Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Commentary: Does 'Ebbing' Reflect Missouri? It's Up to Citizens to Show Differently

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Commentary: Does 'Ebbing' Reflect Missouri? It's Up to Citizens to Show Differently

Article excerpt

And the Academy Award for Best Tourism Documentary goes to ... (dramatic pause) ... "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

Just when Missourians thought they were living down their reputation as violent, heroin-dealing money launderers centered around Lake of the Ozarks (the Netflix series "Ozark") and fierce, meth-decimated families in the Ozark hills (the 2010 film "Winter's Bone"), along comes "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," the fictional movie set in a fictional town where rape, murder, racism and corrupt law enforcement join poverty and violence as the daily diet of life in Missouri. Tourism commissions throughout the state are serving sides of Pepto Bismol at their monthly luncheon meetings.

As a product and current resident of rural and small town Missouri, let me be the first to come to our state's defense.

No, wait.

(Spoiler alert here: If fellow Missourians have the gumption to read the rest of this article, you'll find that I come around to a spirited defense of the Show-Me state.)

In Missouri:

* Our governor is under investigation for allegedly photographing and blackmailing a shackled, semi-nude woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

* Fodor's, the international travel guide, named Missouri among the 10 places around the world not to visit in 2018.

* A bill became law in 2017 that makes it almost impossible to win an employment discrimination lawsuit after a private business owned by the bill's sponsor, a state senator, was sued for racial discrimination.

* Lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid for Missouri's working poor, leading to the closure of seven rural hospitals.

* A Republican legislator said extending discrimination protection to LGBT Missourians infringed on religious liberty because most religions don't consider gay people human.

* A tax bill introduced this season would give 91 percent of its benefits to the wealthiest 20 percent of Missourians while the bottom 60 percent of earners would actually see a tax hike. …

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