A comment by the mayor of Ocean Springs — comparing arts funding with the military — has spurred a backlash that is going viral on Facebook.
Connie Moran, mayor of a city with a high population of military retirees, said Friday she was reacting to proposals — one in the state and one by the Trump administration — to eliminate or drastically change agencies that handle funding for the arts. She compared eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts to eliminating the military.
“Who needs an organized military anyway? That’s just a waste of taxpayers dollars! Don’t TREAD on me!” she wrote in the original post that set things off.
The reaction has been swift. The comment and ensuing Facebook conversation generated dozens of responses on Moran’s page. An Ocean Springs resident who took a screen shot of the post and put it on his personal page got more than 660 shares.
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“I was being sarcastic,” Moran told the Sun Herald. “I apologized and apologized if I offended anyone. That was not my intent. The discussion was about completely abolishing state and federal agencies for the arts ... They are insinuating I’m suggesting cutting military spending.”
You have to read the comment in context, she said. “Completely abolishing any agency, including the military, is foolhardy.”
She said she was pointing out the absurdity by suggesting the country go back the Revolutionary War days, before organized military.
“I’m being sarcastic here,” she said in a follow-up post. “Just saying that all government programs are not worthless and a waste just because they are government programs.”
One Facebook commenter took her comment as saying the military is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Several took Moran to task for seemingly failing to appreciate their military service or service of family members. The Coast is home to 40,000 military veterans.
Another commenter said: “I could see (sorta) what you are saying ... BUT ...you have to realize your audience and what you are saying ... you made a big mistake.
He said, “It is your job to say the right thing, not our jobs to make sure we interpret it correctly.”