I am haunted second thoughts about awarding Obion County the title of Unethical Community of the Year.
For one thing, it is only October, and there is a lot of time for another unethical community or more to reveal its lack of decency to the nation and the world (and then to have Keith Olbermann declare that it represents the ideal for Tea Partiers). Still, I am having a hard time imagining anything worse for an American community than directing its fire department to let a human being’s home burn down, whether or not the homeowner has three dogs and a cat (as Mr. Cranick did, and I emphasize did), because that human being didn’t pay a $75 fee.
The real reason I am having doubts, however, is the horrible tale that came to light this past spring. A Mississippi community that was scandalized over the prospect of a gay student bringing her girl friend to the high school senior prom realized that the young woman couldn’t be legally prohibited from attending, so decided to humiliate her by canceling the prom for everyone, which also made Constance McMillan a pariah and a target of abuse. Then, after a judge ruled that it was discrimination to cancel the prom because of anti-gay bias, the community conspired to trick the girl and her prom date into going to a segregated, sparsely-attended alternate prom including other “outcasts,” while the real prom was held at a secret location, never revealed to Constance.
This makes me sick just writing about it again. Is an entire community’s conspiring to cruelly mistreat a young teen, just because she is gay, more unethical than allowing a man’s house to burn down? Probably not. I think Obion County still deserves the title.
But if I was condemned to choose whether to live there or Itawamba County, I’d rather take my chances in Obion County.
And pay the $75.