Mississippians scold their children from toddlerhood forward for anything perceived as rude. Say sir and ma’am. Sit up straight. Don’t speak unless spoken to. Don’t say anything that might hurt somebody’s feelings, or about politics, or about church–unless it’s to claim how much you love your own.
Suppression comes naturally to us. Sometimes I wonder if we can fully articulate what we feel.
Our cult of mannerly behavior also makes it far more difficult to stand up for the truths embraced by a minority. We have a long history of using manners to shun those influenced by outside agitators and woke college professors. Mississippi isn’t a state, it’s a social club. Want to put an end to dissent? Don’t invite the dissenters to the party. Don’t let their bills out of committee and onto the open floor of the legislature.
Would Mississippi be a better place if we worried less about mannerly behavior and more about truth? Or should we continue to embrace manners, lest we find it impossible to get along without them?