Mississippi Senator wants "public hanging" ??

Apologies if the thread title, necessarily brief, is misleading. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), currently still campaigning for re-election since a run-off election is needed later this month, is now on record ‘complimenting’ one of her supporters by saying “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” There is a video recording of Ms. Hyde-Smith’s statement, so she hasn’t denied the fact. Instead, her defense is that this was just her way of ‘complimenting’ her supporter. I don’t recall every using such a statement as a pick-up line, or to express admiration; maybe that’s just me.

In the run-off election, Ms. Hyde-Smith’s opponent is a black man who served as Secretary of Agriculture under Bill Clinton.

Mississippi has a long history of lynching black men, e.g. the civil rights workers depicted in the film Mississippi Burning. Mississippi is credited with almost 600 such lynchings, more than any other state. Among many other examples, 14 year-old Emmet Till was accused of whistling at a white woman. Here is a picture of Emmet Till. Click the right-arrow at the link to see his picture after he was punished for this ‘crime.’

Perhaps this thread belongs in Great Debates. Is this woman suitable to serve in the United States Senate? Should Republicans proudly encourage their ilk to vote for her in the runoff election?

I’ll give the benefit of doubt for being a clueless moron. But what does that expression even mean? “If he invited me to a public hanging I’d be on the front row?”

Is anyone on the board fluent in cracker-speak? And by that I mean the way your mouth is dry when you eat crackers and it makes it hard to talk. No racial intent here.

Well that’s not a dog-whistle at all. It’s just a fucking bullhorn.

Count me in as another person who can’t parse what she was trying to say. Is that an expression in Mississippi? What does it even mean?

But yeah, a Republican in Mississippi talking about hanging, I’ll assume it’s racist and we’ll take the unforced error.

I think she meant something like this:

I think she’s pretty dumb to have used a public hanging as the example.

Usually, the go to for an extremely unpleasant event is either root canal or IRS audit; public hanging is a very odd choice. Nothing says party of the future like talking about public hangings!

…Kinda paints the person saying that, as well as the supporter, in a goddamn monstrous light, doesn’t it? If you’re willing to overlook a lynching, what won’t you fucking overlook? :confused:

What a godawful fucking psychopath. Remember when this kind of thing would end a person’s political career? Meanwhile over in elections there’s a thread about how Bernie Sanders is toast because he wasn’t sufficiently quick to call a swath of people racist. Ugh.

Yeah, I don’t get it either. Shouldn’t it be “in the front row”?

It’s funny because Missipi has a history of state sponsored lynching I guess.

I may be grasping at a linguistic quibble, but “on” here seems more active than “in” — as though she would be a participant rather than spectator.

There is a YouTube of the remark, but it’s barely audible.

I think she is saying, " I don’t dress up in a white sheet and lynch people as a hobby, but if that’s what i have to do to earn your vote, I’ll be there with bells on."

Basically, it is the Mississippi equivalent of “Aloha.”

Can you hear the whooshing sound in the youtube audio? :wink:

I have no idea what this lady is talking about, but something tells me that “public hanging” is not what we want to hear from our Senators, whatever the hell it means. Until someone can explain otherwise, I’m going with “clueless oldster who is living in the past:”.

I live in Mississippi, and no, it is not. I wasn’t born and raised here, but I spent yesterday evening hanging out and talking about this with several people who were, at least two of whom were white women in CHS’s general age range. Absolutely nobody had ever heard this expression before, although opinions varied on whether it was an intentional dogwhistle aimed at picking up McDaniel voters, or just CHS being her usual clueless self. (Note that this woman was appointed to her current Senate seat, and the highest elected office she has held is Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce; it’s rapidly becoming evident that she is very, very bad at politics.)

I would make one note: Public hangings do not necessarily equate with lynchings. Public hangings of criminals, after trials and convictions, were, as the term implies, a public spectacle and often attracted crowds; the more notorious the criminal, the more people would come to the hanging.

That noted, it was remarkably tone-deaf given Mississippi’s history. But she’ll probably win anyway, since Mississippi is remarkably tone-deaf to the 21st Century (IMHO. YMMV)

Is the emphasis on “he” or “public hanging”?

Like Desantis’s out-of-the-blue “monkey up the state” remark, it seems much more likely that this was purposefully meant as a deniable shout-out to bigots that the candidate is on their side, than a totally random misstatement. Either that, or these are just ignorant racists who don’t realize that things they say are racist.

Racist voters are still a significant portion of the electorate, and it shouldn’t continue to be surprising that mainstream politicians sometimes reach out to try and get their support.

You think you know what is in the minds of these people, but you don’t.

They build the deniability in upfront so that when they’re called on it they can say: "I didn’t mean that. You must be the one with the problem. I think I prefer honest bigotry. This has all the asshole and none of the balls.

She’s slapping her thighs and saying “Ja, wer ist ein guter Hund?”

I find her statement enormously offensive, but I think I can offer a guess as to her thought process.

Her statement is actually kind of opposite to the way I’ve heard the older generation in Southern Georgia use the phrase. “A public hanging” was referred to in the sense that it was portrayed in “A Tale of Two Cities” and other literature. Historically, people camped overnight to have a good view of a public hanging. It was the equivalent of our rock concerts, may Og forgive us.

So that’s the way the phrase was used. “I’d sooner miss a hanging” is at best grisly to our ears, but to them it just meant “It’s an event I and everybody else will be certain to attend.”

If I’m trying to crawl into the mind of your politician there, I’d say she grew up with this phrase used as above, and that she thought she was being enlightened by twisting the wording to treat a hanging like a bad thing. In the timeline of American cultural evolution, she seems to have made it to the 1950’s or so, but not quite up to the modern era.

She would probably be shocked to hear somebody say it was racism, and she’d thereby show just how unconsciously steeped in it she is.