Mississippi’s long, poor legacy needs to change

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

A group of concerned Mississippians recently formed the Mississippi Legacy Fund. On the surface this isn’t amazing news. But the group’s work could have a profound affect on the future of Mississippi.

The fund’s purpose is to raise money to campaign for a new state flag. Mississippi voters will make a choice next month between the existing flag and a new design.

And it’s no surprise that economic champions and visionaries are leading the formation of this fund-raising group.

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The fund’s use of the word &uot;legacy&uot; is especially fitting. It cuts through lots of emotional talk that tends to romanticize the issue.

Contrary to what some folks say, the issue isn’t about history – which is a defined as a chronological record of events – as some folks would argue.

No election or form of law can ever change history.

And it isn’t about &uot;tradition&uot; – the customary pattern of behavior.

Quite simply, the flag debate is about legacy&160;- something received from a predecessor or from the past.

Our current flag is, indeed, a legacy for our state – one that in the minds of many people conjures up bad memories of our state’s past.

Economic leaders realize that such a legacy can hold back our state in profound ways.

Would the new Nissan plant have come to Mississippi if the state was embroiled in a heated debate over the flag? No one may know, but we wouldn’t want to have to find out when the next Nissan plant comes knocking.

For decades Mississippi has been ridiculed for being stuck in the past. It’s a difficult legacy to live with and one that needs to end.

Mississippians deserve a more open, positive legacy, and the first step to that end is to change the flag.