Saturday, February 14, 2009

Why Mississippi Is Always Last and What We Can Do About It

You know how Mississippi is always ranked last in everything good and first in everything bad. It's embarrassing to be the laughing stock of the nation and also infuriating because we know what Mississippi really has to offer. Well, there may be something we can do about this - it's really easy and doesn't cost a thing.

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about my solution to the economic crisis. If you read it, you know that increased involvement of women in government leads to economic responsibility and prosperity.

After that post, I got to thinking (always dangerous!) about how Mississippi is ranked last in income and other economic indicators - and wondered how we do relative to other states in women's involvement in government. Guess what? We're last again.

We're one of only four states who has never elected a woman to the U S Senate or U S Congress. The others are Delaware, Iowa, and Vermont, but they beat us on other measures.

We've also never had a female governor, a dubious honor we share with Iowa. Ruth Ann Minner just retired last month as Governor of Delaware, the longest serving female governor in the US. Vermont had one of the first female governors, Madeleine Kunin, the only female governor to serve three terms.

However, Iowa has us beat on other measures. We've only had two women serve in statewide office - Evelyn Gandy and Amy Tuck, while Iowa has had eleven. Iowa also currently has a female Lt Governor, Patty Judge, who is interested in being Governor. So we may soon be the only state that has never had a female governor.

So how's our farm team - the state legislature? Not good. We're ranked 47th in the country in percentage of female legislators. - slightly better than Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. Iowa is 28th.

So, we're at the bottom of the country economically - and in terms of females in government. But my theory is that they're related. If we want to get off the bottom of the barrel, we must elect more women.

Electing women is not a Democratic/Republican or liberal/conservative thing - which you can tell by looking at this map. So all of us can get together on this effort to save Mississippi by electing women. Now, a few insecure men may have a problem with this strategy, but real men will realize that women's talents, skills, and opinions need to be represented in our state.

Save Mississippi - Vote for Women!


Elizabeth said...

I was thinking about this post over the weekend and thought how I would never have had to courage to put something up like that. Good for you -- I'll bet you would have made a good suffragette too. You would have been right there, chained to posts, while I was at home knitting but envious at your fervor.

Casey Ann said...

Oh, they're used to me around here. I'm not quite old enough to have been a suffragette, but I was involved nationally in the women's movement is the late 60s and early 70s.

Marty Ellerbe said...

I read your earlier post and find your statement in this post that increased numbers of women in government leads to greater propserity to be inconsistent with the articles you referenced.

Those articles were peppered with words like "maybe" and "could" and Iceland's new prime minister hasn't had time to show whether or not she'll produce any higher levels of prosperity.

I suspect that she will not simply because the monetary system she is working with is inherently flawed and those flaws will have the same influences on a woman led government as they will a man led government.

Look at Hillary's recent trip to China as example. She put human rights second to economic considerations, the chief reason for her trip being to convince (coerce or threaten) China to continue buying US treasury securities.

Another flaw I see in your solution is that you seem to be measuring Mississippi's "goodness", "badness", "firstness" and "lastness" by the standards of success promoted by the male patriarchy. Mississippi, like the federal government, already spends the lion's share of its annual budget on health, education, and welfare so even if an enlightened woman like Iceland's new prime minister took over, exactly how could she improve things, and where would she get the money to do it?

I'm not opposed to the basic idea of more women in government but I suspect the lack of them is due less to some male conspiracy to limit them than to lack of interest on the part of women to prepare themselves to take on these roles. I notice as well that your solutions, and those of the new agenda, including removing all obstacles from the path of women just in case they might want to undertake such preparation- should a woman not sacrifice for what she wants? Or should she have family and career, and be supplied by government with whatever she needs to make that work?

Marty Ellerbe said...

The more I think about this, the more I like the idea Casey Ann. As long as the women elected were thoughtful women, that is. Thoughtful people don't seem to be overly attracted to politics though.

You should run for local office, really. In fact, several of your peers should.

And by the way, thanks for the blog, it's nice to see there are thoughtful women about- why don't they speak up more?

Casey Ann said...

I'm glad you like the blog. Although I ran for office before I moved here, I won't run here. I do, however, support other women running whenever I can. Last year, one of us, Gwen Ball, ran for Alderwoman. Although she didn't win, it was a wonderful experience - and maybe she will win in the future.

eagle1 said...

Yvonne Brown, the black female GOP mayor of Tcula, MS, ran against Benny Thompson in 06. She tried her best but beating Benny is a difficult task, especially since most blacks block vote Democrat(sad in itself).