Hearings over, but flag debate just beginning

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 14, 2000

After 15 hours of heated — sometimes downright nasty — public discussions, the commission studying whether Mississippi needs a new state flag is almost ready to begin the deliberations.

Just when commission members thought the tough part of their jobs was over, the real test is only beginning.

The governor-appointed panel meets Monday in Jackson where its members could make a recommendation to the Legislature.

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Common sense contends that the commission will recommend a new design for the flag which now contains a portion of the controversial Confederate battle flag.

With the likelihood that a new flag proposal is imminent, the hot-potato issue will quickly find a home in the laps of our legislators.

We urge Mississippi lawmakers to consider whatever proposal the commission recommends and actually vote on it.

We hope lawmakers who fear the inevitable reprisals such a vote is bound to instigate will choose to lead our state — not simply to let the matter die without a vote or leave the matter up to a statewide vote.

The flag issue can’t make it onto a statewide ballot for another two years. And that’s simply too long to let this issue hang over Mississippi’s future like an ominous thundercloud waiting to let loose its fury.

Mississippians should encourage their legislators to do what we’ve elected them to do — make decisions that helps the state take a step into the future rather than cementing our feet in the past by quibbling over such a low-priority issue.