Your Opinion: Conservative policies, not statistics, at fault

Dear Editor:

My May 6 submission revealed the current, real-world impact of conservative policies implemented in the self-identified conservative policy-making of Mississippi and our need in Missouri to comprehend what the real-world impact in that Mississippi petri dish predicts for Missouri. Steven Brown’s rebuttal on May 15 requires a response on three points.

Clearly, the top-of-mind concern was my noted curious alignment of porn-subscriptions in Mississippi, a state self-identified as among the most Christian. Please note my use of the terms curious alignment. Pornography subscriptions through our broadband ethos are statistical analyses as verifiable as YouTube hits, Facebook likes and any other number of computer functions. Facts are facts and the discomfort of those facts cannot be dismissed simply because of their failure to comply with expectations.

More troubling for me was Brown’s assertion that my piece verged on racism because of the number of African-Americans in Mississippi. My policy review did not mention color once. Also, blaming African-American citizens in Mississippi for the state’s policy positions and their impact is like blaming the rape victim for the rape.

African-Americans compose 37 percent of Mississippi’s population but only 29 percent or less of its State Senate Districts have African-American majorities and only 34 percent of State House Districts since 2000. I will accept the judgment of the members of the African-American community with whom I have developed a personal relationship as to my racial openness. Brown’s judgment is intellectually bankrupt and reflects no knowledge of me as a person.

As to the substance of my piece, statistical analysis does not install Mississippi as among the worst states in the metrics of child poverty, child abuse, low graduation rates, infant mortality and education. Mississippi’s conservative policies did. Statistical analysis does not install Mississippi as among the worst states in the metrics of obesity, low birth weight, overall health determinants and life expectancy. Mississippi’s conservative policies did. Statistical analysis does not install Mississippi as among the worst states in the metrics of median income, per capita income and availability of primary care physicians. Mississippi’s conservative policies did. I did not smear Mississippi. Mississippi’s conservatives and their policies created this social policy failure.

Finally, as to the assertion that liberal programs and the two dollars received in federal spending for one dollar of federal taxes paid are Mississippi’s real problem, I would suggest that all of the metrics above would be much worse without those federal dollars.

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