As a Mississippian who currently resides in Texas, I observed the voter referendum, Initiative 65, take form. Interestingly, the voters would decide the fate of a law designed to launch Mississippi forward to join 34 other states in providing scientifically proven benefits (and hope) for a very narrow group of families who suffer under a set of 22 debilitating conditions. Initiative 65 would provide those families with the legal means to alleviate conditions that no compassionate individual would wish on another.

Initiative 65 became the epitome of a bittersweet moment. Bitter, because the politicians tasked with enacting laws to support residents of Mississippi completely failed their constituents, forcing voters to solve a problem that politicians should solve. Sweet, because residents took charge to implement significant and meaningful improvement.

As events unfolded, I noted efforts by elected officials to thwart and confuse Initiative 65. When 68.5% of the voters approved Initiative 65, I witnessed the relief and appreciation from one of my dearest friends who could soon receive some merciful assistance. Then I watched with heartfelt dismay the Mississippi Supreme Court overrule the will of the people by shamefully silencing the voice of the voters.

Time and time again, elected and appointed politicians shrink from opportunity and instead hoist the ageing banner of status-quo mediocrity. Yet Mississippi, as a veritable horn of plenty, overflows with opportunity for leadership to solve the many ills of society that include not only medical support for the suffering, but also poverty, educational issues, racial harmony, upward class mobility, and economic growth.

Politicians throughout Mississippi dishonored their elected office and constituents with their neglect to proactively solve a problem that Initiative 65 solved. Via Initiative 65, voters enacted a solution to a problem. And the 6 members of the Mississippi Supreme Court disgraced the state by championing more mediocrity and highlighting Mississippi’s superpower to shun progress.

To those residents who feel abandoned by the elected and appointed officials, please do not lose hope. John 1:5 reminds, “And the light shineth in darkness . . .” A day approaches when continual failures to represent and support Mississippians will entice the sons and daughters of Mississippi who currently succeed elsewhere to return to the great state of Mississippi. And on that day they will bring light in the form of experience, know-how, problems-solving, and opportunity to proactively solve issues for those residents who languish under poor and misguided leadership.

Jay Knighton

The Woodlands, Texas

Formerly of Corinth

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