I’m glad the Legislature voted to take down our state flag with the Confederate battle flag in its canton.
To those who claim it should have been left up to a vote of the people, I would argue that the Legislature adopted the state flag in 1884 without a vote of the people.
True, the people did vote to keep that flag in 2001, but much has changed since then, including the undeniable reality that Mississippi was facing crippling economic repercussions if it remained the only state in the Union with the Confederate flag on its official banner.
Another election, in today’s environment, would be more divisive than the one 19 years ago. Moreover, flying a new flag that isn’t offensive to a segment of the population is the right thing to do.
Those who claim to be “disenfranchised” because they didn’t get to vote to keep the now retired flag should recognize that this is a republic where we elect representatives to make decisions for us. If we disagree with how they do it, we can vote against them in the next election.
It is true, some issues, for better or worse, are put to the vote of the people. But in this case the Legislature, under our system of government, had the right to do what it did, and they acted in the best interest of Mississippi.
So did the governor who changed his mind on the issue after obviously coming to the realization that to do otherwise would irreparably harm the state.
Ironically, many of Mississippi’s leaders came around to supporting taking down the Confederate battle flag for the same reason their ancestors took it up almost 160 years ago: economics.
Not all of them; give House Speaker Philip Gunn credit for early on advocating a new flag for moral reasons.
“We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us,” Gunn, a Clinton Republican, said in a statement in 2015. “As a Christian, I believe our state’s flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed.”
Some others got on board, though, after major corporations began to look askance at the only state still flying the Rebel banner, and sports organizations vowed not to sponsor events in Mississippi as long as it kept the flag.
Some of my relatives, friends and acquaintances who are upset by shelving images of the Confederacy say “you can’t change history.”
They’re right in that you can’t change the past, but writers and teachers of history can shape it to an erroneous perception.
I have heard it said since childhood that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, unfair tariffs and such, and that slavery wasn’t the primary issue.
That’s not true. Go on the internet and read Mississippi’s “declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.”
Slavery is first and foremost the subject of the declaration which asserted that a “blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”
So, when is it going to stop now that the Confederate flag is down, and protesters are demanding removal of statues. and renaming of streets and sports teams in the name of racial justice?
I frankly don’t know, but I hope it ends pretty soon. Some of the most zealous on the left seem to be like the man who someone said didn’t want all the land in the county — just that next to him, meaning the more he got the more he wanted.
I can understand the argument for moving a Confederate statue from a courthouse, supposedly the seat of justice, to a museum, but I can’t fathom why anyone would want to tear down monuments to men who founded this country, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; or Lincoln and Grant, who helped free slaves, although at some point in their lives they may not have been politically correct in today’s environment.
If everyone has to be perfect to deserve one, then there will be no monuments.
Marc Antony’s eulogy to Julius Caesar, as imagined by William Shakespeare, seems to be in vogue among too many on the left these days: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”