Other Editors: Now with a full committee, it's time to choose a flag

July 30, 2020 9:56:41 AM



At last, a commission that will select and propose a new state flag design can boast a full roster of members.


Late on the afternoon of July 24, Gov. Tate Reeves finally complied with a state law requiring him to appoint three members to the flag commission, joining three appointments made by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and three by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn.


Reeves appointed retired public school teacher and Union County resident Betsey Hamilton, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Cyrus Ben and insurance executive Frank Bordeaux.



The governor's appointments appear to be fine selections. We applaud the presence of Hamilton, a Northeast Mississippi resident. She will join Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill as the voices of our region. We also applaud the selection of a Native American leader as a significant acknowledgment of those who first called our state home.


However, we do regret that the governor delayed so much in offering his selection. The law applies equally to everyone in our society. Or at least that's the way it is supposed to work. But for nine days, Reeves ignored a law, which he signed into place, and required him to offer his appointments by July 15. It would have been preferable for the state's highest executive officer to signal the fullest respect for the law. Instead, the flag commission was forced to hold its first meeting last week with three vacancies.


These regrets aside, it's time now for the commission to put these issues in the rear-view mirror and perform the task at hand to give our state a banner that can be welcomed by all.


Under the historic legislation that retired our former flag, the nine-member commission will ultimately select a flag design and its recommendation, and that design will go on the ballot in November. Voters will then have a chance to accept or reject the new design. If they reject it, the commission will go back to work and select another design.


We would hope that a design can be approved by voters so as to avoid any delay in the codification of a new banner. The commission therefore has a weighty task. In 2001, even many supporters of a new flag design did not particularly regard an alternative placed on the ballot as very attractive.


No flag will please everyone. No matter what design is chosen, there will be naysayers. But we would hope for a design that can achieve broad consensus as relatively attractive, unique and recognizable. To that end, we applaud the decision by the commission to seek the input of experts in the art of flag design. We believe a flag that agrees with sound principles of design will earn greater affection over time as the battle to retire the former flag recedes.


This is a unique opportunity for the state, and hopefully one that will not need to be repeated. Let's get it right.