Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:
The Vicksburg Post on the election and voter turnout in Mississippi’s Warren County:
One of our country’s founding fathers, the man who penned the Declaration of Independence and our country’s third president, had a very profound comment when it came to the very foundation of our democracy - voting.
“We do not have government by the majority,” Thomas Jefferson said. “We have government by the majority who participate.”
And it was that majority, that large turnout of registered voters who spoke out Tuesday. Their voices may not have been in unison on each topic, but they sang in harmony in support for our form of government and our Constitutional right to vote.
Regardless of the outcomes, regardless of who won or which initiative passed, our country won Tuesday by the mere fact that people turned out to vote.
In the past seven county-wide elections, the average voter turnout in Warren County was just over 36 percent, which means that on average about two-thirds of the people who had the right to vote, who were registered to vote, chose not to do so. They failed to vote and failed our community, our state and our nation.
That was not the case Tuesday, when a majority of Warren County’s 27,427 registered voters did so. They either stood in the long lines at polling places Tuesday or were proactive in submitting an absentee ballot before Election Day. The final percentage will have to wait until the local election results are certified, but just look at the absentee ballots as an example.
In the November 2016 presidential election 1,775 absentee ballots were cast, a record number at the time. This year, 4,062 absentee ballots were submitted. Nationally, as many as half of the country’s 330 million people are expected to cast votes.
And the great thing about Tuesday’s election is that it was not a single-contest election. Even though the hotly-contested and divisive presidential election took the headlines, Mississippi voters had much, much more to decide.
Initiatives on medical marijuana and the state flag, as well as Senate and Congressional races, were just as important as the presidential race in charting the future course of the state and country.
In the end, the winners were Warren County, Mississippi, and our country because more people took part in the process and showed up. That is how our country was founded and what separates us from others in the world.
Thomas Jefferson was right when he said “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
He was right when he said it in the 18th Century and he is right today in the 21st.
The Vicksburg Post on events being held in Vicksburg, Mississippi amid the coronavirus pandemic:
In recent weeks, we have started to see Vicksburg become more alive. We have seen events begin to fill our social calendar and events fill the streets and venues throughout the city.
We have seen the annual Over the River Run, while smaller than in years past, still draw hundreds to Vicksburg. We have seen concerts downtown and events like Second Chance Saturday draw residents and visitors alike to our downtown streets and shops.
Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi, since soon after Memorial Day, has brought in teams throughout the region for tournaments and played host to youth baseball, soccer and flag football leagues. There have also been the occasional kickball games where adults, longing to recount the activities of their youth, show up to stretch their legs and their hamstrings.
Businesses and restaurants have returned to near capacity and government restrictions - both on the local and state levels - have become more targeted in this ongoing fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
So with all of these events returning, and new events adding a bit of normalcy to our lives, it is disappointing when events - ones that we have truly loved - are turned to virtual events, drastically changed or canceled. It was a shame COVID-19 restrictions and concerns over the virus led to the cancellation of the high school homecoming parades and the beloved Veteran’s Day Parade.
The annual Christmas Parade, which draws thousands to downtown Vicksburg will be changed this year - likely to a reverse parade - but it at least will still be held. The worry about the virus is warranted and we have criticized those, particularly at the state level, who do not at times appear to take it seriously.
We have called for mask mandates and applauded local leaders for showing true leadership in ensuring the local mandates remain in place. But, we also have seen how effective planning has worked to allow events to remain, while at the same time ensuring a safe environment.
Vicksburg has shown leadership not only in how we have battled the virus but shown leadership in how events can be held. The prime example is the Fourth of July reworks show that was held in the midst of what was a summer surge for the virus. With proper planning and those attending the event following the rules, we can return to something that may not look normal but will feel much closer to it.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on a career exploration program for 10th grade students:
In a time where it may seem difficult to find positive news, we reported on two initiatives that will help students in our region.
Today marks the beginning of the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund’s annual Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo. Like other events this year, everything will be offered virtually, creating even more opportunities for participants.
This event previously allowed eighth grade students throughout the region to learn about 18 career pathways. This year, the decision was made to change this from eighth grade to students in 10th grade. The online portal will feature all 18 pathways, “a day in the life” videos, Mentor for a Minute clips, featuring professionals in the different fields, and a podcast that will offer more in-depth information, including why individuals chose a specific career.
Imagine the Possibilities will last through March 2021. In addition to what’s offered for 10th grade students, all eighth through 12th grade students in the region will have access to resources for the next year.
This program continues to reach our youth during a critical time when they are thinking about what to do after high school and helping students find the path that’s best for them. You can find out more about the expo at www.createfoundation.com.
We also reported last week that the Toyota USA Foundation awarded grants totaling $200,000 to help 8,400 students participate in virtual learning during the global pandemic. Itawamba County School District, South Tippah School District and Monroe County School District each received money, and this is in addition to what the Toyota Wellspring Education Fund provides for eight school districts in Pontotoc, Union and Lee counties.
We applaud the Toyota USA Foundation and the Toyota Wellspring Fund at the CREATE Foundation for its continued support of children in our region.
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