Wyatt Explains Wealth, Equality and Liberalism to Us | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Wyatt Explains Wealth, Equality and Liberalism to Us

Wyatt Emmerich crawled out from under his Northside rock long enough this week to pen this priceless column, which appears in one of his Delta newspaeprs:

The liberals see the country as fixed in concrete, as though nobody makes more or less. They see the poor as the poor and the rich as the rich, with nothing changing. This just isn't how it works.

Think about people you know. Think about young people who have moved up in their careers. Think about all the young people from lower-income families who are now successful professionals. Think about how many once-wealthy families are working hard to pay their bills. Life doesn't stay the same. Things change.

I subscribe to the concept of the safety net and we have a good one in this country. Any seriously ill person can walk into any emergency room in the country and get treatment, no questions asked. We have dozens of welfare programs. Half the adults in Mississippi don't work. Anyone who is willing to show up on time, stay sober and work hard can get a good job in Mississippi. The truth of this is obvious to any observant Mississippian.

We all have fresh water, air conditioning, cars, more food than we need, TV, radio, the Internet, cell phones, etc. Given this prosperity, how important is equality?

By itself, I suppose equality is a good thing. We were all taught to share as children. Certainly, Christ taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Previous Comments

ID
130111
Comment

We all have fresh water, air conditioning, cars, more food than we need, TV, radio, the Internet, cell phones, etc. Given this prosperity, how important is equality? I guess Wyatt hasn't deal with interns in West Jackson who desperately want to learn the newspaper trade, but have no way to get here, or to get around to do stories, or whose cars are constantly breaking down and they can't afford to fix them. Talk about clueless about real life.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-22T10:23:10-06:00
ID
130113
Comment

Seriuosly ill walking into ANY emergency room and getting treatment with no questions asked. Bullcrap if I ever heard it. Even HD knows this is a lie. I know lots of people without air conditioners or airconditioning. Love our neighbors as ourselves. Sounds very muck like a republican. Christ did teach this, though; but we know that few republicans if any believe this. Neither do Democrats show much evidence of believing this. I won't even mention how many so-called announced Christians deal with treating their neighbors. I just hope I never need my neighbors. Wyatt is on that stuff, but i like him a little bit. Bless his heart! Anne Richards, late governor of Texas, made a quote concerning George W. Bush that fits him - a silver foot in the mouth.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-22T11:04:13-06:00
ID
130114
Comment

In fact the seriously ill person would be asked so many damn questions before getting treatment that he or she would wish they were outside somewhere dying a peaceful death disconnected to the hospital.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-22T11:13:24-06:00
ID
130117
Comment

At $135 for a barrel of oil, Mr. Emmerich's prosperity is quickly disappearing. It's intersting that he frames prosperity around consumerism - the things that we have versus the things that we should really value, like serving each other... I think thats more in line with WWJD. Wyatt would just have us all go out and buy a bunch of things that we really didn't need in the first place. Equality? Yea right....

Author
lanier77
Date
2008-05-22T12:02:07-06:00
ID
130118
Comment

Good God. Just what Mississippi needs. Proof of ignorance. Where does he get this stuff? Liberals think everyone's the same? Prosperity makes up for equality? And aw shucks, once-wealthy people have to work for a living these days? Oh. My. God. Just thinking about the fact that someone might actually agree with this sophomoric drivel makes my head hurt and my stomach roil. Oh, and then there's this bit of half-baked wisdom: "Half the adults in Mississippi don't work. Anyone who is willing to show up on time, stay sober and work hard can get a good job in Mississippi." The MS unemployment rate in April 2008 was 5 percent, and it took about 5 seconds to find the data. Where, Mr. Emmerich, are you getting this slop? Like the reader on his site commented: "This has to be the dumbest column I have ever read."

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-05-22T12:16:52-06:00
ID
130121
Comment

I just want to know, did sunshine, bunnies and rainbows pop out of the columns a$$ at the end? I wish he would have named it "Written Proof of Ignorance of my own White Priviledge" and we all could have read the title and not wasted the next five minutes of our lives. "The truth of this is obvious to any observant Mississippian." BLESS. HIS. HEART.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-05-22T13:50:00-06:00
ID
130122
Comment

[Whistles low with admiration] Lori, I have missed you. Where you been? Go join Lounge List if you haven't. You're in demand. And can I repeat that he published that poo IN THE FRACKIN' DELTA?!? Ommmmm.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-22T13:57:49-06:00
ID
130123
Comment

I've been in Key West for a week and a half drinking and thinking about running away from my life. I got a sinus infection from the coral dust, figured out a few more "life lessons", and decided to come home. Joining the Lounge List is on my list of things to do today.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-05-22T14:09:28-06:00
ID
130124
Comment

"Half the adults in Mississippi don't work" is particularly irritating, because (a) as Ronni pointed out, the actual unemployment rate is about one-tenth that, and (b) I have a pretty good idea which half of Mississippi adults he thinks he's referring to.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2008-05-22T14:10:50-06:00
ID
130125
Comment

Yes, playing that saw to the people he perceives as his readers bothers me *almost* as much as the slavery column award. I don't think he's intentionally trying to come across as he does, but that might be worse if you know what I mean. It does represent a sadly large chunk of thought in this state, but not as much as outsiders think. Unfortunately, it's such ignorance that often gets slung around as what this state is about. That means the rest of our voices have to get louder and louder. People with ideas like this are why I left in the first place. People like most of you here are the reason I came back. It's our state, too.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-22T14:19:49-06:00
ID
130126
Comment

(Love me some Key West, Lori. Except during spring break. Have you gone to Hemingway's house and met the kitties? Need. Vacation. Badly.)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-22T14:20:43-06:00
ID
130129
Comment

I read the whole column. I like some of his deductions. Too bad he never took time to step beyond his socialization and learn some truths about others beyond his level, financially, socially and intellectually. When you're the mark of excellence and perfection as he knows he is, and as so described by high or blessd heritage or aristocracy , you don't learn about others, they learn about you. This shouldn't be that hard for you commoners to understand. Duh!

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-22T14:53:37-06:00
ID
130134
Comment

WE. What's this we? I'm going to calm down and then I'm going to invite Wyatt to some places around the corner from him where people don't have all the things he's talking about and yes I'm dead serious.

Author
msgrits
Date
2008-05-22T15:41:35-06:00
ID
130136
Comment

Let's put Wyatt on a bus and give him a tour of the rest of his city, and his state. BTW, he complained in this week's issue that people were judging him the words of someone else (the guy who wrote the thanks-for-slavery column he rewarded). But this one is all him.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-22T15:44:44-06:00
ID
130145
Comment

I can think of LOTS of people who don't have A/C. In my line of work, I talk to people all the time for whom this is a major problem. And guess what? Most of them WORK too!! Somebody needs a clue-by-four.

Author
andi
Date
2008-05-22T21:39:22-06:00
ID
130146
Comment

Indeed, Andi... For that matter, everybody I've ever seen whip out a supercard works for a living but doesn't make enough to pay for groceries. And the groceries you can get on an EBT card aren't great. As for cars: Even if someone is lucky enough to have one (and a lot of folks aren't), and can afford to keep one maintained (and a lot of folks with cars can't--hence the so-called "eyesore" of cars in low-income neighborhoods up on bricks), how can somebody who makes $5.85/hour afford $4/gallon gas? I know plenty of folks who don't have TV because they can't afford it... Trying to access the Internet solely through the library isn't feasible for most people... Cell phones cost money, and the state doesn't pay for them... The only things on the list that everybody really can access are fresh water (except during boil water notices) and the radio. All of the rest is iffy for people who don't have money...

Author
Tom Head
Date
2008-05-22T21:58:14-06:00
ID
130156
Comment

And last I checked even the water bill has to be paid. ;-) This is a standard-issue "markets always work" argument from Wyatt, but it's interesting (and useful) in its own way. As Walt pointed out, there are things in his overall column that you can agree with. But never has the phrase "whistling past the graveyard" been more apt than when applied to Wyatt's defense of the MS-GOP line of argumentation. The strawman most of us are commenting on in this thread is what ultimately undoes Wyatt in this piece -- it's the apocryphal "liberal" that Wyatt conjures, who stands in stark contrast to his "compassionate conservative" approach that says, in a nutshell, that things are just fine on the domestic front here in America because if you give TOO MUCH help to people in trouble, they will abuse it and hurt themselves worse. While there may be some sort of reasonable guidance in that sentiment for public policy, in attempting to prove that judgement sound (e.g. that the "safety net" is sufficient in this country and the economy works for all who will work for it), Wyatt goes on to catalog a number of generalized falsehoods that suggest he's out of touch with reality and, therefore, not to be trusted on this front. So here's what interests me about this sort of argument -- how much the binary logic *hurts* the pitch. In order to shill for the MS-GOP mindset, Wyatt requires a scarecrow "liberal" -- whom he then knocks over with machismo, but then accidentally trips over himself. (You can almost see Wyatt there on the ground, struggling to get free and spit out a mouthful of straw.) The binary requirement hurts the rest of his argument, because the false dilemma he creates in order to support his argument for what might be interesting programs (flat taxes, etc.) is easily knocked down. And that, frankly, is what I think the GOP is faced with right now when it comes to their "election narrative." Voters who are comforted by the binary thinking and the strawmen will continue to vote that way, no doubt. ("Hi, we're lobbyists for large multinational corporations...and we're here to help you.") But those who start to wonder if it's really an "either-or" -- which, by the way, is the basis of Obama's whole stump speech -- may start looking around for other options, like the did in MS-01.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2008-05-23T09:49:28-06:00
ID
130159
Comment

(You can almost see Wyatt there on the ground, struggling to get free and spit out a mouthful of straw.) Tee, hee. Best description of the crime of logical fallacy I've ever seen. ;-) I agree with the others; Wyatt ruined what come have been a thought-provoking column with simply ludicrous statements that everyone -- beyond the most privileged and the N-JAM sushi club -- knows just isn't true. The lack of thinking that goes into such a sentence thus discredits his whole column? We all have fresh water, air conditioning, cars, more food than we need, TV, radio, the Internet, cell phones, etc. Given this prosperity, how important is equality? He just sounds like an out-of-touch rich guy trying to justify the Republican National Committee's dying platform. It's the tone of most of his columns -- but this one really brings it home. All of this said, one-on-one, Wyatt is a pretty nice guy, and comes across smarter than his writings, leading me to think a lot of this is pandering to people he believes think that way, so he throws them read meat. But he looks ridiculous doing it, especially in a changing country and state. People just aren't buying this binary crap in the same way, anymore. They need new talking points; these are dead.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T09:57:10-06:00
ID
130160
Comment

I'll say one more thing that hadn't struck me until now. That fact that Wyatt typed the line "Given this prosperity, how important is equality?" is extraordinary to me. Amazing. I'd say the importance of equality is "self-evident." I seem to even remember a famous line to that extent. I'm not sure if it was Caesar, Twain or someone else -- some damned liberal, no doubt -- who penned it.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2008-05-23T10:13:03-06:00
ID
130161
Comment

That does seem to be the Sentence o' the Week. One wonders if he understands what the word "equality" means. Maybe someone who's never lacked it has a hard time getting its importance? There is no more textbook meaning of "privilege" than that. Self-evident, indeed.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T10:20:40-06:00
ID
130162
Comment

Donna, I agree with your guess that Mr. EM is really a nice guy and his racist remarks are just a business tactic to pander to his readership base, just as Kim Wade does on radio, and just as Hitler did in Germany. As for the unemployment rate being 5% in Mississippi. Let me remind you that during the Regan (?) administration the Department of Labor revised it's definition of unemployment as being based upon the number of people "actively seeking work"..i.e using the respective state unemployment office service to secure a job. Therefore the "long term unemployed" are no longer considered in the calculation of the unemployment rate. The long term unemployed include, among others, teenagers who have never held a job, the unskilled, the un and undereducated, the homeless (no addres = no way to access services), those who have exhausted their un-employment benefits, those working "off the books" in the underground economy, and those breaking into your house to steal cars, electronics, guns and copper. In other words the unemployment rate among those cited above, physically able to work but who for whatever reason have chosen another way to care for themselves, is probably much higher than that 5%, especially in chronically, and might I add systematically, economically depressed areas such as the Delta, Appalachia and urban inner cities could be as high as 50% if you include the "excluded" noted above. Getting back to Mr. Nice Guy EM and his ilk. A snake by any other name is still a snake..no matter how attractive his spots and stripes.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-05-23T10:28:31-06:00
ID
130164
Comment

[quote]I'll say one more thing that hadn't struck me until now. That fact that Wyatt typed the line "Given this prosperity, how important is equality?" is extraordinary to me. Amazing. I'd say the importance of equality is "self-evident." I seem to even remember a famous line to that extent. I'm not sure if it was Caesar, Twain or someone else -- some damned liberal, no doubt -- who penned it.[/quote] The only famous line that comes to mind for me is, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." I'd say that equality is very important if the concept of it is woven in the very fabric of our nation. So some think that not wearing a flag pin in unpatriotic? If so, then not taking equality seriously is unpatriotic to the nth degree.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-05-23T10:39:12-06:00
ID
130165
Comment

Casual Observer, you have a lot of work to do if you want to convince me that 45% of the population is "long term unemployed." That seems a little far-fetched, to say the least. Where did you get that number? With respect to Wyatt, I'm sure he has no sinister agenda but one of the mistakes that comes along sometimes with white conservative definitions of racism is that it tends to be about what people meant rather than what people actually did. If y'all don't mind indulging a crosslink or two, I wrote at great length on that here (in terms of personal conduct) and in slightly shorter form here (in terms of public policy). Truth is that Wyatt can do racism, I can do racism, Donna can do racism, you can do racism. Racism is not something that only bad people do. The worst kinds of racism are rooted more in moral blindness, inertia, and politeness than in intentional hatred, and in that respect Wyatt is only saying what most white Mississippians probably believe. Hell, I grew up believing some of it myself, and I've socialized in an integrated setting since I was 4 years old. It's hard to escape these sticky old beliefs. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to hold statements like his accountable in an attempt to change those beliefs.

Author
Tom Head
Date
2008-05-23T10:42:12-06:00
ID
130166
Comment

Casual, Todd and I were talking last night about the difference between the unemployment rate and people "seeking work." I would be curious to see the source of half the adults in Mississippi not working, or seeking work, however. Otherwise, to me pandering to ugly thoughts is as bad as having them. I mean, what is the difference when you think about it? I always say that I care a whole lot more what people say or do than how they "feel" in their hearts. I mean, who can know that for sure anyway? One of the biggest problems here sounds that Emmerich is just not thinking through what he writes before publishing it. He didn't seem to have considered the content of the slavery-was-good argument he awarded, either. He later apologized -- here -- but the question is how it got in the paper in the first place, and with an award attached? You get the feeling he thinks his audience digs fallacious arguments that appeal to their personal dogma. Personally, I think Mississippians are, or can be, smarter than that. And I think the GOP is about to run head-long into the result of playing their constiuents and readers for fools and bigots all these years. MS-01 was a warning bell.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T10:46:00-06:00
ID
130167
Comment

Agreed, Tom. Good post. I've been working my whole life to exorcise the racism my culture taught me. I readily admit it. And we rather cross-posted on what people say vs. what they do. The "what's in their hearts" argument is a strawman. It really means nothing when it differs from actions and words, especially public ones. And we have to hold these statements accountable, or you end with a situation where white readers of a certain newspaper don't even raise an eyebrow because they've heard the same lies so many times that they assume they're true. I have to believe that's what happened with the slavery column. The saddest part to me is not that the man wrote it or was awarded, but that it didn't send alarms to the editors there or the readers later. Wyatt said it himself: no one complained to the paper, so he didn't feel a need to apologize to them. It's the classic example of a newspaper publisher telling select readers exactly what they want to hear. Reminds me of the Ledger editor on a panel with me who said they didn't tell people more about Melton during the campaign because "the readers didn't want to hear it." There is a wonderful quote from Dr. King on this kind of willful ignorance, but I'll have to find it. I have it at home in my notes.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T10:51:34-06:00
ID
130168
Comment

Donna -- I think this is what you're looking for: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and consciencious stupidity."

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2008-05-23T11:12:01-06:00
ID
130169
Comment

Yep, that's it. Thanks. There's a great back story behind where I was when I first heard that quote. But I can't tell y'all just yet. You can read it in the book someday.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T11:21:07-06:00
ID
130173
Comment

Ronni - great quote. It's truly terrifying what human stupidity and ignorance can create. I used to be caught off guard by it, as I get older I am less surprised. More astonished.

Author
Izzy
Date
2008-05-23T13:26:04-06:00
ID
130178
Comment

Agreed; that's a great MLK quote! It reminds me of a saying I heard a few years ago: "Failure to take action when action is called for is, in and of itself, taking action." Can't remember who said it, but it stuck with me.

Author
Kacy
Date
2008-05-23T14:31:28-06:00
ID
130181
Comment

Wyatt is good people, though. I have refused to renew my subscription for going on 3 years now, yet I get the paper every week. Surely, this must be part of his effort to reach out and touch someone. I saw some black children in his paper yesterday.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-23T14:36:38-06:00
ID
130184
Comment

Words to live by, Kacy. Sadly, many people don't–especially if there is some juicy carrot, or appointment, waiting for them if they don't.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T14:57:02-06:00
ID
130187
Comment

Tom, Todd and Donna I agree with you that I presented a gross exaggeration by using 50%. I should have said the unemployment rate would be INCREASED by 50%. In addition, the higher unemployment rate would be applied to the specific subgroup, not the entire population. For example the published unemployment rate in the MS Delta is 10.9% (Sunflower Co.); however, this figure does not include the Bureau of Labor Statistics so called "marginally attached and discouraged workers" I described above. So the unemployment rate would be closer to 15% if you include the marginally attached and discouraged workers. Also, don't forget that most economists define "full employment" as between 2% to 7%, depending upon which school of economic theory they subscribe to. I am sure that we all can agree that MS is nowhere near "full employment" by any measure. Thanks for the heads up Tom! As for WE being "good people" and maybe not thinking through what he writes before he publishes. The thought process the good Mr WE uses to write and publish his columns is the same process he uses to oppose the full funding and equitable funding of education, affirmative action, an equitable tax system, etc. Until his racial peers consistently call WE out and hurt him in his pocketbook, he will continue to produce racist drivel. How do you hurt him in his pocketbook? Boycotts were very effectively used in the Civil Rights era. The tactic is still available, viable and lethal; however the leadership is weak. PS: By the way as a point of clarification: you don't boycott the paper, you selectively boycott his advertisers!

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2008-05-23T16:25:08-06:00
ID
130188
Comment

I don't touch the idea of newspaper boycotts, Casual, not in any kind of organized way. I suspose you could say I boycott it personally because I haven't picked it up in months. But beyond that, I think it's useful for people to actually say this stuff in public -- so that it can be called out and discussed such as here. I'm always for speech leading to more speech, not for trying to drive it out.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-23T16:28:00-06:00
ID
130189
Comment

I forgot Wyatt was against affirmative action. Sorry, he is not good people. Off to Chicago. Look for me on Chicago's top-rated show. No, not Oprah. Springer! I'll have on a shirt with, Walt from Mississippi. I'll be in the audience not on stage.

Author
Walt
Date
2008-05-23T16:36:52-06:00
ID
130190
Comment

Bring us some Jerry beads back!

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-05-23T17:15:54-06:00
ID
130192
Comment

I've got a 5 spot that says Walt ends up scrapping w/ that bald bouncer.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2008-05-23T18:53:44-06:00
ID
130198
Comment

Holy cow! I never read an article with his name at the top (not good for the old blood pressure). And here you went and made me read part of one. Shame on you.

Author
C.W.
Date
2008-05-24T08:26:35-06:00
ID
130202
Comment

Sorry, C.W. Reality can bite.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-05-24T12:56:37-06:00

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