Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Sid Salter: Flag is an Albatross Around the Necks of Our Grandchildren

It has been my experience over some 40 years of writing about public policy in Mississippi that we as a people are slow to change, even when embracing change would be to our certain benefit and obstinance about doing so is to our undeniable detriment.


There is no greater manifestation of that than our stubborn insistence on clinging to the state’s 1894 Reconstruction Era state flag – which features in the canton corner the Beauregard Battle Flag (also known as the Confederate Battle Flag, the Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, and the Rebel Flag; used by some Mississippi troops in battle) – according to a 2018 Mississippi Historical Society article on the Mississippi flag by Millsaps College historian Stephanie Rolph.

I support changing the state flag, as I supported that position in the unsuccessful effort to change the state flag in 2001.

The enduring American civil and human rights conflagration that saw yet another flashpoint with the recent videotaped murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police has focused attention yet again on Mississippi’s status as the last American state flag to feature the Confederate Battle Flag as a component.

But let’s set aside the purely moral and philosophical arguments for a moment, if that is even possible with passions running high. While those remain the fundamental points of debate, there are certainly others.

In a time of political extremes on the left and the right, Mississippi’s lone wolf, outlier status on the content of our state flag has increasingly become an impediment to our state’s future economic growth and development as more and more companies seek to avoid the public relations collateral damage of investing in Mississippi because of the flag’s symbolism.

In other words, we are hanging an albatross around the necks of our grandchildren so some of us can continue to feel good about our two- or three-times great-grandfathers. I have ancestors in that number. I don’t think they would want their progeny to suffer for their 1861 political views.

The current state flag did not fly over Mississippi during the Civil War but was a product of Reconstruction Era efforts to turn back the clock on the state’s at that point meager racial progress through Jim Crow laws.

Changing our state flag won't fill one hungry belly, convert one rabid racist, improve standardized test scores in our schools, and won't necessarily improve race relations in this state in the short term. It's just a flag. To most folks, it's not even relevant to their daily lives.

But to Mississippi’s 39 percent black minority population, the current state flag is a symbol of the violence and suffering endured by their ancestors. Increasingly, the rest of America – corporations, institutions, organizations, other states, and influencers - has decided to impose economic sanctions on states that refuse to remove such symbols from their state flags.

Mississippians can like that or lump that, but it’s the hard reality. Mississippi’s outlier status on the flag will continue to impact the economic futures of our children and grandchildren. Georgia and South Carolina citizens faced those issues with their flags after the 2001 flag referendum in Mississippi.

The NCAA and the Southeastern Conference are but the latest examples. But let’s be clear – I don’t want a new state flag because of the NCAA or the SEC. I want it so my children and grandchildren can live in a Mississippi focused on the future, not the past.

So often in our past, Mississippians have had a chance to stand up and do the right thing on racial issues and so many times, we've failed to answer the call to our detriment. Business leaders, religious leaders, educators, government officials, professionals and a host of other diverse Mississippi groups are now urging adoption of a new flag.

Let’s stop kicking this rusty can down the political road. It’s time to put our future ahead of our past. It’s time to raise a new flag that we all can look to with pride and move on.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com.

38 comments:

5R5P said...

Simply repeats the 1894 act putting the current flag in place and revert back to the old flag with the magnolia tree.

Mob rule said...

So let’s have another referendum vote...or is this issue (or issah, for those in the legislature) too important for the voters to decide?

Anonymous said...

And before today how many articles did Sid wrote about this issue?

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

If the people want to change the flag that is fine, but let's all be pragmatic and understand that doing so is not going to solve any of the problems this state has other than placating a rather small but vocal group of people. It will not bring in jobs, it will not train a labor force, and it will not change our poverty rate. Those problems will all have to be addressed by people making sound fact based policy instead of trying to score poltical points either with the president or leftist fellow travelers in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

We must eliminate white supremacy from the face of the earth no matter the cost.

Anonymous said...

See last post on June 23. That refers to the real albatross.

Anonymous said...

I remember and see every now and again in a barn somewhere the old Mississippi license plates that had the actual Magnolia blossom in the middle of the tag. To my black brethren and soldiers in Christ I ask do you see anything with a flag with the Magnolia Blossom in the middle? I kinda like that myself. I'm a white guy just searching for some common ground. I truly want to live the rest of my life if possible in quiet peace and prosperity for all.

Anonymous said...

I have some really nice images of bandwagons in my picture file. Too bad I can't post several here.

Anonymous said...

Sid Salter hates that Mississippi is so reluctant to change yet he supports every Republican incumbent politician ever. Changing the flag would do nothing. Changing the politicians Salter boot licks for a living would do a lot.

Anonymous said...

Sid's been hobnobbing with the white supremacists for most of his life, now he has an awakening. Typical.

Anonymous said...

The state flag doesn't bother me. For me it serves as a reminder that the south lost and slaves were free.
I moved to Mississippi 19 years ago right when the last vote was taken. At an event where I was the only black person I can still recall the comments about history and heritage, I am just as amused today as I was then.

20 Mule Team said...

Kingfish: For what reason did you shitcan the 'bandwagon' post. That's exactly what Sidney has jumped upon. And you too for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Let’s just hope that there’s not a boycott Mississippi movement due to the flag. And let’s hope that the scumbag NCAA doesn’t vote to suspend NCAA athletics in MS due to a flag, not just championships.

When the Southern Baptist’s speak out..it’s time to change it.

Anonymous said...

If the legislatures put this to a vote it is simply because they are to chickenshit to change the flag themselves. Get er done.

Anonymous said...

Don't really think this is going to matter soon anyway. Changes coming soon that no one will like. Besides Covid will wipe us from the planet surface by Christmas or thousands of years from now. Depends who one listens to.

Anonymous said...

“Changing the flag will not change anything”

Except it would show that the state government isn’t aligned with the dual symbolism of the battle flag.

Anonymous said...

If Trump thought McCain was a loser because he got shot down, he surely thinks supporters of that flag are losers.

Anonymous said...

Everything in America has declined since the 1960s and you think the flag is the albatross?

You people are suffering from mass media induced Stockholm Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

I'm against changing the flag. If you change the flag & cave into the mob, leftist, & the rabid racist hatred of anything American than you will be push into removing all confederate
statues & after that the renaming of all the streets & than after that the renaming of all the cities in Mississippi. If anyone wants the flag changed let up take an up or down vote. Than live with it. True democracy is that the majority rule.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing we need a flag that everyone will like.
Where the hell did that come from? We had a vote and more people like the flag we have. Do you actually think changing the flag will change the minds of the majority of people in Mississippi? How are all of these people going to love the new flag when they voted to keep the old one?

Anonymous said...

12:00 pm You just continue to give them a cause instead.

And, you entirely missed why we are not a democracy but a democratic republic. It was to avoid the " tyranny of the majority" aka stupid mob hysteria and flat earth thinking. You know... like what resulted in Protestants killing Catholics and then Catholics burning Protestants for being heretics in England.

Rome is burning and y'all are happy that the fiddling music is playing.

Anonymous said...

@12:25
The USA is a Constitutional Republic. An example of a democratic republic would be the DPRK; the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea. Which is exactly what the democrat party wants in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi has a flock of albatrosses around its neck...sounds like a band I used to listen to

Anonymous said...

Did the author of this column realize how few in Mississippi know what an albatross is or why anyone would consider it being around someone's neck? Someone at the barber shop says an albatross is a long, ugly neck tie.

Anonymous said...

Change the flag and it will be gangbusters in the economic sector. Economic sector will not improve until the culture changes: everybody wants to cut hair, do nails and hair, raise pit bulls, bury folk, preach and landscape. Can't find anybody that wants to weld anymore. Too damn lazy.

Anonymous said...

https://vimeo.com/mightymagnolia

Anonymous said...

Just keep the flag Mississippi. At this point your reputation is such shit that a simple flag change won’t do much for you. Embrace the hate. It’s 2020 and the world has changed drastically but you still pretend it’s 1960 (or 1860 ha.)

And all these comments about ‘we voted on it’ or ‘let the people vote on it again’ are pretty funny. The rest of the country and world will vote on it for you, except it won’t be with ballots. It will be with dollars and opportunities, of which you will get none. Then in a few years maybe the rest of our country can vote to keep Mississippi or cast it aside, and you can get a feel for majority rule.

Anonymous said...

At this point I don't see any choice but to change the flag. The Stars & Bars has been co-opted by the left as a symbol for nothing but racism and slavery and they will never let it go. You've got to pick your battles and this is just not the hill to die on.

That said, I do not like the Stennis Flag. Maybe someone could come up with a design that keeps most of the existing flag but replaces the Confederate flag with the middle of the Stennis flag, a large star surrounded by smaller stars.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are not book readers the albatros is a reference to the Mariners legend https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albatross_(metaphor)

Anonymous said...

Agreed 2:31.

The "Stennis Flag" is beyond boring.

Anonymous said...

Why won’t anyone give credit to Dylan Roof? He brought this issue back into the national spotlight.

Anonymous said...

2:31 - You wouldn't recognize The Stars and Bars if it bit you in the ass. The current state flag contains no likeness of The Stars and Bars. 'That being said'....education is a good thing. Try it.

Anonymous said...

Since it won't solve all our problems, let's just leave it alone.
Mississippi Logic.

Anonymous said...

Salter is an albatross around the neck if real journalism.
His idea is to sell out our heritage for 30 pieces of silver...even less!!

Anonymous said...

Funny how politicians and journalists are coming out of the woodwork to voice their opinion. They have been silent on this for along time and now they see an opportunity to been heard and all of a sudden pipe up with whatever drivel spews from their fat faces.

At least Donna is consistent with her hate-filled opinions.

Anonymous said...

@2:31 and @3:31, what do you think of the flag suggestion at @2:23?

While I think some of the symbolism seems a little forced, it is a good looking flag....

Zuzu Petals said...

Sid Salter is an albatross around the necks of HIS grandchildren, no doubt. Put the ficking flag issue to a vote, not a referendum, and we shall all abide by the result, until the next wave of PC malcontents rises up to whine in chorus.

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