/Leaders consider letting voters decide state flag Are they sidestepping

Leaders consider letting voters decide state flag Are they sidestepping

Many state officials and observers noted that Mississippi would get terrible publicity if it held another referendum on the flag. Mississippi Today polled its legislators about the flag this week. Many of those who said that voters should decide openly expressed concern at the possibility of such a spectacle. Others argue that elected representatives are responsible for deciding such issues in a representative democracy. This is because our founding fathers were as scared of “tyranny of majority” as they were despots. There would be no civil rights if everything was decided by direct referendum. The government would be unable to levy taxes. Everything would be governed by the most populous parts of the country and our state. “As senators or representatives, we have been sent at the Capitol to lead, make decisions,” stated Angela Turner Ford (D-West Point), chairwoman of Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. This group supports changing the flag but opposes a referendum. “… Let’s not forget to address this issue in Jackson! We spend billions of dollars on state laws. It’s our job.” Ford pointed out that the Legislature had changed the state seal several years ago without any protest that it should be subject to a referendum. The current state flag was also adopted by lawmakers in an 1894 special legislative session. Andy Taggart is a long-standing Mississippi politician, author, and patriarch of Republican Party of Mississippi. He has always supported changing the flag. He believes that the Legislature should alter it. Taggart stated, “There’s no doubt in my mind that if Jim Crow laws had been put to a public referendum by Mississippi voters in 1950s and 1960s, those laws wouldn’t have been changed.” “We elect legislators to make difficult decisions about raising or decreasing our taxes or borrowing or not borrowing millions of dollars in public credit.” Taggart said that the Legislature should retire the state flag with dignity. Let’s create a state history museum. Let’s hold a beautiful, dignified flag retirement ceremony. Taggart stated that he believes Mississippians will vote to change their flag. Taggart stated, “While I don’t want to share our dirty laundry in such an open campaign, I’m confident that people want to change the flag.” “… “If it is sent to the public referendum, it will be accepted as much as possible and I will work to prevail on that vote,” said Taggart. Delbert Hosemann stated: “I have always been and still am in favor of putting a decision about Mississippi’s flag on a state ballot… It is time to resolve this controversy. “The flag that represents me and my children should reflect the collective future of all our citizens, as determined by those who will be living under that banner,” said House Speaker Philip Gunn on Friday. Gunn is the most prominent Mississippi GOP lawmaker to call for the flag’s change. Gunn stated that there are two options: the Legislature can take the leadership role or hold a referendum. “… “I’ve always maintained I believe the Legislature should assume the leadership role,” Gunn stated. But Gunn claimed that the reality is that there is not enough votes in the Legislature for that to happen, at least during this session. He indicated that there was some discussion about putting the issue up for a referendum.