Tears of joy in order for Nissan plant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Anyone coming from a family of criers will understand the phenomenon. We cry happy. We cry sad. We cry lonesome. We cry together.

Men and women, young and old, we love a good cry. And that is a good thing, for there is very little we can do to stop it.

New baby? We tear up. A fresh read of &8220;Charlotte’s Web&8221;? Buckets flow. Watching a rerun of &8220;Little House on the Prairie&8221;? Forget it. We cannot see for the blurry eyes and cannot hear because of the sniffles.

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Music can do it, everything from Kate Smith’s &8220;God Bless America&8221; to Willie Nelson’s &8220;You Are Always on My Mind.&8221;

So is it any wonder that the recent photographs of Carlos Ghosn surrounded by a sea of happy faces brought on a good cry?

The image of the president and CEO of Nissan with all of those beautiful Mississippians gathered with him to celebrate the opening of the new Nissan manufacturing plant in our state sends a powerful message. The majesty of the moment &045; well, it was emotional.

Let us all hope the world sees us. Let us shout: Look, everyone &045; all of you across the globe. Look at us.

This is Mississippi. This is the state you have ridiculed. These are the people you have read about who almost always have been dead last or close to it in every survey of any note.

This is Mississippi. This is the place loathed by elitists on both coasts &045; that is, until they come and see what Mississippi really is all about. Even then, though, some do not get it.

This is Mississippi, where the large majority of people really do love each other, no matter social or political status, no matter skin color. This is a place that has longed for some big breaks to help our people prove what they can do and to have excellent jobs that will allow them to live with dignity and even ease.

With a history so complex that even brilliant minds boggle when they try to explain Mississippi, the state indeed has had its dark and tragic periods. For too long, an underclass was sapped of hope, oppressed by the politics of bigotry and frustrated in attempts to rise from poverty.

The new Nissan plant in Canton will not solve all the complicated social and financial problems still facing Mississippi. We continue to dig out from mires of the past. We look to a challenging future.

Canton seems a long way from many parts of the state, Natchez included. We may wonder how the new manufacturing plant there will affect the rest of the state.

In weeks to come, we will find that indeed people from all over Mississippi are beginning to enjoy the benefits of this great new boon to our state.

Good stories are surfacing &045; true stories about successful, hard-working Mississippians, including some from Natchez, who will have a hand in the production of Nissan vehicles.

Proudly we will say in the coming years that these Nissans were made in Mississippi by Mississippians.

So now we must enjoy the thrill of the moment for our long-beleaguered, often misguided state. For all its problems, the truth remains that Mississippi is filled with extraordinary people.

During the past week, the spotlight has shined on some of these people, who are proud of their new Nissan jobs and ready to exhibit their skills.

Hurrahs are in order; but even more so are tears of jubilation.

Joan Gandy

is community editor of The Democrat. She can be reached at (601) 445-3549 or by e-mail at