Associated Press photos 

Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mike Espy

A FROWN FOR U.S. SEN. CINDY HYDE-SMITH who has had a troubling week of unforced errors.

A Nov. 2 video of the senator released Sunday captures her praising a supporter with the words, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Those are thoughtless words given the state’s history. As the Associated Press reported, according to the NAACP, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States between 1882 and 1968, with nearly 73 percent of the victims black. Mississippi had 581 lynchings during that period, the most of any state.

One might give the senator a pass on a poorly chosen remark if she acknowledged the error and apologized for an unintended offense. Instead, she issued a statement Sunday labeling the comment as “an exaggerated expression of regard” and went on to say, “Any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”

Given a chance to make amends at an appearance with Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday, Hyde-Smith repeated several times, “I put out a statement yesterday, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

The wiser choice would have been to apologize, recognizing at least in hindsight that she made a poor choice of words. Instead, her response implies she stands by her public hanging comment.

Although some may think otherwise, saying you made a mistake shows strength, not weakness.

Are supporters of Mike Espy going to try to make political hay on the video and Hyde-Smith’s responses? Certainly. But that is no different than the negative advertisements and social media comments against Espy put out in her behalf as soon as it became evident they would face-off in a Nov. 27 runoff for a U.S. Senate seat.

Just as both candidates have done, we condemn a Facebook advertisement put out by PowerPACPlus, a California-based political action committee that's backing Mike Espy, that shows a 1930 lynching in Indiana.

Negative advertising may work, but it only serves to further divide us and disenfranchises voters. There is a notion at work in politics that a flaw can be overlooked as long the desired result is achieved. A frown for that concession, too.

A CROWN TO LOU “COWBOY” WOODFORK. Given life’s lemons – a motorcycle accident that ended his law enforcement career – Mr. Woodfork made tamales out of it. Apparently very good ones.

In response to a feature by Carol Owens about his Mississippi Delta Tamales food trailer and the new store he opened on Old Highway 45 North in Meridian, we’ve received terrific response and scores of positive comments about his tasty tamales. Some readers called them the best tamales you’ll ever taste.

Thanks to Mr. Woodfork and the small business owners like him who give Meridian a chance.

A CROWN FOR ORGANIZERS AND ATTENDEES at last week’s Veterans Day ceremony and parade in Meridian. As we noted last week, the sacrifice of veterans is very real and deserves deep recognition.

We share in the disappointment of a low turnout for this year’s ceremony. Cool weather and a Sunday morning time slot that competed with church services may have been factors, but those who served in the military endured hardships beyond the inconvenience of poor weather and timing.

A CROWN TO SERVICE MEMBERS coming home to Key Field on Wednesday following your deployment. As difficult as a separation from family can be, it is heartwarming to witness a joyful return. Thank you for your service.

A CROWN TO THE SEVEN AMERICORPS worker who volunteered their time last week at Clarkco State Park. The visitors helped build bridges, chopped wood and cleaned trails and other park areas. They also worked in the Quitman community, painting animal shelters, cleaning school trails and painting roadways.

An additional crown to park manager Tony Fleming, who helped organize the visit and has done much this year to improve and to celebrate Clarkco State Park.

A CROWN FOR MERREHOPE’S TREES OF CHRISTMAS. Congratulations to the Meridian Restorations Foundation on your 50th anniversary of preserving the historic house and presenting the annual Christmas tree display.They’re a treasure worth visiting, whether coming from in town or afar.

A CROWN TO THE LAMAR SCHOOL RAIDERS to place on top of their third-consecutive MAIS Class AAAA, Division II football championship. Congratulations, Raiders.

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