Putting flag issue to vote may hurt state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2000

Drama over the future of Mississippi’s flag makes for interesting headlines for some folks, but does it help our state move into the future?

The flag issue isn’t new and apparently it isn’t going away anytime soon.

As a governor-appointed commission works to come up with a plan of action on the controversial symbol, a Tunica lawyer is fighting to put the matter to a vote.

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While every Mississippian has the right to put an initiative on the ballot, we hope it doesn’t come to that.

Doing so will hurt Mississippi much more than it will help.


Since the petition was filed so late, the earliest the issue could get on a statewide ballot would be in November of 2002 — more than two years from now. We had hoped the matter would be but a memory then. We had hoped that Mississippi could get past the nationwide scrutiny to result from what would likely be an all-out fight over the flag.

We can imagine the signs, bumper stickers and T-shirts that would spring up touting each side. The lobbyists and spin doctors will be trucked in to help woo voters to the &uot;right&uot; side.

And a fight over the flag will certainly bring in a few outsiders who would love to stir up problems in our state. Sadly, even the potential for violence will exist.

We love Mississippi too much to stand by and let this happen.

Ultimately the issue needs to be decided by our legislators with the guidance and wisdom gained by the commission’s work.

Let’s use our system of government as it exists. If people are unhappy with the legislators’ decision, then put the issue on the ballot. Doing so sooner simply keeps the issue burning and keeps Mississippians divided longer.

This time, let’s use our heads, not our hearts and think before we make matters worse.