Lifelong Mississippian and local folk musician Sherman Lee Dillon made history on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 27, when he filed a statement of intent and announced his candidacy for governor, becoming the first person in Mississippi to run for public office on the Green Party ticket. However, instead of spending the night previous to his big announcement schmoozing with potential donors or hunkered down in campaign headquarters, Sherman Lee and his band, the Tuff Nutts, entertained a crowd at Hal & Mal's, as they often do. Except for a brief, private interview, no public mention was made of Dillon's political aspirations. Even as his campaign manager Landon Huey sipped a non-libation near the stage and wrote out a speech by hand, Dillon went on about the business of giving his fans what they came for…good music.
As I sat in the audience, I couldn't help but compare what I know of the candidates and their respective parties. To quote Dillon, "The Republicans have not said or done anything new in 50 years, and the Democrats couldn't have a creative thought if they tried." He has a point: high crime, inadequate education and low wages have been and continue to be thorns in the sides of the state. The two major parties have switched back and forth a bit, but neither has done much to get us out of the basement. At the very least, the Green Party offers Mississippians a different path.
Still in its sapling state, the Green Party has been recognized as a political party in Mississippi for less than a year, which, according to Dillon, leaves "plenty of room for growth."
I have only met Sherman Lee Dillon once, but that is one more time than I have met Haley Barbour or Ronnie Musgrove, the party's front-runners. You seem to get what you see with Dillon: This self-described "plain old Joe" is unpretentious and logical in his approach to making educational and economic improvements to the state, while maintaining the natural environment. He plans to take that message to all 82 counties, and says he will not accept donations over $200 and only from individuals.
But despite good ideas and good intentions, Dillon, of course, is still the underdog. Perhaps Kermit the Frog said it best: "It's not easy being green." And in the world of politics, which is divided into two very separate concepts of right and wrong, black and white, Democrat and Republican, it ain't necessarily easy being a member of the relatively new and often disregarded Green Party.
You can often catch Dillon at local venues such as Hal & Mal's and Fenian's. The Green Party of Mississippi meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday nights at Rainbow Whole Foods Cooperative Grocery in Fondren.
— Courtney Lange
He has my vote!
- Knol Aust