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Fix what’s broken, be proud of what’s not

Which is the best state in the country? According to U.S. News & World Report, it’s not Mississippi.

We ranked all the way down at No. 49. Louisiana claimed last place. The Magnolia State came in last or close to last in several categories: health care, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, education and fiscal stability.

But Mississippi shined in one area: Quality of life. We ranked No. 6 in that category, based on things like community engagement, voter participation, social support, air quality and water quality.

The state also ranked high on crime and corrections, coming in at No. 16. We also did pretty well in the affordability category, with a ranking of 13. Mississippi was No. 1  in the cost of living category.

That should not be a surprise to anyone living here. We know the state has problems, but we also know there are plenty of great things about Mississippi.

Generally speaking, we are a generous, kind group of people with active and vibrant communities that take care of each other. Combine that with a low cost of living and clean air and water and you’ve got a pretty good place to call home.

Mississippi is far from perfect. There is poverty, racism, lack of economic opportunities — the list goes on and on. But we can’t forget the good as we work to fix the bad. While the rest of the country may laugh at our expense, we know Mississippi is a unique place with more creativity than dozens of other states could muster together.

Those of us blessed to live here know what a hidden gem much of Mississippi is. So let’s keep working on fixing what is broken, but let’s also be proud of what is working.