I don’t often have the opportunity to report something that will be read by both liberals everywhere AND hardcore conservatives in the South, but as reported by left-leaning blogger Matt Eichelberger of Cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com, the Confederate flag – for two hours on Friday – waved unrestrained over the Mississippi state Supreme Court building. I imagine this will spark strong reactions from people on both sides: shock and outrage by my liberal friends; righteous pride and momentary victory by my Southern conservative friends (many of whom still wave this flag on their Facebook profiles).
The controversial flag was mistakenly raised over the state Supreme Court building at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Friday, according to Kym Wiggins, public information officer for the state Department of Finance and Administration. She explained that employees ordered replacement flags from a vendor because the Mississippi state flag in possession was tattered and torn (much like the Old South ideology). With the plan being to order two flags so they would always have one in reserve, they were given two boxes labeled “Mississippi State Flag,” and both boxes contained two Confederate battle flags. Apparently the Confederate flag is similar enough to the state flag (it is) that such a mistake would be easy to make. Maybe.
“Without the wind blowing, you know, it’s about a 10-by-15-foot flag,” Wiggins said. “You don’t hook it on and lay it out flat first. The bars and stars do show in the upper left corner.”
And whoever raised it didn’t glance up to look at his work? Wouldn’t most people? I’m pretty sure I would…
Regardless. the error was noticed quickly (I’m sure!) and pulled down by 4:00 p.m.
The job of raising and lowering the flags is conducted by the Mississippi State Capitol Police. Lieutenant Hamilton, police spokesperson, stated:
“We got on it in a hurry, as fast as we could.” (Maddow Blog)
The State of Mississippi flag has significant meaning. From ms.gov:
Adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in 1894. The thirteen stars, sometimes said to represent the number Confederate States and those that might have been Confederate, are said to represent the “original number of States of the Union” in the original description. (Source)
Maddow Blog writer, Laura Conaway, called the court and received the following statement from a lady named Beverly Kraft:
“The court asked that it be taken down immediately.” (Maddow Blog)
Wiggins said that the incident was “unfortunate” and “highly unusual.” The vendor has been notified so that he can ensure that this “highly unusual” type of incident doesn’t occur again.
Joseph Parker, Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi, quipped:
“Have we seceded already? The execution is faster than I thought.” (Source)
Matt Eichelberger noted that the timing was très awkward.
“Not good timing for a mistake like this, coming right on the heels of new nullification bills being filed in the Mississippi Legislature.”
Eichelberger is referring to last month’s controversial move in which two Mississippi state lawmakers introduced a bill to create a Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Laws. Predictably, the bill died in committee. (Source)
The Mississippi flag is the only one in the U.S. that still sports the Confederate symbol. As late as 2001, Mississippi voters have elected to keep the flag as it has been since 1894
At any rate, the correct flag is back up now. Not that it’s all that much better. I imagine that it serves as a “subtle warning,” lest anyone forget which flag holds a rightful place flying over the state buildings of Mississippi.
For two glorious hours, the South rose again!
I am an unapologetic member of the Christian Left, and have spent a lot of time working with “the least of these” and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. I’m passionate about their struggles. To stay on top of topics I discuss, subscribe to my public updates on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me via LinkedIn. I also have a grossly neglected blog. Find me somewhere and let’s discuss stuff.