After the state flag, what’s next?

Rev. Al Sharpton and his clones

The battle over Mississippi’s state flag continues with apparently no end in sight. Normal political lines are somewhat blurred over the state flag controversy. Besides Democrats, the NAACP, well-known Mississippians and others usually found on the left, the Mississippi Economic Council, some Republican leaders and many other conservatives strongly feel our state should adopt a new flag. But even if Mississippi abandons its current flag with the Confederate emblem insert, will that satisfy many of those who demanded the change? Of course not. It is not difficult to come up with a long target list for those who claim to be offended by the state’s history. We see that already in New Orleans. The group that spearheaded the removal of Confederate statues in NOLA has a new targeted list that includes the statue of Andrew Jackson at Jackson Square in the French Quarter, almost a dozen more monuments, the names of  24 streets in the city, the names of two hospitals and the names of seven schools. For starters in Mississippi, we don’t even have to consider the dozens of Confederate statues on town squares or in front of country court houses. Let’s start with the vast 33,000 acre Ross Barnett Reservoir, named after one of the most racist, if not the most racist governor in our state history. Down in Hattiesburg, we have the stadium where the USM Golden Eagles play football each fall. The stadium is affectionately known as “The Rock” to USM faithful, but the official name of the facility is M.M. Roberts Stadium. An easy argument can be made that M.M. Roberts was the most racist college board member in state history. If we head northeast from Hattiesburg, we arrive at Mississippi State University.  A bust of Stephen D. Lee is in the middle of the drill field at MSU and Lee Hall is where the offices of MSU President Mark Keenum and other top administrators are located. Lee is appropriately honored at State because he was the first president of the school. Lee was also a lieutenant general in the Confederate States Army. At Ole Miss, we have already seen where previous chancellors Robert Khayat, Dan Jones and current UM head Jeffrey Vitter have bowed numerous times to sanitize the school’s history and traditions. Since South Carolina took down the Confederate flag flying at its state capital, states other than Mississippi don’t have a flag issue so the groups that want to revise history have targeted statues erected to honor Confederate generals and veterans. Does anyone really think a change in the state flag will satisfy Al Sharpton?

Bennie Thompson, Mayor Lumumba and some others should be called the “New Racists”

clones in our state like Congressman Bennie Thompson or Jackson Mayor Lumumba? Lumumba and Jackson councilman DeKeither Stamps and other activists held a press

conference last week to demand the state change the flag. During the press conference the term “white supremacy” was frequently used. Lumumba even talked about the “noose South” in contrast to the term often used about positive changes in the New South. Lumumba’s black constituents and other citizens of Jackson would fare much better if something was done about Jackson’s very serious crime problem, potholes on all city streets and the other crumbling infrastructure of that city. After Lumumba and Bennie Thompson’s push for unionization by the UAW at Canton’s Nissan plant was overwhelmingly rejected by workers, Thompson moved back to the national stage. Thompson and other members to the Congressional Black Caucus held a protest to demand the removal of Confederate statutes from the U.S. Capitol. As I always like to remind readers, Thompson served as a small town alderman, mayor and county supervisors from 1969 until he was elected to the U.S. House in 1993. During Thompson’s almost 50 years in public office, he has become a very wealthy man. At the same time, most of the citizens of his congressional district have remained poor, need good jobs, need better health care and improved education. In a word, during 24 years in Congress, Thompson has not delivered for the people in Mississippi he represents. What does former governor Ray Mabus think? In a recent Time Magazine article written by Mabus, he said every Confederate statue “must be removed now and forever.” Mabus’ opinion should be rejected now just as Mississippi voters rejected him during his 1991 re-election campaign. Of course, let’s not stop at Confederate statues. Five of our first seven presidents owned slaves. In Monday’s Wall Street Journal Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University wrote that liberals sell innocence from America’s past and if bigotry is pronounced dead, the racket is over. I suggest people read Steele’s column titled, “Why the Left Can’t Let Go of Racism.” Deroy Murdock of National Review is also 100 percent accurate.  He wrote that removal of Confederate statues would not do a “damn thing to improve the life of even one black American.”

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