With his family beside him, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood concedes defeat in the race for Mississippi governor at the King Edward Hotel on Nov. 5, 2019. He was the last Democrat who still held statewide office. Photo by Ashton Pittman.
It is time to tell the plain, unvarnished truth about Mississippi politics. We have wasted too much time being dishonest with ourselves and others. We have coddled one another, whined and complained, and frankly just surrendered when we should have been in the thick of battle.
Tuesday night’s election outcomes show that Democrats in Mississippi must stop being weak, naive victims masquerading as a political party.
The Republican Party in Mississippi has revealed itself to be ruthless in pursuing their agenda of minimum taxation and maximum kleptocracy for their voters and their profits. They have rolled over us time after time, and Mississippi has suffered mightily because of our perfidy.
But the Democrats of Mississippi have been accessories in every crime committed by Mississippi Republicans. We need to muster up enough integrity to admit our mea culpa.
What is the matter with the Democratic Party in Mississippi? Well, it is not the fault of the voters.
It is not for a lack of intellect or talent—we have plenty.
It is not poverty—there are many millionaires in our ranks.
And it is not for a lack of ideas—our policy positions are sound.
It is not an organizational structure problem—our party structure is a simple pyramid, and our processes are designed to be inclusive.
So I ask again: What is our problem? It’s the same problem the Lion had in the Wizard of Oz. We suffer from a dreadful shortage of courage.
We equivocate, we dissemble, we obfuscate, we "strategize" and demonstrate clearly that we think we have to trick the people into voting for us. We are two-faced as hell, and the voters know it. That is why so many of them stay home when they could be voting with us.
We cannot blame the Republicans. They are simply pushing their agenda. We cannot blame the voters. They see our cowardice. We cannot blame each other. We are all complicit. We are our own worst enemy.
So what can we do? We can start by being who we are, proudly, rather than trying to mask ourselves and trying to be all things to all people.
We can stick together. Loyalty and comradeship are part and parcel of courage, and we have a duty to stand together.
We can quit lying about not having any money. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also. So write those checks and shut up with the poor mouthing.
We can quit waiting on somebody from somewhere else to save us. Stand up and fight, damn it! The only thing that stopped us from winning this year was our self-doubt. We are right, and they are wrong. Believe it.
Finally, we have to quit being the problem and start being the solution. No one remains a victim without their consent. Swallow your feelings, suck it up, forgive and forget, and start pushing voters toward the ballot.
Start today, Democrats in Mississippi. Stop all the lying, the games, the backbiting and the complaining. It's time to lead with courage.
Cowards never win.
Jacqueline Amos is the chairwoman of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee.