Mississippi Election Lady Worries: 'The Blacks' Are Registering Voters, But What About PEOPLE?
A county elections official in Mississippi pissed off people all over the internet when she made comments on Facebook about how "the blacks" are registering lots of voters, so "people" ought to hold registration events too. But wait, Gail Welch, a member of the Jones County Election Commission, didn't mean anything racist in contrasting "the blacks" and "people," she just meant everyone should do all they can to register to vote, that's all.
Which if you want to get all technical about it, could have been accomplished quite effectively by writing "Everyone in Mississippi should make sure they register and vote this year." Instead of what Welch actually wrote in the now-deleted reply to someone else, which was,
I'm a Election Commissioner in Jones county. I'm concerned about voter registration in Mississippi. The blacks are having lots events for voter registration. People in Mississippi have to get involved, too. Thank you fir all you do.
On Wednesday, US Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) said he opposed letting Washington DC be a state, because if you get outside DC, to "where the real people are at across our country," you'll learn real people oppose DC statehood. Heaven knows no actual people live there.
This must be the week for white people to officially say stupid shit that excludes Black people from the category of "people." Funny how that happens!
The Mississippi Clarion Ledger spoke to Welch, who has been the "Beat 1" commissioner for Jones County for more than 20 years, about her comments, and she "clarified" that she was simply concerned about voter apathy in general, don't you see?
We've always in the past had whites really participating in registering to vote. So many people don't seem to be concerned about (voting).
Hmmm. Still not quite sure why she was "concerned" about those Black groups doing voter registration. Maybe she just needs to sign up for a Lee Atwater Dogwhistle Refresher Course, so she could have said "Democratic groups have been holding lots of voter registration drives, I am worried about fraud!" Or if she really meant everyone needs to be registered to vote, she might have said that without singling out "the blacks" as a separate category from "people in Mississippi"? It's a tough one!
Welch also offered the explanation that she thought she was posting a private reply to another Facebook user, and didn't realize her comments were out in public, as if that makes her comments all better. We haven't seen any explanations of what was in the Facebook comment she was replying to or what that person was being thanked fir. Maybe it was an admiring post about what an impressive job local Black churches had done with voter outreach. That seems far more likely than the possibility that the person she replied to was also worried about all the Black voters out there.
Still, Welch had found her explanation, and she clung to it for dear life, insisting she could have "worded things a little better" and that she's simply bothered by "low voter turnout," not low turnout by any particular voters.
We aren't so sure. Would it have been any better if she'd written, The blacks are having lots events for voter registration. White people in Mississippi have to get involved, too? Or even The blacks are having lots events for voter registration. All people in Mississippi have to get involved, too?
Oh, how about this? "I'm concerned about voter registration in Mississippi. Some groups, like (name some civic groups! They exist!) have been registering lots of people, but we need more efforts to get everyone involved."
Odd she didn't just say something like that, huh?
State Sen. Juan Barnett, a Democrat whose district includes part of Jones County, tried his best to give Welch the benefit of the doubt, diplomatically telling the Clarion Ledger he wasn't sure how exactly Welch meant her comments, but that her comments certainly didn't inspire confidence that the voting commission was free of bias:
"With people saying that kind of stuff, it makes them question, if this person is over the election, are they really going to run this?" Barnett said. "Are they really going to do what they say they're going to do? It puts that office that you're holding … now there's some credibility issues with that office. Not necessarily with you, but in that office."
And that, kids, is about the best you can say about the whole mess. Maybe she "meant well." But that didn't make it any better.
Play us out, Ms. Simone:
Nina Simone Mississippi Goddam www.youtube.com
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.