If the Mississippi Flag Were Designed Today, What Would It Look Like?
The United States of America is a group of 50 independent states falling under a single federal authority. The states each have their own laws, governing bodies, cultures, and histories. And they each have their own flag.
At some point over the last few months, as the battle over the Mississippi flag grew stronger, I began wondering, “Why do states even have a flag?” Presumably, one of the main reasons we have a flag is because we’re supposed to have a flag. It’s what states do. They have mottos. They have seals. They have nicknames. They have flags.
But why? What’s the point of a flag?
There is indeed a greater reason to have a flag than simply because “we’re supposed to.” Flags actually serve an amazing purpose. Whether they represent countries or organizations or cultural groups or states, flags are meant to bind people together under a unified symbol by which they declare “this is who we are.” A flag is an opportunity to unite a group of people under a common banner, one that they can all be proud of and call their own.
So let’s take part in a quick thought experiment: What if, up until now, Mississippi had no flag? (In actuality, we didn’t officially have a state flag until 2001, so this shouldn’t be too hard to imagine). Then suppose we came together as a state and said “Guys, we really need to get our stuff together. Everybody else has a flag. Let’s make a flag to represent our great state.”
What would be important about this flag? History, perhaps. Symbols of our culture. Representations of what’s important to us as Mississippians.
Then the all important question: if the Mississippi flag were designed today, would it include the confederate battle flag as part of its design?
I submit to you that it absolutely would not. Yet, we wouldn’t exclude it for reasons of political correctness or even “tolerance.” Nor would we exclude it because because we’re trying to forget about our history.
If the Mississippi flag were redesigned today, it would not include the confederate battle flag because we Mississippians are better than that. We would not want our flag include a symbol that represents the idea that certain people are not as valuable to our society as others — and yes, that’s exactly what the confederate battle flag represents.
I absolutely believe that we should know and remember our history. In doing so, we can learn from our mistakes and be inspired by our triumphs. So let’s have a flag that represents what makes us great, not what holds us back. Let’s have a flag that inspires us to move forward in becoming the greatest state in the nation.
Call me crazy, but I believe that can happen.