State senator: New Mississippi flag “pushed down” residents’ throats

Published 7:04 am Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel says that Mississippi’s new state flag was “pushed down” Mississippians’ throats.

Gov. Tate Reeves officially signed into law the new In God We Trust design for the state flag Monday.

In a post on Facebook, McDaniel railed against the process taken to install  flag, saying, “Mississippi has changed its flag, but it cannot be said we moved forward together.”

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McDaniel was one of the primary advocates against the resolution to retire the old state flag, which bore the Confederate battle emblem, and aided a referendum against the change.

“I don’t have a problem with changing a flag, but I have a problem with the process,” McDaniel wrote.

McDaniel said in the post that the way the flag was adopted was “just more backroom deals. Just another flawed process.”

“Indeed, it’s impossible to move forward ‘together’ when Mississippians were not allowed to choose a flag from multiple options, including the 1894 design,” McDaniel wrote.

McDaniel then said that the flag was “pushed down our throats” by legislators who “didn’t trust people to decide.” He also claimed the flag’s success showcased “backroom deals” and denounced it as “another flawed process.”

The new flag has a magnolia and the phrase, “In God We Trust.” Voters approved the design in November, and Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday signed a law to make it an official state symbol.

Momentum to change the Mississippi flag built quickly in June as protests against racial injustice were happening across the nation. Legislators created a commission to design a new flag, specifying that the banner could not include Confederate imagery and that it must include “In God We Trust.”

The public submitted more than 3,000 design proposals, and the commission chose one that has a magnolia blossom encircled by white stars representing Mississippi as the 20th state, plus a single gold star representing Native Americans. The gold star is made of diamond shapes that are significant to the Choctaw culture. The flag also has gold stripes representing the artistic heritage of state that has produced blues great B.B. King, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner.

The law retiring the old flag also specified that the commission’s proposed new flag would go on the Nov. 3 ballot for a yes-or-no vote. The magnolia design was the only flag proposal on the ballot, and more than 71% of people who voted that day said yes.

Mississippi voters chose to keep the Confederate-themed flag during a 2001 election, but all of the state’s public universities and several cities and counties stopped flying it in recent years. Several took it down after the June 2015 slayings of nine Black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The white man charged in the shooting deaths had previously posed, in photos published online, holding the Confederate battle flag.