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Monday, we collectively scratched our heads over the racist, scatter-brained antics of Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, who joked for no sane reason about attending "public hangings" -- what we know as, you know, "lynching." Her opponent in the upcoming Senate runoff, Democrat Mike Espy, is black and this seemed especially insensitive in a state where Emmett Till committed "Mississippi suicide." Hyde-Smith didn't apologize but she also didn't double down on the crude remark. That's almost worthy of the Jeff Flake Award for Moral Courage.

However, Hyde-Smith later appeared at a press conference with Governor Phil Bryant, who appointed her to the Senate in April, presumably after she was the 12th caller in a radio promotion. The National Right to Life organization had just endorsed Hyde-Smith (it apparently has a lax policy on hangings). Reporters asked some followup questions about her appalling comments, and she performed as well as Scott Bakula might've if he'd just "Quantum Leaped" into her body and was trying to get his bearings. Oh boy!


Hyde-Smith suffered a Marco Rubio brain fart, saying essentially, "I put out a statement yesterday and that statement yesterday sums up where I stand on the statement I made yesterday." C'mon, lady, is it really beyond you to offer some stirring, heartfelt words about the complex racial history black and white Mississippians share? Fortunately, Bryant was there to speak up and turn things around for the senator.

"Today, I talked about the genocide of over 20 million African American children. See, in my heart, I am confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African American children that have been aborted. No one wants to say anything about that. No one wants to talk about that," Bryant said, with Hyde-Smith and National Right to Life President Carol Tobias standing nearby.

Bryant is probably confused because his heart is dumb. All the anti-abortion crowd ever wants to talk about is Roe v.Wade, rightwing Supreme Court justices, and baby-killing hussies. It's why they're so bad at parties.

Black lives matter a lot to conservatives when they're unborn. Once out of the womb, our value depreciates as rapidly as a car when you drive it off the lot. Bryant also started quoting from Wikipedia, which he described as "someone you may have heard of before." Wikipedia is not a person. Safe to say things went off the rails.

"Look at African Americans," Bryant said.

No, you look at them! All right, fine, hold up while I grab a mirror.

"According to Wikipedia, had those [black] children not been aborted, the African American population would be 48 percent larger in America. Forty-eight percent larger. We can play with those numbers, and we can look at statistics, but the cold, grim truth is, children are being murdered."

Don't bother looking for this Wikipedia page, by the way. I doubt even Bryant believes what he just made up. When immigrant children were forcibly separated from their families at the border, Bryant ignored black state lawmakers who pleaded with him not to send troops for this vile cause. This leads me to suspect he doesn't really want there to be 48 percent more non-white people of the black persuasion in America. I doubt he wants 48 black people here. The state's already 37 percent black. Increase that by almost half and you're on the road to Wakanda. Sure, Republicans would just keep us from voting but it's still risky.

Bryant claims he's worried about "black genocide." There's already one in his ancestral past that's commemorated on the state flag and with numerous Confederate monuments. You'd think Mississippi would have at least one statue in honor of Margaret Sanger.

Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund Executive Director Laurie Bertram-Roberts smacked Bryant's "abortion is black genocide" theory upside its raggedy head.

"First of all, black women are not committing genocide when the same women he's talking about are the mothers of black children," she said. "To commit genocide, you have to be trying to eliminate a race of people. By definition, that cannot be black mothers. The majority of women who have abortions are also mothers. … Number two, Phil Bryant has never made a policy or endorsed a policy that helps black babies in this state."

I imagine if Bertram-Roberts had a third point for Bryant, it would've been non-verbal.

Espy came within striking distance of Hyde-Smith on Election Day. Runoff polls have them effectively tied. If Hyde-Smith and Bryant keep stepping in it, maybe black voters will turn out in sufficient numbers to turn the seat blue. Stranger things with the name Doug Jones have happened.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He recently fled Seattle, where he did theatre work for Book-It Rep and Cafe Nordo.

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