Maybe We Can Have Nice Things…

See, this is why we can’t have nice things.

– Every Mississippian Ever

Sometimes it’s hard to have nice things.

Parents of young children probably understand this. If you don’t have random crumbs on your couch, you probably either have toys on your floor, or smudges on your iPad.

Mississippians probably understand this too. When we usually see our state in the news or policy reports, it’s easy to wonder if we’ll ever have nice things.

But y’all, my fellows Mississippians, there’s hope! We actually find ourselves in a unique moment where we can take a bold step forward. We actually have an opportunity to have a nice thing!

I just watched our State Legislature take an important step towards replacing our state flag. If you’re lucky enough to have never seen the official state flag of Mississippi, imagine a Luther Vandross-style love song to the Confederacy, printed on nylon, and flown in front of your local school or post office.

Briefly, the Legislature had to suspend their rules in order to introduce, debate, and pass new legislation. Having just done that, legislation will be introduced in the coming hours that will apparently do two things:

  1. Officially get rid of the current state flag.
  2. Establish a state commission that will create a new design that will be voted up or down by voters on the November ballot.

Since the legislation hasn’t been introduced, it’s hard to tell what the specifics will be. But based on the language of the resolution, this commission would have two requirements re: the flag design. First, the Confederate battle flag will not be allowed in the new design. Secondly, the words “In God We Trust” will have to be on the flag. The bill could be amended on its way to the Governor, so we’ll see what the requirements will ultimately end up being.

In the name of honesty and openness, I’ve been a big fan of the flag design created by Laurin Stennis (see cover photo). I think it’s the best-looking option, and would be perfect for branding. Imagine having a flag that could be incorporated into all the things related to the state! However, with a Commission tasked with creating a new flag design, which includes “In God We Trust”, it appears very likely that my favorite flag design will not become the official state flag of Mississippi at this time.

There’s also a good chance that we could end up with a flag design that can best be described as “lame”.

Why can’t we have nice things like Tennessee?*

But, also in the name of honesty and openness, our current flag is trash. The confederate battle flag it features has been the banner of choice for the preservation of slavery, the massive resistance to civil rights, and the maintenance of white supremacy. It’s a racist symbol that has no business on anything, much less the state flag of our state!

Therefore, if given the choice between a lame flag, and a racist one, I’ll vote for lame ten times out of ten.

“Please don’t mess up a good thing.”

We’re still early in the process, and there’s still plenty of time for this to go horribly wrong. But for now, I’m clinging onto the hope that maybe, just maybe, Mississippi may end up taking a step in the right direction. This would be a very good time to contact your legislators to keep the pressure on them.

This really could be our moment.

*To be clear, Tennessee still makes me lose my rest, but their state flag is nice. 🙂

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