Trip to mailbox offers a glimpse into candidate

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 3, 2000

Let me preface this by saying: I’ve never thought of myself as an extremely political person. No stickers touting political ties are on my vehicle. I’m not a card-carrying member of any political party.

But, a trip to the mailbox last month offered a good political chuckle. On the day following the end of Republican National Convention last month, a wire service story was sent out across the country about Mississippi Republicans.

One of the key points in the story was that state Republicans felt confident that the GOP would be able to win the 4th Congressional seat up for grabs in November. Adams County is part of the 4th District.

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The story was referring to November’s election in which incumbent Rep. Ronnie Shows, D-Miss. faces GOP challenger Dunn Lampton. In 1998, Shows defeated a slew of challengers to gain the spot left vacant by former representative Mike Parker, who left to focus on an unsuccessful bid for the Mississippi governor’s seat.

I read the story and tucked it away in the little (no jokes please) filing cabinet in my brain.

The day after the story about the GOP’s hopes came out, I had a bizarre case of deja vu humor as I plucked the mail from my box.

On top of the pile of credit card applications and sales circulars, was a small flyer with a photo of Ronnie Shows and maroon letters that spelled out: The Ronnie Shows Report.

I didn’t think much of it until I flipped it over and saw the synopsis of the contents.

Bulleted items detailed Shows position on a majority of issues.

According to the flyer, Show is:

–&uot;Fighting Abortion: Protecting the Sanctity of Human Life.&uot;

–&uot;Protecting Our Right to Prayer and Religious Practice.&uot;

–&uot;Protecting Our Freedoms: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms.&uot;

Hmm. It seems to me the GOP already has a lock on the seat if what Shows’ literature says is true.

Shows’ report was &uot;prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.&uot; It’s called the franking privilege that allows members of Congress to mail items free of charge so long as they aren’t campaign-related. And true to form, the report does not mention the upcoming election.

Included in the report Shows details how he, with the &uot;advice and input&uot; of the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association recently introduced a bill intended to place the national motto &uot;In God We Trust&uot; inside every public building.

In case you’ve forgotten, the AFA is the group still boycotting the Disney corporation because of the company’s policy protecting homosexual rights.

Shows’ beliefs obviously fall more in line with moderate to conservative Republican beliefs than that of the Democrats.

Only a few short years ago Parker found himself in a similar situation while in office. He decided to switch parties, causing a brief storm of controversy.

Now the odd thing about Shows is that while many of his beliefs are more &uot;Southern Republican&uot; than &uot;liberal Democrat&uot; apparently his contributors seem to fall directly along traditional Democratic lines.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a national agency that tracks campaign finances, for 1999-2000 Shows has received more than $400,000 from political action committees (PACs). Of that more than $178,000 came from labor unions.

Either Shows is the most free-thinking, independent-minded politician I’ve ever seen, or he’s carefully walking the fence that separates the two major political parties.

The other day a friend was talking about this year’s presidential races and said, &uot;There really is no such thing as a Southern Democrat. They’re all really just Republicans.&uot;

At the time I didn’t think much about it, but the truth in that statement rings true now more than ever.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail at