Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Keep Your Eye on Mississippi

Six-term Senator Thad Cochran edged Tea Party-backed Chris McDaniel in Mississippi's Republican primary run-off, but only with the help of black Democratic voters, a tactic that has McDaniel seething and threatening to challenge. It will be interesting to watch African-American voting patterns in November, when they choose between Travis Childers, a former Congressman who opposed Obamacare and describes himself as “pro-life and pro-gun,” and Cochran, who ran on his formidable ability to bring big-government bacon home to Mississippi. And it will be equally interesting to watch how Childers and Cochran treat black voters, who make up  36% of the electorate in the most racially polarized state in America. It should be quite a tap dance, particularly since Cochran is the worst kind of pork barreler: Mississippi gets $2.47 in federal funding for each dollar it pays in federal taxes, yet it remains at the bottom of the barrel in health care, poverty, education, and general well-being. Correction. Readers picked up two big errors in my last post:

  1. Adams and Jefferson died in 1826, not 1825.
  2. More importantly, they became bitterly estranged after the election of 1800, then reconciled in 1812 and remained friends until the end of their lives. While this reinforces the idea that vitriolic partisanship is nothing new, it does temper the notion that their politics was not personal. “Acid does do damage,” one of you wrote. But Adams and Jefferson give hope that such damage can be overcome and they reaffirm civil discourse as the political ideal, which today seems sadly in doubt.

“Warre of every one against every one”

Civil Discourse