A gentleman corresponded in the July 4 edition concerning the change of the state flag (Kenneth R. McNease, “Lawmakers against flag are traitors”). He let it be known that no new design would ever meet his approval or have his allegiance. This is true despite the fact that a successor flag is yet to be adopted. He is certainly within his rights to say this.
But he continued to label those who didn’t vote as he desired traitors. That false opinion should not go unchallenged. It is not a fact, nor will it ever become one. We elect legislators to lead. They cannot do it by taking a poll. That is called following. It is more important to be right than popular. It is more important to follow the Golden Rule than to get re-elected.
To paraphrase the apostle Paul, if it offends my brother to eat meat, I’ll be a vegetarian. In the 1894 flag, a substantial percentage of Mississippi’s population (as well as more than a few out-of-state on-lookers) see a grievance. Both sides can be seen, but both can’t be right. There are thousands in the valley of decision.
After Appomattox, Robert E. Lee knew many Southerners would want to glorify him. A stately son of Virginia, he tried to discourage such thinking without success.
I oppose reparations. I’m not for sandblasting Stone Mountain. History is unchangeable. For better or worse, tomorrow is different than yesterday was. The flag points to our future. It should represent the hope of a better life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all Mississippi’s citizens. Too often, compromise is misunderstood as capitulation.
Old-flag supporters are generally offended in the present outcome. They believe heritage is being wronged. Heritage wasn’t pretty for everyone, whether black or white. Honestly, why can’t we recognize inequalities, past and present? Separate but equal in the education system of 1960 was a myth, and we knew it. Lyndon Johnson was from Texas. He understood plainly. Please examine the history a little more objectively.
A given event will be seen differently depending of the degree to which the viewer’s self-interest is involved. It all depends on whose ox is being gored.