Mr. President, was that really you calling?

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 8, 2002

Dear Mr. President:

If that was really you on the telephone Monday night, Iapologize for hanging up on you.

I know it was your voice, but I don’t know if it was really,really you. I thought I was hanging up on a recorded message.Some of my coworkers are convinced — since it was reported by newssources that George W. Bush did in fact telephone some voters thisweek — that I hung up on the President of the United States.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

For the record, Mr. President, I want to say that I don’tusually hang up on people unless they use ugly words or try to sellme something I don’t want or need, like aluminum siding or a septictank.

Speaking of septic tanks, that’s why I hung up the phone soabruptly Monday night. It has nothing to do with you as a person oras the President, but it has plenty to do with politics. As youknow, Mr. President, the off-year election just concluded, and inMississippi it was a big ol’ stinky mess — like a septic tank.

The nastiest race was the one for Supreme Court Judge, District2. Two of the candidates, including the eventual winner, have lessthan pristine pasts, and that became the center of thiscampaign.

It didn’t help that a Virginia-based group called the LawEnforcement Alliance of America got involved. I don’t understand,Mr. President, why a group from Virginia with no apparent ties toMississippi would take such an interest in politics here. Thisgroup actually bought 51 percent of the television advertisementsin the Supreme Court election, spending $191,188 for televisionairtime from Jan. 1 to Nov. 2. That’s more than twice what thecandidates combined spent on their own ads.

I hope that after the mud settles the state will look atchanging the way our Supreme Court Justices are chosen. Shouldstate justices be appointed by the governor in the same fashion asthe president appoints to the U.S. Supreme Court? I don’t know, butI think anything would be an improvement.

Then again, if the governor’s appointments have to be confirmedby the state legislature, well, so much for keeping thingssimple.

The race for the newly-created Third Congressional Districtwasn’t as bad, but it wasn’t pretty either. At least the voters gotto see and meet the candidates. The top two contenders bothcampaigned here and also took part in several debates.

I’m not saying there wasn’t mud and muck in this race, too,because there was. Two incumbent congressmen were forced to runagainst each other because of redistricting, so this was ahard-fought race.

Anyway, Mr. President, I guess the point I’m trying to make isthat most Mississippians are just worn out from this election. Weare tired of hearing the negative ads. We’re tired of campaignscalling us to solicit votes and/or money. That’s why I hung up onyou.

On a positive note, here in Lincoln County voter participationwas up for this election. Final figures show that more than 10,700people voted Tuesday. That’s a voter turnout of approximately 47percent. On the downside, that means 53 percent of the the county’sregistered voters stayed home.

I hope you will call me back sometime, Mr. President. I’m goingto get caller ID so I’ll know it’s you.



Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.39602, or send e-mail to