Lawmakers keeping status quo alive in state

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2000

Some 135 years after the last shot of the Civil War was fired the repercussions of the bloody war are still being felt in Mississippi. Skirmishes over the use of the Confederate battle flag rage throughout the South. While the fights and protests in South Carolina have received much of the national media attention, the battle is raging here at home too.

Verbal volleys have led to a racial pushing match on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and now the dispute has seeped into the hallways of our state’s Capitol. And we’re disappointed because that building is supposed to be filled with our state’s best and brightest leaders. But unfortunately some of those leaders don’t appear too bright after all.

We discovered last week that many members of the Mississippi Legislature apparently still haven’t learned the Golden Rule — Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.

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A simple vote this week in the House proved that point. Lawmakers voted 62-57 to reject a drainage bill that would have benefitted the City of Jackson.

Their reason, you ask?

Legislators thumbed their noses at the bill because Jackson city leaders recently condemned the state flag of Mississippi because it contains a portion of the Confederate battle flag.

Our local House representatives, Rep. Phillip West (D-Natchez) and Rep. Andrew Ketchings (R-Natchez) for the bill, which had already been passed by the Senate.

Trying to play disciplinarian for the state is not the role of our state lawmakers. As much as they may disagree with the City of Jackson’s actions, the Legislature should not act like an angry child and use its power as the rod of discipline.

Continuing to fight one another — whether it’s over the use of a flag or the validity of a drainage bill –will get this state one thing — more of the status quo. We must work together to make the future better.