Regular readers of Jackson Jambalaya know The Kingfish neither ducks controversy nor any issue. Speaker Philip Gunn's call to change the Mississippi state flag because it contains the Confederate "Stars and Bars" caught me as well as many others by surprise. More than a few readers have asked what I think about The Flag as the debate has dominated the political scene for over a week. It is a fair question. Here is my position on The Flag:
If by the Mississippi state flag you mean a flag that was used to support slavery, to stand for Jim Crow, to further the cause of segregation, a flag that was used by the Klan and its friends, a flag that was used to strike terror in black Mississippians and tell them they were to be trod upon, a flag that means looking back and never looking forward, a flag that stood for oppression and hatred, a flag that brings memories of whips and ropes to black Mississippians, a flag that symbolizes the darkest periods of our history, a flag that was waved by tens of thousands at halftime as Ross thundered his love for all things Mississippi and “our way of life” while black families cowered in fear at the mere sight of that flag, well, I am against that flag and will be against that flag.
If by the Mississippi state flag you mean a flag that stands for neighbor helping neighbor, a state where hospitality is a way of life and not just a slogan, a flag that symbolizes the best of the South, people respecting their elders and going to church every Sunday, coming together and forgetting their differences when disaster strikes, a flag that stood over the display of battlefield virtues such as courage and honor under fire, a flag that flew for over a hundred years over Mississippi’s sons answering our nation’s calls to service when freedom was threatened, a flag that means moonlight and magnolias, people fighting in the morning and drinking mint juleps and bourbon together on a hot summer afternoon, fried catfish on a Friday night and biscuits and red-eye gravy on Sunday morning, a prayer before football and a blessing before a meal, and a heritage of giving when there is nothing left to give, than I am for that flag and will be for that flag.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.