Where will all this political correctness end?By PETER GILDERSON,
Maybe I'm getting a better perspective, or perhaps getting worn down. I don't know. But I'm pretty neutral when it comes to the state flag. If I had an ancestor who had died in the Confederate army, or one who was a slave perhaps I would feel differently. Let's review. The flag was officially adopted after the Civil War in April 1894. The referendum for a new design was soundly defeated by 64 percent of voters in 2012. There has been insufficient support to put it back on the ballot in the 2018 election, although, I understand, it could be removed by the Mississippi Legislature should they risk doing so.
Since the shooting of nine black worshipers in a South Carolina church on June 17, 2015 by a white supremacist, there has been a renewed effort to not only change the flag, but also remove other symbols of Confederate history. First the flag: Mississippi is the only state that displays such a flag. After the 2015 shooting, South Carolina removed a separate Confederate flag that they flew alongside their own state flag. Most of our state's universities have removed the state flag. A court in Clarksdale has removed the flag, as has the state Capitol in Jackson.
Next - other symbols of the Confederacy: In 2010 Colonel Reb was replaced by the Black Bear as the official symbol of Ole Miss. Ironically many believe a black man was the inspiration for the Colonel. From 1896 till his death in 1955 blind Jim Ivy attended and supported many Ole Miss athletic events. He famously said: "I have never seen Ole Miss lose!" The politically correct administration at the university has also discontinued the singing of "Dixie" at games. In New Orleans four monuments of Confederate heroes have been removed from public grounds.
Where will this end? 'Ole Miss' is the nickname for a slave owner's wife. Should that go? A building on the campus was built by slaves. Should that be destroyed? But our first President, George Washington, was a slave owner. Should the Washington Monument go? The architect of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was a slave owner. Should it be ripped up? What about our history books - surely the Civil War needs to be edited severely we'll soon say. Let's not include Sherman's raids (he was a Yankee) when he devastated such towns as Meridian, burning most houses and stealing food (destroying what he didn't need) in the middle of winter in February 1864.
I was not born in the South. In 1957 I immigrated from England. That country too has lost a few battles. On the bank of the River Thames in London there is a statue of Queen Boadicea who ruled ancient Brits immediately before Roman times. Although flogged and her daughters raped, she led her army against the Roman invaders. Eventually she lost, but her statue remains as a reminder of past bravery and history. Shouldn't Mississippi do the same?
Peter Gilderson is a Northsider.