Opinion | Mississippi's governor needs to combat virus, not the feds

What do Mississippians fear more: a deadly virus or a federal government promoting vaccinations?

9/25/2021 7:32:00 PM

.jarvisdeberry: Gov. Reeves’ decision to dial up the demagoguery will likely extend his political life — even as it cuts short the actual lives of Mississippians.

What do Mississippians fear more: a deadly virus or a federal government promoting vaccinations?

, is responding with empty expressions about how tore up he is that so many have died on his watch.“Over 9,000 Mississippians have passed away with Covid, and every single one of them breaks my heart,” Reeves told CNN’s Jake Tapper during a Sept. 19 segment. The August

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death of 13-year-old M’Kayla Robinson, whose school started the year without a mask mandate after Reeves left the decision to individual school district, broke his heart so much that even as he claimed he was praying for her family and all Mississippians who're suffering, he referred to her only as

“You can pray until you faint,” Mississippi’s Fannie Lou Hamer famously said, “but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.”A full quarter of Mississippians “almost never” trust the federal government to do what’s right. headtopics.com

Yet there Reeves sits: not only not doing anything but also refusing to consider doing anything.Tapper appeared to have only one goal during his interview with Reeves: to get him to say Mississippi’s disproportionate death toll requires some action from the state.

But Reeves said that “the question here is not about what we do in Mississippi. It's what this president is trying to impose upon the American worker.” He called Biden’s policy “an attack by the president on hardworking Americans and hardworking Mississippians.”

As Tapper kept asking if he or Mississippi’s lawmakers would do anything, Reeves said, “In Mississippi, our Legislature is a part-time Legislature. … Sometimes I wonder if in America, if our Congress was part-time, we wouldn't be in a better position.”

“Better position than what?” Tapper asked.Reeves: “Mississippi and where we are with the virus.”Tapper: “Your state is second worst, second worst in the world.”Jan. 29, 202102:37People unfamiliar with Mississippi or the South may have watched that exchange and believed Reeves made a poor showing. They may have laughed at his assertion that the U.S. should be looking to Mississippi for guidance and that counting the dead is the wrong way to judge the state’s response to the pandemic. headtopics.com

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But I watched with the disgust of someone who knows that Reeves’ appearance won’t hurt his standing with the state’s conservatives and that it is more likely to bolster it. I watched with anger and with a sick feeling in my stomach that Reeves’ policy of standing back and impugning the feds imperils the lives of people I love.

Is this what youthful leadership is going to bring to the South?Is this what youthful leadership is going to bring to the South? The same state-vs.-feds nonsense that has never paid dividends for anybody but those politicians? Is it just going to be more of the same cynical orations that praise backward thinking and vilify progress as oppression?

Apparently. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading the South in anti-government antipathy, and he’s four years younger than Reeves. Read more: MSNBC »

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