I love watching local government at work because it gives all of us a true glimpse of what a community will let lead them.
I firmly believe one of the problems of our form of government is we vote for people who look, act, conduct business and have the morals of us.
Seriously, take a look at federal, state and yes, even local government.
Now let me clarify that not all elected officials are bad. I’m not bad. You’re not bad. It’s those other people who are bad.
And in Mississippi and Coahoma County, that is what we have in public office.
You know my joke. People ask me if I’m Republican or Democrat and I tell them I’m worse than that, I’m Southern Baptist.
It has been interesting to watch conservatives come out of the woodwork this year and call themselves Republicans. There are some who can’t quite go that far, so they call themselves Independents.
If you are a Republican, then say you are a Republican, and if you are Democrat -- or Southern Baptist – then say so and be proud of your party. I am of mine!
I also want to point out we celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday last week.
And in Mississippi party politics always has a racial undertone. Let’s be careful about labeling people as racist or Uncle Toms if they vote a certain way. Let’s not fear the color of a man’s skin.
Be your own man
Let me encourage all local elected officials to vote their convictions.
There is nothing wrong with a 4-1 vote. There is nothing wrong with a 3-2 vote.
But there is something wrong with playing politics and not voting your convictions. The people who put you in office deserve to see how you really feel about issues and the future of our community.
I’ve only been in this community just under two years and it is hard for me to write these things, because it will hurt some folks' feelings and make lifelong enemies of others.
I do express my convictions on this page and please remember it says Opinion at the top.
But to our leaders, have the courage to have your say and let’s move on.
What we need are leaders.
We need men and women who will take a stand in 2021 and tell us not only what they are going to do but how they are going to do it.
Don’t listen to promises. How many of you have been told the street in front of your house will be fixed this year or they are creating jobs for you? Get them to tell you where the money is coming from and how they are going to make it happen. Get them to tell you when it’s going to happen!
We need to look around and encourage elected officials with talents and skills to do their job. We need to stand by them when they do the hard thing and start taking heat for their decisions.
Clarksdale and Coahoma County can’t stand four more years of business as usual. We have $2 million in unpaid fines, schools that are less than the best, a high unemployment rate and people who deserve better.
We need leaders. We want leaders. We are looking for leaders who will make a difference.
Floyd Ingram is the Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register and has covered local government in three states for 25 years. Call him at 627-2201 if you want to talk politics and your role as a leader.