In an interview with a radio host this morning, Gov. Phil Bryant responded to a question about legislation to change the state flag by saying that the issue ought to be put before the people because we live in a “direct democracy.”
Actually, we don’t.
We live in a representative democracy. That was the intent of the framers from the get go, as we will see when we turn to Federalist Paper #10 next month.
Gov. Bryant’s comments result from his broader irritation with the media. He also said in the interview that he couldn’t talk about anything that’s doing well in Mississippi without being asked questions about “flags and statues,” which he found “frustrating” because such questions make it harder to put the state in the best possible light.
The interview raised a couple of interesting questions. First, should we trust voters to make the best decisions about sensitive issues? If not, where should we turn? Why would leaders want referendums on such issues? Second, is it the right time for Mississippi to worry about rehabilitating its image, or are there other issues to address?