One man's heritage is another's symbol of oppression. Of course, in a democracy, a simple majority can decide whether or not to ignore the minority's sensibilities. Not exactly a recipe for harmonious race relations, but we're talking about heritage, dadgummit!!
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Georgia on Tuesday moved one step closer to passing a bill that could give voters a chance to resurrect a discarded state flag that bears a giant emblem of the pro-slavery Confederacy.
With only two days remaining in the southern state's annual legislative session, state senators began debating a proposal to change the current flag and seek the approval of voters in a binding referendum next year.
If Georgians reject the new design, which resembles a pre-1865 banner, a second referendum would be held to decide whether to return to a 1956-era rebel flag that was set aside two years ago by former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes....
The bill is the brainchild of Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who defeated Barnes last November partly due to a backlash by white voters who were angry that the Democrat-controlled legislature changed the flag without consulting Georgians.
Prior to that change, two-thirds of the state banner was covered by a St. Andrew's cross with white stars and blue bars on a red background, perhaps one of the most recognized symbols of the Confederacy.
Gee, in an era of budget deficits, declining economic figures, and shrinking federal support, Georgia lawmakers are worrying about their state flag? Yes, I understand the symbolic importance of the flag to the people of Georgia. What I do not understand is the effort and emphasis focused on this issue. Things must be going pretty well in the Peach State if the biggest issue legislators have to address is their state flag.
The Civil War ended 138 years ago, and yet many Georgians, particularly white ones, are still emotionally stuck in the Confederacy. I wonder when Georgians- black and white (or any other color)- will realize that they cannot change the past. What they CAN do is to work together to create a future that is fair and equitable to all Georgians. Of course, that would require a whole lot of work. Frankly, maintaining the status quo and the attendant hatred and mistrust is certainly the path of least resistance.
Perhaps instead of expending their energies on wrangling over a symbolic piece of cloth, Georgia legislators could work on making Georgia a better place for Georgians of all races, creeds, and colors. No, you can't change the past, but you can make the future a better place to be.