November 4, 2007

Mississippi Governor's Race: Bush Crony vs. Theocrat

On Tuesday, my fellow Mississippi residents and I will be asked to cast our votes in the gubernatorial race. Republican incumbent and Bush crony, Haley Barbour, faces Democratic challenger, John Eaves. Ordinarily, I'd feel fairly comfortable voting for whoever the Democratic Party decided to run. Barbour is about as good-ole-boy as good ole boys get. Not only does he want to restrict a woman's right to make reproductive decisions, but he's notorious for his corruption in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, Eaves is no ordinary Democrat. The heart of his campaign involves pushing school prayer.

To say that I am undecided in this election would be quite an understatement. I despise Barbour and all he stands for (e.g., maintaining the highest grocery tax in America while running the poorest state in the country, cronyism, corruption, support for the criminal who currently occupies the White House, etc.). But do I despise him enough to support a theocrat?

Is it fair to call Eaves a theocrat? I believe so, for his entire campaign appears to be about infusing his Christian faith in everything he does or says. Here are some examples:
  • Eaves' campaign ads, aired throughout the state, tout his plan to push school prayer. Other ads feature him holding a Christian bible and talking about Jee-zuhs.
  • The centerpiece of Eaves campaign is his plan for instituting school prayer throughout the state. He intends for schools to devote 10 minutes of each morning to "voluntary prayer and discussion of ethics and morality."
  • His written platform is filled with Christian code phrases, designed to convince Christian extremists that he's one of them. For instance, he refers to "money changers," "prayer," the "calling" of government, the "God-given potential" of citizens, etc.
  • Like Barbour, Eaves is convinced that women should not be free to make informed reproductive decisions.
But isn't this sort of thing common in Mississippi politics? Well, yes and no. While it is true that pushing one's Christianity is far more common here than anywhere else I've lived, Eaves campaign has far exceeded anything I've seen before along these lines. That he's running as a Democrat just makes it all the more sickening.

In fact, the crazy twist here is that Barbour's campaign actually sounds reasonable:
Every day in every public school in Mississippi, children have the right to participate in voluntary student led prayer. John Arthur Eaves wants mandated state directed prayer which will jeopardize the freedoms students already have. John Arthur Eaves admitted at today's press conference that, 'Yes children can pray but they had to organize it themselves,' and that 'we're claiming the same thing that's already been done' and that the Courts 'already allow' voluntary student led prayer. John Arthur Eaves will say or do or use anything to try to get a vote, that includes jeopardizing the free exercise of prayer that students already possess today.
I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'm going to have to vote for Barbour. I'm used to having to vote for the lesser of two evils; I'm just not used to them both being so evil!

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