Over the past few days, I have read the various arguments and justifications for the continuation of our present state flag.
I have been told that schools and cities that choose to no longer fly the flag should have state funding revoked. Yet we are the only state whose flag contains this symbol of a past enemy of the United States, from who we court and eagerly accept funding.
I have been told this symbol is one of "heritage, not hate," and the Civil War was "not about slavery." The "heritage" those writers wish us to celebrate is one that condoned the lawful right to own, beat, rob, rape and destroy other human beings. In its declaration of secession, Mississippi wrote, "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery -- the greatest material interest of the world."
This symbol once flew over brave soldiers, but it has always represented an unjust cause. From the great war over slavery to Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan and the civil rights movement, that flag has always been on the wrong side of history and justice.
I know the removal of a symbol will not fix all the ills afflicting my beloved state. I know seeing a Magnolia flag flying over my city courthouse won't change hearts, but symbols and words matter deeply, and that flag does not represent the heritage we should be honoring.