• 61°

Flag vote shouldn’t be public

The tragic, terrible events in Charlottesville are a valuable lesson for Mississippi political leaders who say any decision on a new stage flag should go to a public vote.

Mississippi withstood a statewide vote in 2001 to keeps its current state flag, including the Confederate emblem.

But that was then. This is now.

This is the era of rising tensions with social media used as an inflammatory weapon, stirring emotions and rallying cries around extreme causes.

This is the era of racism unredacted, where hate is finding open forums a new life.

That bubbling underneath spilled tragically into the streets in Charlottesville. Even before a hateful man used a car as a weapon for terrorism police had let the protest go too far. Reports of water bottles filled with urine being thrown and smoke bombs and pepper spray being used by protestors is disturbing.

Then, the tragedy.

Our nation provides the right to peaceful protest and we support that right with vigor. But in sensitive times like these leaders must recognize the state of the union, or the state in this case, and lead accordingly.

Mississippi is in need of a new state flag. Its leaders must make that choice, however, rather than subject the state to a public vote and associated risks.