Analysis: Fight not fading over Confederate emblem on flag

news_inthenews_greenBy Emily Wagster Pettus

Associated Press

JACKSON – The Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag is an issue that won’t die, even when legislative leaders say firmly that there’s no consensus to either change the banner or to force it to be flown in public places where it has disappeared.

The persistence of the fight has been abundantly clear the past couple of weeks in the state House of Representatives.

Republican Rep. William Shirley of Quitman tried to amend several bills to put financial pressure on the eight public universities to display the flag. All have furled it because of the Confederate emblem that critics see as racist.

Supporters say the flag represents history. Shirley took part in a 2016 rally in support of the current flag, but said his effort to make universities fly the banner was not specifically about the rebel design.

“Whatever it is – pink, polka-dotted elephants, I don’t care – but if they are getting tax money they should fly the flag of the state,” he said.

After several unsuccessful efforts, Shirley stood at the front of the House chamber last Wednesday and silently waved two tiny flags – one, the state banner; the other, a plain white flag. He would not explain that action, but many interpreted it as a sign of at least temporary surrender.

The next day, the chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus, Democratic Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes of Gulfport, stood in the same spot and said Shirley should have apologized for disrupting the work of the House over a divisive symbol. Instead, she said he had “laughed and cooed” with other representatives.

“This flag remains a constant reminder of not just the past hate, but the current hate that continues to fester in this state amongst our residents and throughout this chamber,” Williams-Barnes said.

Mississippi is the last state with a flag that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem, years after Georgia redesigned its banner.

Mississippi has used the flag since 1894, but the state Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the flag, while widely displayed, had lacked official status since 1906, when state law books were updated and the flag design was not included. After public hearings degenerated into shouting matches between flag supporters and opponents in the fall of 2000, legislators put the design question on a statewide ballot in 2001, and voters reaffirmed it.

Debate over the public display of Confederate symbols intensified after the June 2015 slaying of nine black worshippers in a church in a Charleston, South Carolina, by an avowed white supremacist who had posed for photos with the Confederate battle flag. Soon after the massacre, South Carolina lawmakers removed a Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds. Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn was among the Mississippi political leaders who said this state needs to change its flag.

Williams-Barnes said she was told in 2016 that she should hold on and not make an issue about the flag because legislative leaders had a plan.

“So, I trusted. And I waited. And I waited,” she said last week. “And now, we are approaching the end of this legislative session and every flag bill is either buried or in a procession headed to the cemetery. … I am sick to my core of this flag and what it’s doing to my state. It’s not only about race. It’s about progression of our state. It’s about economic development in our state. It’s about tourism in our state. It’s about growth of our state. It’s about making Mississippi whole again.”

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  • Deadhead

    Bring it back up for a vote like 2001, whatever the outcome, you take state money you fly the state’s flag.

  • DWarren

    It is bad enough that the Progressive Democrat Party of Mississippi overtly and with malice in their hearts seeks to disenfranchise two-thirds of the state’s voters by nullifying the people’s choice of the state flag. One expects Progressive Democrats openly to oppose majority rule self-government on their perverted principle of centralized collectivism. The prime premise of the Progressives is that a small vocal elite of socialists, communists, fellow-travelers, perverts, criminals, and useful idiots should rule dictatorially over the majority with an iron fist against the will of the people.
    It is worse that the Mississippi Economic Council surreptitiously seeks to wrest the power of popular sovereignty from Mississippi’s voters by colluding with the Progressive Democrats. Blake Wilson, thankfully, has turned in his notice and will soon no longer be the president and CEO of the MEC. I’m still immensely enjoying the products of Sanderson Farms Mississippi’s competitors ever since the commercial enterprise’s head honcho took a public stand against the right of the people of Mississippi to self-government. And I still refuse to darken the door of any commercial entity that displays the MEC state flag replacement banner in flagrant opposition to the expressed will of two-thirds of Mississippians.
    It is yet a bigger calamity that Progressive Democrat Political Action Committees masquerading as “institutions of higher learning” in Mississippi unilaterally and arbitrarily usurp the power to nullify a two-thirds majority vote of the people by banishing the people’s state flag from public tax payer supported campuses. One may logically infer from the actions of progressive administrators and faculties who monopolize the state’s universities and colleges that a desire to indoctrinate captive student audiences in progressive orthodoxy–including resistance to majority rule self-government, anti-Americanism, antichristian bias, safe space delusion, subjective self-identification of an alternative reality, a mentality of unrestrained entitlement, and forcing the ignis fatuus of socialist egalitarianism down the throats of Mississippians against the people’s will–has replaced a commitment to post-secondary instruction and course content mastery.
    But the greatest debacle of all is the wimpy weak-kneed Establishment Republicans who were handed a super majority in Mississippi state government by the same majority of Mississippians who voted for the current state flag turning their backs on the voters and defying the majority to side with the Progressive Democrats, the politicized politically correct MEC, and the Progressive Democrat PACs masquerading as “institutions of higher learning.” Every Republican who ran and was elected as an authentic American values voter who then voted Establishment Republicans into leadership positions and defied the will of the people shares a personal responsibility in this greatest of failures. You can safely bet your sweet bippy and the family farm that Establishment Republicans, AKA Progressive Democrats who knew they had no chance of winning an election running on the radical leftist anti-American antichristian Progressive Democrat ticket, will discover soon enough that their lame excuses for their turncoat treachery will not suffice to soothe the ire of the people they will be required to ask for votes in the next primary and general election. I for one will no longer entertain the stupidity that the super majority Republican Mississippi Legislature refused to stand with the people of the state regarding the state flag because “they believe the state flag issue should be decided by a referendum instead of legislative action. The issue has already been decided by a referendum. The people have already voiced their will at the ballot box.
    Any current legislator who doesn’t have enough sense to recognize and to call out the Progressive Movement ruse of continuing to vote on an issue until they get their way isn’t intellectually competent to serve in a deliberative body as the people’s proxy. The problem is that those who were entrusted with the responsibility to be the people’s proxies in the state legislature have betrayed the people. Neither will I accept the lame excuse that “there is no consensus in the super majority Republican Mississippi Legislature to act on the state flag issue.” Such is nothing more than an admission that the official position of the super majority Republican Mississippi Legislature is to stand against two-thirds of the state’s voters and to allow an important issue to be driven by the Progressive Democrats (some of whom are pretending to be Republicans), the politicized politically correct MEC supervised by Blake Wilson and the Sanderson Farms Mississippi head honcho, and the Progressive Democrat PACs masquerading as “institutions of higher learning” rather than by the expressed will of the people. Good luck asking many of us to vote for you again. You’re going to need a lot of luck explaining that you stabbed us in the back for the greater good.

  • Thile

    Let’s pretend the nation’s longest-serving participation trophy didn’t have any racial connotations during the Civil War. Let’s skip overall all those pesky primary documents clearly stating that the war was about slavery and keeping whites supreme. Fast forward to the late 1940’s, when southern states were raising the flag in opposition to the Civil Rights movement. When people, white and black, were killed with a smile and nod from Good Ol’ Boy law enforcement. When all-white juries acquitted these murderers. Now flag supporters want to say the flag has been “hijacked” by the Klan and Neo-Nazis. Really? You think they looked at other flags and said, “But the confederate flag looks much nicer with our dad jeans?” Come on. It wasn’t hijacked. Those groups are simply the ones who admit its present-day purpose: terrorism.

    Folks who don’t support the treasonous rag are perverts and criminals. Check out a prolific serial poster and pseudo-intellectual supporting a criminal and useful idiot who attempted to blow up a Walmart in 2015 because the store stopped selling the nation’s favorite participation trophy (support for him is very prominent in the comments here: “Man Jailed After Bombing Tupelo Walmart,’ November 3, 2015).That some people are obsessed with clinging to a lost cause more than bettering themselves or putting things in modern-day historical context is generally a symbol of their general inferiority complex, I think.

    • DWarren

      Radical far left Progressives are prone to either: (1) revise history to suit their biases, (2) employ guilt by association as a bigotry conditioning defamation ruse, or (3) delete facts that interfere with their propagandistic goals to misinform and to mislead. You’ve managed to use all three old, trite, and hackneyed ploys in a single post. That must be some kind of Progressive Democrat anti-American antichristian record. The radicals should give you a medal or something.
      The KKK and Neo-Nazis display the U.S. Flag much more than they wave the Confederate Battle Flag and the Mississippi Flag combined. A simple search engine inquiry will produce all the evidence that an objective sane person needs to verify the statement. I suppose we can put Thile down as a founding member of the Progressive Democrat resistance to banish the U.S. Flag because of its status as a symbol of Klan and Neo-Nazi white supremacy. Otherwise, if Thile demands the banishing of the Confederate Battle Flag because of unsavory associations, but passes over calling for the banishing of the U.S. Flag, he will reveal himself as nothing more than an anti-South anti-Mississippi hater driven solely by prejudice, bigotry, and an ugly obsession to engage in cultural genocide.
      And whether Thile likes it or not, the Progressive Democrat Party has indeed morphed into the anti-American, antichristian, socialist, communist, fellow-traveler, useful idiot, criminal, pervert collective for radical activists. That’s why some Progressive Democrats have chosen to run under the false flag of traditional American values candidates on the Republican ticket in Mississippi because they knew full well that they didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades of being elected on the Progressive Democrat Party ticket.
      Moreover, two-thirds of the voters of Mississippi in a state-wide referendum voted for the current Mississippi Flag as the state flag. What exactly does Thile point to as being wrong and bad about majority rule self-government? Why should the majority be denied its expressed will in favor of allowing a perennially disgruntled minority of radical far Left revolutionaries to have their way concerning the state flag or anything else for that matter? Thile obviously believes that the radical far Left elite is entitled to rule dictatorially over the majority and that self-governing Mississippi citizens be demoted to the status of dominated subjects under the oppressing thumb of the radical Progressive Democrats.

      • Thile

        Once again, I did not reply to you, but I’m very pleased that you’re well aware of what you are. Your buddy Marshall isn’t a radial progressive, though. Try again, Derp. But the patented screed does reaffirm your support for a terrorist. Do you still put money on his books at the jail? Answer in seven sentences or less.

        • DWarren

          As usual, your only recourse is to hurl childish insults more apropos for a middle school playground at recess, Thile, where neither bodies nor mental capacity is yet fully developed. If you bother to click the “people” button, you will see that there are several discussion board posters who are much more prolific than I. Why have you not yet chided or cajoled those prolific posters, Thile? The fact that you always take the Progressive Democrat side in every discussion indicates that you are no more than a useful idiot fellow-traveler who parrots whatever Progressive Democrat propaganda is being flushed down the mental toilet at the moment. You voted twice for B. Obama who began his political career in the living room of Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn, unrepentant Weathermen domestic terrorist bombers. Your condemnation of domestic terrorism is very selective and incredibly hypocritical, as well. The problem that you constantly encounter is that the old trite, hackneyed, anachronistic ruses employed by radical far Left Progressive Democrat loons in years past to pummel traditional American values voters are no longer effective in the modern world. People have caught on to the fact that Progressive Democrat condemnation of some terrorists and their simultaneous celebration of other domestic terrorists indicates that Progressive Democrat opposition to terror is merely a political tool–not a principled opposition to violence in the pursuit of a perverted radical Left agenda. The Progressive Democrat ruse of calling everyone who neither votes for Progressive Democrats nor defends the Progressive Democrat coalition of socialists, communists, anarchists, fellow-travelers, useful idiots, perverts, criminals, and arrested development wastrels bigots, white supremacists, Klan, Neo-Nazi, et. al. has been overused to the point of irrelevance, and it’s no longer effective. Either take a new tack or be prepared to continue to be ignored as being of no consequence.
          I take that since you did not deny being a founding member of the Progressive Democrat initiative to banish the U.S. Flag because of its use on slave ships making the Mid-Atlantic Passage, its use by the Klan, and its use by the Neo-Nazis; that you are indeed categorizing the Stars and Stripes as a “terrorist” symbols along with the Confederate Battle Flag and mounting a Progressive Democrat push to eradicate the banner. Some of your cohorts are way ahead of you. They’ve been burning Old Glory for decades.

          • Thile

            What you refer to as insults appear to be your name, as you scramble to stand at attention each time I use the phrase “pseudo-intellectual, wannabe essayist.” Once again, I’m very glad you’re comfortable with that description. But seriously, were you supportive of your good friend Marshall when he threatened two television stations and the Daily Journal via comment sections and social media? Deflection and projections aren’t answers, Derp, and try to answer in seven sentences or less.

          • DWarren

            Qui vult dare parva non debet magna rogare.

          • TWBDB

            According to what DWarren posted at the time, he certainly was supportive – even encouraging.


    The fact that it is 2017, and MS still debates this absurd topic is frankly enough for entrepreneurs to look over the state when they consider places to expand.