Mississippi to remove Confederate emblem from flag

ABC News:

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi lawmakers voted Sunday to surrender the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War.

This is good. However…

A commission will design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words “In God We Trust.”

So, kinda one step forward and one step back. They are replacing one type of exclusionary symbolism with another, so it’s kind of a lateral move. However, given the fact that this is Mississippi we’re talking about for fuck’s sake, any movement that isn’t a direct step backwards is probably, on balance, not a bad thing.

As a non-religous person myself, I can say — speaking only for myself — that the slogan “In God We Trust”, while certainly exclusionary, and certainly contrary to our “first freedom” — the freedom from religion guaranteed by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment — and very clearly running contrary to our forefather’s ideal of a nation of “rugged indiviualists1,” it does not carry the same centuries-old history of racism, hatred, and oppression as the various forms of Confederate flags and/or symbolism2.

So, again, given that this is Mississippi we’re talking about — and we all know that Mississippi is rarely “not the last” at anything most people would consider good3 — I’m going to take this as a provisional “good sign”. Maybe more of a west-northwesterly move than purely lateral.

NOTE: Mississippi is the last state to remove the “Confederate battle emblem”4 from its state flag, but it is not the last state with Confederate symbolism contained in its state flag. The flags of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia5 all have varying degrees of Confederate sybolism in their state flags.

yeah, in a minute…
1 Why would a collective of individual states populated by rugged individualists want, much less need, a “national motto” anyway?

2 That’s not to say that religous-based prejudice, hatred and oppression do not have a long and shameful history in America, for they clearly do.

3 Likewise, we all know that on those rare occasions that Mississippi isn’t last, it tends to be their neighbor Alabama that is last. Not that my birth state of Louisiana or home state of Tennessee are ever very far ahead of either Mississippi or Alabama, for fuck’s sake!

4 The “Confederate battle emblem” is essentially a square version of what is commonly referred to as the “Confederate flag”.

5 Georgia’s state flag, is literally the first national flag of the Confederate States of America with one small addition in the ring of stars. When adopted in 2003, the legislature saw fit to give voters a choice between this design, which I doubt they promoted to voters as the first national flag of the Confederacy, and the previous flag of 2001 which still contained the Confederate battle emblem. A choice between a shit sandwich made of horseshit and a shit sandwich made of bullshit.

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