Moving Forward

If you didn’t know this already, we live in a weird place. How else can you explain why Mississippi voters embraced conservatives Donald Trump and Cindy Hyde-Smith–each won with almost 60% of the vote–but voted at roughly a 70% clip to change the state flag and legalize medical marijuana? Have Trump and Hyde-Smith supporters been smoking crooked cigarettes all this time? Our leaders must think something is awry. They’re already trying to figure out ways to circumvent 65.

Mississippi is redder than an Early Girl tomato on July 4. People in the state cherish traditions. We attend our parents’ churches. We hold doors open for each other. We love etiquette. Not shaking hands during the pandemic requires us to kick two centuries worth of social conditioning. In fact, anything new gets met, at least initially, with a resounding “No!”

Especially if the wrong people say “yes.”

I am curious, though: can people look to the past and still hope to reach their potential in the future? Do the people of Mississippi truly revere traditions–or do they simply fear change?

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17 Responses to Moving Forward

  1. Kareena Patel says:

    I think people are allowed to look in the past, but they should never dwell on it. By that, I mean the past should be a helpful tool where we improve for the future. I feel people in Mississippi want to respect the traditions but fail in doing so. Mississippi does not do well with change which is definitely a problem. Without change, there is no room for improvement. Without improvement, there is no room for growth. Basically, people of Mississippi are stubborn when it comes to change, creating more conflicts in the future. I believe they fear change mostly because they do not want to risk what they already have.

  2. Zaria Cooper says:

    Personally, I feel that everything in life will change at some point. Therefore, when it comes to looking to the past and trying to find hope for the future, it doesn’t make sense to me. Why keep doing things as you did in the past and going nowhere when you can actually grow and change the future. In addition, Mississippi people are both of these options, but I believe more people are fearful of change. Some people want things to stay exactly the way they are or only change a little. But in all actuality, for MS to grow as much as it needs to, it will take new mindsets and tradition-breaking leaders.

  3. Caleb Jenkins says:

    I believe that the people of Mississippi revere tradition as much as they do because of their great fear of change. They were raised in the ways that their parents were raised, and they raise their children the same way too. Any sign that a Mississippian wants to change something, or God forbid, make progress as a society, those loyal to the old ways view them as a traitor to their heritage and a radical trying to destroy their way of life. They have lived this way so long, they never bother to stop and consider if there is anything wrong with their way of life. It is possible, though, to revere tradition while also making progress for the better. The change in the Mississippi flag and the medical marijuana bill are indicative of this and serve as signs that Mississippians are willing to make progress.

  4. Dylan Griffith says:

    I believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. To elaborate, Mississippians fear change because change involves altering revered traditions. While Mississippians can still glance at the past, they need not to stare at it. Moving forward involves reflecting on past mistakes and devising ways to resolve them so that the past can stay in the past. Changing the state flag and legalizing medical marijuana are steps in the right direction, but they are only baby steps in terms of changing Mississippians mindsets.

  5. Lauren Hood says:

    I do think that people can look to the past and still reach their potential. They should use it as a guide to grow and study history to prevent repeating their mistakes. I think tradition is an important part of Mississippi. It offers people a sense of comfort. Traditions add character as long as they are good things. I think that people in Mississippi revere tradition and fear change. For certain groups, it is evident that they fear change in the way that they treat newcomers. For most people in Mississippi though, it is obvious that they cherish traditions. This can be a good thing because some traditions are nice and provide a sense of home.

  6. Kelsei Harris says:

    I think that people can look into the past to see the mistakes that were made, and try to fix their actions so the same mistakes won’t happen in the future. The past should be a lesson, but I don’t think people should be stuck on past situations. There is nothing we can do but try to correct our actions and make the future better. I think that a lot of people in Mississippi are stuck in the traditions of the state. There are so many things, especially small things that people do and don’t realize it’s offensive or outdated. For example, my local drug store still closes early on Thursday and there are so many people who express hatred for people of other ethnicity or sexual orientation. I think that so many people in Mississippi are stuck in tradition because they fear the idea of change. They want things to be like they have been for years because they’re afraid of changes. Many are afraid of different people or express a pointless hatred for different political parties. Some traditions can be good, but I think we should get rid of the bad ones and prepare for change in Mississippi.

  7. Mason Pettit says:

    Mississippi shows a clear reverence and admiration for the past despite its controversial and often horrifying history. People still throw a tantrum any time we try to change anything even if its taking the name of a famed racist from an important building or removing the statue of a treasonous murderer from our streets. For some reason, people in Mississippi seem to want to celebrate history just because its history. This blind reverence for history in Mississippi leads to a fear of change which hinders the progress of our state, but does not ultimately stop us from reaching the full potential of our state. It provides another obstacle in the path, but it is not an insurmountable obstacle.

  8. Luke Bowles says:

    The people of Mississippi definitely revere the past. If not, people at my old high school wouldn’t fly confederate flags on the back of their trucks. Mostly, I think this reverence is due to ignorance. Because they are ignorant, they don’t really understand the past they are glorifying. Because they don’t understand the past, they don’t see how the past has caused our current problems. Therefore, their ignorance causes them to look towards other causes like “out-of-state liberals” and the “mainstream media.” This concoction makes a perfect recipe for a group of people that both glorify the past and are afraid of change.

  9. Scarlett Bedingfield says:

    I think that Mississippi’s intolerance and resistance of change are a result of both fear of reverence of tradition. The way that we do things can be comfortable and we simply don’t want to leave that comfort and familiarity. However, the world is changing all around us and Mississippi is so stuck in the past that it can’t evolve with it. Yes, I believe traditions are important. But never at the expense of other people, and that’s the price that Mississippians are either willing to pay or simply don’t care enough about in order to keep things the way they have always been.

  10. Chloe Sharp says:

    I think that the excuses “I like things more traditional” and “I’m just more conservative” are just excuses people use to hide their intolerance for any type of progressive change. Tradition can be used for things like Christmas celebrations, but it absolutely cannot be used as an excuse for things such as racism or the refusal to keep each other safe during a public health crisis. Yes, change is scary, especially change as big as deciding the leader of our country, but it is incredibly necessary. You can’t use the word “tradition” as an excuse for ignorance or hatred.

  11. Vineel Vanga says:

    We are going to change. That’s the bottom line. Sure Mississippi wants to uphold their traditions and customs, but there is a limit to how long we can preserve a culture. Outside influence and with us becoming the new leaders of tomorrow by coming up to the political platform can help spur that change. Mississippi sucks but we aren’t the Mississippi that we have been in the past. I will tell you this, in the past it was a part of culture to own slaves. It sounds horrible for the word culture that usually portrays a positive trait to be tainted with slavery but that is the fact. Now look at the state now. That culture or tradition of slavery has become non existent with the reasons being of new generations coming into the picture and of other outside influences like the Emancipation Proclamation by my Abraham Lincoln. Sure we suck now, and maybe in the next fifty years we may still suck, but we suck less right now than in the past. When you look at politics, we are a red state. We have been a red state for quite a while, but statics shows that Mississippi has become more liberal over the time. For those who fear change or those who don’t want to look forward to Mississippi’s potential. They very well know that Mississippi is ranked like the second worst state yet why are they so content on keeping the system the same. Wouldn’t it be better that we change for the better. Plus, change doesn’t equate to elimination. There are many practices and traditions in Mississippi’s culture that are quite prime, but change won’t make them go away but rather sustain them or make them better.

  12. Vineeth Vanga says:

    I believe that Mississippians aren’t exactly a fan of their current customs, but aren’t necessarily a fan of change. I think the main reason as to why we keep voting read with each passing election is because we know that the moment we choose to go blue it’s going to force Mississippi to make some changes to itself that are bottomline going to be hard for Mississippi to deal with, and I don’t think that Mississippi think it’s in the best state to make those changes, hence why it constantly goes read with each election. I think in the near future when Mississippi is more aware of the kind of state it is or if we have a state governor that feels comfortable leading Mississippi, then we can truly hope for some modicum of change.

  13. Weslyn McMurrin says:

    Mississippi does have a rough past, and some of its people still still dwell on it. And like some of the people above me have already said, the reason is simply because of ignorance. Some people are not informed about the wrongful past of Mississippi. Becoming open minded to the truth will allow for the improvement of our state’s future, which I believe is very important for our generation to grasp.

  14. Carolena Graham says:

    Not all but most Mississippians fear change. There is also a portion of people that were raised to feel as if they are superior. Southern traditions are all they know. Their superior midset, enables them to only care about themselves and their kind. If all is well with them then why change? Misinformation plays only a small role. What’s that proverb. “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” I believe this is defiantly a case in Mississippi.

  15. Colin Gordy says:

    I think Mississippi will change, but it’s going to go much slower than the other states. Tradition, as you said, is deeply rooted in our culture and it’s going to be hard to move past them. If you look at statistics, Mississippi has more young people moving out than any other state, so a lot of the red vote is coming from older generations that chose to stay here. Our problem is that progressive, open-minded people are leaving while the traditionalists are staying.

  16. Balee Wilson says:

    I think that one of the main reasons Mississippi is slow to change is because Mississippians truly fear change for the most part. When asked why things are done the way they are, I have heard people literally say “It’s because that’s the way we have always done it!” If this doesn’t prove the fact that Mississippians fear change, then….read it again! I find it hard to believe that the person who made this particular statement did it out of reverence to age old traditions. You know the old saying “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”…I am confident this is what most Mississippians live by, considering their reluctance to allow change in their lives prevails over any support towards progressive ideas. I think people such as this are the main reasons for Mississippi being behind in almost everything! Mississippi does not get the support it deserves for its progressive ideas to move us into the future. Mississippi will never reach the future if we can not encourage these people to open their minds to change.

  17. Keyan Rahimi says:

    I feel as if the idea that Mississippians “cherish their traditions” is simply a scapegoat for the truth that we don’t really accept change. It is rooted in our history and upbringing: Going against changing tides, and hanging to the past until the bitter end. This can sometimes be a good thing, but more often than not, it isn’t. I would like to quote a Movie that I really hate, but works for this situation. In the words of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to”. I believe there is hope for Mississippi. In the future, we will find new things that we enjoy and,the older, more rigid beliefs will die off over the generations. The question is, is total and blind change a complete good thing?

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