As it so happens, I finished my glorious career in the Army of the United States, not the United States Army, in the great state of Mississippi.  I use that title, “the great state of Mississippi,” because it is always used by politicians.  In August of 1945, I had returned to this country after 28 months abroad and had received a thirty-day furlough from the Army of the United States.  At the conclusion of the furlough, I was to report to a town called Greenwood, Mississippi where we were to be prepared for the final assault on the Japanese homeland.  During that period in Greenwood, we were to be introduced to a new airplane called the A-26, which had replaced the A-20.  But the A-26 never appeared.  Earlier in August in that year of 1945, we had bombed Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, which caused the Emperor Hirohito to throw in the towel.  On August 15th or 16th, the diminutive emperor sent a crippled diplomat, top hat and all, to Tokyo Bay where he was forced to climb the rigging of the Battleship Missouri to sign a document presented by General MacArthur that concluded the war.  But as you know, military orders are orders and must be followed.  And so it was that at the end of August, I reported to a non-existent training for the A-26 based in Greenwood, which had no such airplanes in store.  They were never to appear, by the way.

Aside from that experience, I know nothing to speak of admirably about “the great state of Mississippi.”  It has been, I believe, 66 years since I have been there and I do not yearn to go back there.

Now comes news that on November 8, which is Tuesday of this week, Mississippians will be asked to vote on a measure that will change the constitution of the great state of Mississippi.  Here is what they will vote on, which includes an explanation furnished by the great state of Mississippi:

On November 8th, 2011, Mississippi voters will decide whether to add an amendment to the Mississippi State Constitution.  The text of the ballot referendum will read:

Initiative #26 would amend the Missisippi Constitution to define the word “person” or “persons”, as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.

The language of the proposed new Article III, Section 33 would be as follows:

Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”

Passage of this initiative, which seems likely, could have a profound effect on civil liberties, both in Mississippi and nationally.

I am not a Rhodes Scholar and I have no credentials in the profession of legalistic interpretations.  But it is quite clear that Mississippians are going to be asked to take the law back to prehistoric times.  A close reading of the ballot measure would disclose that anyone involved in an abortion would be guilty of murder.  That of course is my interpretation and I have found few people who would disagree with that.  Joseph Ratzinger, who is the current Pope, has said that he would like to take the Church back to the second century of the Common Era.  Why he chose the second century is a mystery.  In any event, it is clear that the German Pope would like things the way they were more than 2,000 years ago.  Mississippi has gone even further than the Pope has.  I gather that a close reading of the ballot measure would relay the idea that anyone associated with an abortion in the great state of Mississippi was guilty of murder.  Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, is not entranced by this ballot measure.  He has said that he will vote against it.  Over the years, I have had no reason to agree with Haley Barbour but in this case I do find myself in agreement with the great governor of the great state of Mississippi.  You will note that in the explanation, no exceptions are provided for rape or incest or the life of the mother.  Once the egg is fertilized, the die is cast and people who toy with that procedure will do so under the penalty of murder.

The election will take place on Tuesday, which is two days from now, and I will try to amend this essay with the results of the voting.  But I believe that all of you know where your Uncle Ezra comes from.  It is my view that women should be free to govern their own destinies.  I cannot understand the attempt by religious authorities to impose greater burdens upon the female race.  Women bear the children and keep track of how the household is running.  I should think that that is enough but in this vote Mississippi wishes to impose another burden upon them.  It goes without saying that Mississippi together with its neighboring state of Alabama has degraded the American society.   This same ballot measure has been defeated on two occasions, as I understand it, in the state of Colorado.  I understand that there are those who continue to try to get states to put it on a ballot in the hope that somewhere it might succeed.

In the end I hold the view that a woman must have control over her own body and no religious authorities or legal authorities should intrude upon that right.  But as of this moment, we will await the outcome of the balloting in the great state of Mississippi.

There is one final thought before the end results of the balloting are to be announced.  I reported to Greenwood, Mississippi around the first of September in 1945.  The army at that point was most intent upon keeping as many as soldiers as it could through re-enlistment.  On one occasion the Colonel who commanded Greenwood required us all to attend a pep talk in the theater which must have held perhaps a thousand men.  In the midst of the pep talk, the colonel got so wound up that he was confused and a GI in the audience stood up and yelled, “Colonel, why don’t you try it in a prone position?”  From that point, the Colonel had lost his audience and the war being over, we had no problem with ignoring military discipline and yelling at him.  I suppose that was not a high mark in his career as an army officer.

There is one other thought that I feel compelled to report to you.  When my orders finally came through to report to Scott Field, Illinois I went to the local railroad station and caught the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad to go to Memphis.  At Memphis there was a bus of antiquated design to take us the final 300 miles to St. Louis, my home.  The bus was crowded and a young woman occupied the aisle seat next to me.  She was a talkative sort and soon she disclosed that she had been raised on a farm in Mississippi and was now going to St. Louis to be a whore.  I thought that this was very interesting and before long she disclosed that the bus, as antiquated as it could be, had a rest stop in a town called Blytheville, Arkansas just before it crossed into the state of Missouri.  She said that the bus would be there about 15 minutes and that if we had the desire to consummate our love-making, there would be time to do it.  I am certain that all of my readers would like to know that I did not take her up on her offer.  As a matter of fact, my new wife was waiting for me at the bus depot in St. Louis.  So I refrained from dealing with the prospective whore from Mississippi.  But she was a nice conversationalist who helped to pass the time on a long bus trip that was punctuated by the squeaks and groans of the bus.

Until the results of the voting on the ballot measure prescribing murder for those involved in abortions are announced, perhaps on Tuesday evening, I intend to let this essay rest.  But it is clear that while Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope, wishes to take us only back to the second century, the measure that is being voted on will take us back to prehistoric times.  Let us hope for the best.

This is an update on the Mississippi personhood debate.  After I had dictated the foregoing essay, I found out that Haley Barbour has voted in favor of the personhood amendment.  Haley was always a troglodyte in my estimation so this is becoming to him.  The personhood amendment, however, was voted down by the people of Mississippi by a vote of 58 to 42.  I hope never to hear of it again.



November 7, 2011

Essay 607


Kevin’s commentary: Given that this anti-abortion bill has built in for provisions for human cloning, I am convinced that Mississippi actually exists in some impossible intersection of the future and the stone age. I posit that the great state of Mississippi change its motto to the “anytime but the present” state.

P.S. read more about this particular vote and how it wound up failing here.

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