Voting on flag issue will divide the state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2000

After all of the fuss and squabbles and discussion, chances are good that nothing will happen on the controversial state flag issue anytime soon.

Former Gov. William Winter said this week that despite the actions of a committee charged with finding a new design for the state flag which presently contains a portion of the Confederate battle flag, the issue will likely end up going to the voters of the state.

That is something which Winter, who heads the committee, opposes.

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Winter fears that if the matter goes to a statewide vote, the issue will radically divide our state – more than it has already.

And we agree.

The issue could be easily resolved if the committee offered its findings and proposals to the Legislature and let lawmakers vote on it.

But apparently, with the Legislature still a month away from opening the 2001 session, Winter has already heard from many lawmakers who say they have no intention of deciding the matter.

Which, if it comes to pass, basically makes the months of work by the committee including several public hearings all across the state a complete waste of everyone’s time.

The issue will sit on the vine and rot because a few lawmakers don’t want to stand up and make a tough decision. Regardless of which way they vote, at least show some backbone in the matter.

We’ve always considered Winter to be the epitome of the Southern gentleman. He was, as governor, a politician ahead of his time. And he’s a man who in everything he does, does so because he believes it’s the right thing to do and for the good of the state.

Imagine the heights our state could reach if the rows of chairs at the state Capitol were filled with men and women of true vision and backbone such as Winter.