Don’t let the message divide us
Few times have I ever delved into a back-and-forth argument on social media with anyone about anything. I am someone who believes such disagreements are best left to one-on-one discussions.
Even more rare are those times when such social media conversations would be the topic of a column. This is one of those rare occasions.
The debate involving the “President Trump, Finish The Pumps!” billboards in town is an interesting one to say the least. On one hand, you have a group of individuals who believe such advertisement will bring attention to the ongoing flood problem in the Delta, while at the same time advocating for the completion of the backwater pumps.
On the other, there are those who are avid supporters of the president, who believe the billboards in some way blame him for the backwater flood project not being completed.
And, in today’s volatile political climate where your opinion is wrong regardless of what that opinion is, even the smallest comment for or about the president can ignite a debate.
I am a strong believer that advertising works when it is simple, targeted, and creates conversation. In this regard, these billboards hit the mark.
They are simple. They are targeted. And my goodness, they have sparked conversation.
For those who have followed the months-long discussion involving the horrific flooding in the Yazoo Backwater Area and along portions of the Mississippi River, you know all about this slow moving disaster that has impacted hundreds of people, damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, infrastructure and farms, and killed countless wildlife.
Those affected have been dealing with this flood for months. You can understand the heavy emotion and short tempers that come with dealing with this tragedy for so long.
President Trump had nothing to do with the previous Environmental Protection Agency administrations vetoing completion of the backwater pumps. He was not in office at the time, nor would such a low-level permitting and discussion likely ever make it to a president’s desk.
On the other side, the wording of the billboards in no way implies the president is stopping construction of the pumps. Don’t read too much into them. Advertising, when it works, does not need interpretation or deciphering. It is, what it is.
As for the ongoing conversation on social media, nothing good will come of it. As a community, we can do nothing if we are divided, especially about a topic such as this.
The flood has destroyed homes and property of those who are Republicans, as well as those who are Democrats. When it comes to water, it doesn’t care who you vote for, or even if you voted. All time, water is undefeated.
In times of tragedy and disaster, we are only effective as a people when we stay together and work together. Worrying about who a billboard is targeting, or why a particular wording was used is just a waste of time and energy.
This disaster is going to last for quite some time and then the clean up and rebuilding will begin. It is then that every hand and heart will be needed.
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org