COLUMN: Paranoia among some flag supporters?

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, August 27, 2015

Supporters of the current Mississippi state flag are opposed to referring to the controversial flag as the “current flag.”

That’s right. It seems that the paranoia is running rampant among their ranks.

These organizers, who apparently do not have an official name after a quick Google search, want to have the state constitution amended to include a flag amendment that would prevent the state flag and its Confederate emblem from being removed.

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The flag amendment sponsors of Initiative 54 want the necessary ballot title of the proposed amendment to refer to the flag currently in use as “the 1894 flag,” rather than what Attorney General Jim Hood has worded as the “current” flag. The flag supporters believe such wording could potentially confuse voters if Initiative 54 ever makes it on the ballot.

Greg Stewart, the administrator of Beauvoir – the last home of the only President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, is concerned that state legislators will remove the Confederate battle emblem from the flag before the initiative makes it to voters, which would make the term “current” flag inaccurate.

“If you said ‘1894,’ then people would know what you’re talking about,” Stewart told the Associated Press Wednesday.

I’m not sure anyone knows what Stewart and his flag supporters are talking about.

Another employee of Beauvoir and flag supporter, Kitsaa Jon Stevens, is sponsoring the flag initiative and filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Hinds County Circuit Court wanting a judge to rule the ballot initiative should have the language “the 1894 flag.”

The earliest Initiative 54 could appear on a statewide ballot is November 2018 since drumming up the necessary 107,000 signatures of registered voters takes time. In addition, the state legislature is given the opportunity to put an alternative proposal on the ballot.

As we all are aware, Mississippi voters decided in 2001 by a 2-to-1 margin they are fine with the current state flag. No one seems to be in a hurry to change it, so what these flag supporters should be focusing on is preventing municipal governments from removing the state flag from in front of public buildings.

And by the way, the “current” Mississippi flag from “1894” can still be purchased and flown in front of your residence.

It’s past time to move on and focus on something else.