you?

I spent some awful days down there in that unwelcoming, inhospitable and damned horrible state! (But I’ve written about all of this here before and I needn’t repeat that! If you want to read my Mississippi Blogs, written in 2007, you can begin at… 

I’ve been back to Mississippi a couple of times since that 1964 visit and I don’t like the state a bit more than I did on my first visit.

It’s just that I’m not surprised that Mississippi would pass such a law. It’s the damned strangest state in the nation anyhow, so why wouldn’t it do something like this?

Let’s hope sensible corporations will put the pressure on Mississippi to repeal this law and get rid of it for good.

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