I Really Hate to Say It. . .

. . .but I told you so: our state legislators lack the courage to decide the state flag issue for themselves. Even Phil Gunn, a Republican who led the charge to change the flag after last year’s massacre in a South Carolina church, now wants to turn the issue over to the people. I am as unsympathetic towards people who look at the Confederate emblem and see “heritage, not hate” as I am towards people who claim the Civil War was fought for states’ rights, not slavery.  Such views have no grounding in fact. Sadly, such views have too much traction in our state.

By ceding this issue to “the people,” our legislators will only help Mississippi stand in its own way once again. Don’t get me wrong. Other crucial issues stand before the legislature this session: our crumbling infrastructure, the funding formula for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the “school choice” bill, ethics issues raised by the Clarion-Ledger. Debate over these issues will be–should be–spirited, and dealing with a symbol won’t make them go away. But our flag issue should not even be an issue. Anyone who claims that the current state flag represents all Mississippians is guilty of willful ignorance at best.

I am proud to say that our school has but one flag, the flag of the United States of America, flying outside Hooper Science Building.

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15 Responses to I Really Hate to Say It. . .

  1. Tehya Collier says:

    The Mississippians who view the flag as heritage is in denial. The flag represents a time of oppression for races other than white. There is history, but the history isn’t good. This reminds me of the Nazi flag. It is important for us to recognize it happened, but it should not represent the state. Mississippi is already judged, this just adds more negative comments. The people who support it have that right, but the legislature should make it a law that it cannot be hung on government funded institutions.

  2. Tia Wilson says:

    I’m not really surprised that Mississippi legislature choses not to just change the flag. They put the decision on the people of Mississippi because the legislature has no real interest in changing the flag. They all know what the confederate part of the flag represents, and they just chose to keep it anyway. This shows the mindset of our legislature, and we cannot forget how long it took for Mississippi to abolish slavery. Things like this show that Mississippi will (in a way) come in last.

  3. Maggie Ford says:

    I believe most Mississippians who insist to keep the MS flag how it is would not be able to give justification for this belief. They are simply following the popular bandwagon. The Ole Miss rebels recently changed their mascot to the Black Bears. I don’t keep up with football, but I do not think this change was detrimental to their season. In fact, after it has been changed, you don’t really hear about it anymore. Maybe if someone was courageous enough to actually change the flag, we would not be constantly reminded of this controversial subject.

    • Damare says:

      I agree. I feel as though we should go on ahead and change the Mississippi flag. Not changing it will actually cause more harm than benefit to the state, such as a bad reputation and constant conflict and controversy. Mississippi should have a flag that represents all of its citizens.

  4. Greg says:

    The Mississippi flag, perceived as a symbol of the heritage of Mississippi, is both an abomination and impediment for the people of Mississippi.Although the flag is yet again a simple piece of cloth with a symbol on it, it means quite more than people are willing to admit. The Mississippi flag is, sure enough, a symbol for the Confederate army, spearheaded by your’s truly( the State of Mississippi) and Alabama. It is an abomination to the progress that has been made in the United States as a whole as well as in Mississippi particularly. Ignorance is in fact the number one reason why people support the flag and what it stands for. Although all people who support the flag are not die hard confederates, they are a group of people who do not realize just how oppressive the presents of the flag is, nor do they apparently not know just how far behind it puts Mississippi. Mississippi is a state characterized as “Top of the list for all that is wrong with America” because the majority of the Mississippi people who are unaware of and quite possibly indifferent to the many social changes that has come about America in this day of age. If Mississippi wants to jump up the list somewhere, the people have to be willing to change, they have to be willing to except the fact that America is changing with or without them,whether they like it or not. Mississippi is a part of the world that is stuck with people who are ultimately stuck in the past, and who are for some reason “undecided” in whether to join the crusade for change, or sit back while “new” history is being made around them.

  5. Kate Shelton says:

    I agree that with Laurel and Jenny that the flag is a major issue. The longer the government waits, the more likely riots, violence, gangs, and what not may arise and cause more problems. Not only does the flag lead to an issue, but it is a part of our history. The economy will never please everyone.

  6. Laurel Yarborough says:

    I agree with Jenny in that there are many big issues in today’s society, but I also think that the flag is one of those issues. Like Braeden said, the job of the government is to unify the people and in my opinion, anything that segregates any one person is a big deal and needs to be addressed. The flag falls under this umbrella. The longer that the government waits to make a decision, the more people that will be offended. The longer we wait, the longer other important issues are put off.

  7. Jax Dallas says:

    Jenny although I do completely agree with the fact that there are more pressing issues in America today than the emblem on a piece of cloth, I find the laissez faire outlook on the flag to be alarming. With this mindset our state will continue on the social back slide that we are currently in. As a society we need to not only focus on the major issues that infect our day to day lives, but also the underlying tensions that will only cause problems in the future. Like the state flag for example.
    If we leave the flag as is we will be letting ignorance win yet again in our state. I say our state because Mississippi belongs to all of us whether we like it or not, and as Mississippians we deserve to have a flag that represents all of us. We deserve a flag we can be proud of. As we stand we do not have that, rather we have a flag that represents the shameful stereotype that people think of when they hear “Mississippi”.

    • Jenny Nguyen says:

      You’re right; we shouldn’t let ignorance win, but how do the citizens win? Do create a new flag? Do we educate every citizen about the history behind the confederate flag? What if some citizens are too stubborn to give up their ideals? There needs to be a change, yes, but we always seem to forgot how that change will happen. I actually think this is also one of the pressing problems in the presidential election. All of the candidates guarantee jobs and a better future, but we get so caught up in their rhetoric that we forget how they’re going to do it.

      • Jenny Nguyen says:

        Also, we have to remember that we can’t please everyone. Even if there was a new state flag, there will always be a small group of people that can pick out a flaw and blow it out of proportion. Still, this shouldn’t stop us from making reform.

  8. Jenny Nguyen says:

    When the issue of the flag arose, I did not think much about it. I thought that the flag was a piece of history and that it deserved acknowledgement. However, as Dr. E has said, I feel as though we have devoted too much of our attention to this controversy. To me, there are quite a few of our citizens that are too ignorant to even bother to learn the history and the negative connotation that is associated with the Confederate flag. Therefore, they display the flag with no idea of how racist the Confederate ideals are.

    There are more important issues to focus on such as the growing human trafficking problem, school funding, and the expanding population of high-school dropouts that are unable to make a living. The state should divert its attention to other issues rather than wasting effort in arguing whether or not to abolish the Confederate flag.

    • Jasmine Topps says:

      Sorry Jenny, but I agree with Jax and I do not feel that the ignorance that Mississippi citizens possess should be ignored. The flag is as big an issue as the human trafficking problem, school funding, and the expanding population of high-school dropouts. The state legislators have wasted enough time diverting their attention away from this flag as is and maybe the students of Mississippi would not be so ignorant if they did not base their ideals on a Confederate flag that gives us such a bad reputation. However, you are right in saying that the legislators should not waste time disputing whether to abolish the flag because their should be an anonymous decision to not be displayed in any parts of the state of Mississippi.

    • Frank says:

      Yes, we do need to be alert about the tensions that would be of an issue in the future like the flag, but I believe that society should focus on the present first. I agree with Jenny that more thought and actions should be placed on education, drop outs, etc.

  9. Jax Dallas says:

    I completely agree with Dr.E on this one. A flag first and foremost represents what those who fought and died for it stood for. Therefore the confederate battle flag implies a rather racist sentiment, whether it is intended or not. I am by no means stating that those that support the state flag to be racist, but I do think the flag needs to be changed by our legislators.

  10. Braeden Foldenauer says:

    Again Mississippi is finishing in last. As the only state still holding remnants of the Confederacy behind on our flag, it is time we adopt the policy and reform of the rest of the nation. Yes, there are plenty of issues running amok in our state, but as a nation, if we hold what’s considered most pressing first, then social issues will never be addressed. It’s the job of the government to unify people and with a flag that alienates a massive fraction of the population, it’s evidently failing. I won’t argue whether there’s history or not in the flag, but the fact of the matter is that the Confederacy was an insurgency which resulted in the bloodiest war in American history. While we must remember the past, we can’t glorify a nation that caused such devastation. The problem with a popular vote is that if the flag replacement fails, then we simply forget about the hundreds of thousands of people still offended by it. Simply put, it’s wrong that people feel uncomfortable while walking by their capitol building.

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