In that secret debate last night between Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy, where she banned outside reporters, and couldn't handle having an audience present, Hyde-Smith repeated her non-apology for having declared adorably that she'd happily attend a public hanging if her supporters asked her to.
HYDE-SMITH: For anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill-will, no intent what so ever in my statements. I also recognize that this comment was TWISTED and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me. A political weapon.
Oh, we AAAALLLLLLL recognize that comment was twisted, Cindy. Just not the way YOU meant it. It was twisted, sick, racist, and gross. It was also reflective of who you really are, bless your heart, because it's more than clear your version of "Make America Great Again" involves the Antebellum South.
Mike Espy knows it, too, and was not there for her lame accusation that her public hanging comment was taken out of context. His rebuttal was swift perfection.
ESPY: No one twisted your comments, because your comments were LIVE. It came out of your mouth. It's caused our state harm. It's given our state another black eye that we don't need.
The good news is that some Republicans in Mississippi are rejecting Hyde-Smith for this very reason. They are not on board with her racism and her incompetence. They see Mike Espy as good for Mississippi, and that is what matters to them. Vaughn Hillyard interviewed a farmer in Lyon, Mississippi about his thoughts on the Senate race, and Tuesday's election.
HILLYARD: Good morning. We focus on those comments from Hyde-Smith about the public hanging because when you talk to the voters about the state over the last couple of days, that's the issue that's come up. And in this state with deep, dark history of lynchings and public hangings, it's at the forefront of minds, and particularly around the subject of race. The Espy campaign, Joe Trippy is the senior strategist, you have the Doug Jones win last year, and he's now working on this campaign. This time, the way they have put it is they have got to pull off about 25% of the white electorate here in this state which is largely Republican voters. I want to bring in one of those here. We're up here in Lyon, Mississippi. This is Cliff Heaton. You've got about, how many acres of land here?
HEATON: We're farming about 18,000.
HILLYARD: You have pecans, cotton, but you also are a Republican.
HEATON: I'm absolutely a Republican by nature.
HILLYARD: And yet, on Tuesday...
HEATON: On Tuesday I'm voting for Mike Espy.
HILLYARD: Tell us why.
HEATON: I personally was around when Mike was a Congressman for six years.
HILLYARD: This was his district.
HEATON: This was his district. He took over from a Republican who was absolutely worthless, in my opinion, in my family's opinion. We supported him, and in six years he did us the kind of good that the Thad Cochrans, Jim Eastmans did. Jamie Whitmans. He was on that level.
HILLYARD: Now, the follow up to that, is that Cindy Hyde-Smith, she made the comment about public hangings. And the big question is, will Mike Espy be able to pull off a good segment of the white population, and of Republicans? What do you think about those comments, and do you think you'll be able to do it?
HEATON: I thought the comments were very much out of line. I understand how in the heat of a campaign things can get said. I have certain things in my vocabulary that I try my hardest not to say but public hanging is not one of them. That's not anything I would have ever envisioned saying.
HILLYARD: Are there going to be enough Republicans like you to vote for Mike Espy?
HEATON: I've seen a lot of Republicans who were die-hard Cindy Smith people that over the last two weeks willing to talk about Mike Espy and can't believe that Cindy Hyde-Smith made those comments. They are scared to death of what she's going to say down the road.
HILLYARD: Peter, with six days left in this race with Thanksgiving, squeezed in here in the middle, it's going to be people like Cliff that we'll be talking to across this state, to see whether a Democrat here in Mississippi, much like Doug Jones in 2017, has a shot coming this run-off.
More Republicans like this, please. More Republicans who think for themselves, and refuse to reward racism in their party just so that their party can earn a win. And did you notice the self-reflection? I'd like to highlight this comment Mr. Heaton made.
"I have certain things in my vocabulary that I try my hardest not to say but public hanging is not one of them. That's not anything I would have ever envisioned saying."
Forgive my social justice geeking out, here, but in the anatomy of an ally's thought-process, this is gold. This statement contains so many things marginalized people ask us to do.
1. Examine our own language and behavior.
2. Recognize that some of it causes harm.
3. Try our hardest not to use that language or behave that way.
4. Use our own privilege to speak out against others with privilege who do say and do harmful things.
Standing ovation for Mr. Cliff Heaton. Let's hope more people of the Republican persuasion follow his excellent lead.