A Mississippi lawmaker believes he has enough votes to change the Magnolia State's flag, getting rid of Confederate imagery that has adorned it for over 120 years.
As NBC News reported, State Rep. Robert Johnson III hopes to see his state change the flag, which has been a lightning rod of controversy for decades. And he believes that the votes he needs to get the changes made "appear to be there" in the state legislature. What's more, he believes that a vote on the matter could take place as early as Friday.
"Supporters of a flag change worked through the night to secure the remaining votes necessary for a successful vote to change the state flag. The votes to make that change are there in the House and appear to be there in the Senate," Johnson said.
Further, Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican who has opposed changing the flag, indicated this week that vetoing the legislation would be "pointless." Reeves has advocated for having the issue decided by the voters rather than the legislature.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Mississippi's flag bears a symbol that references the Confederacy. The "Stars and Bars" appear as a symbol in its upper-left canton, as can be seen in the feature image of this article. That flag, which is actually the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag and was never actually the "official" flag of the Confederacy, is now colloquially referred to as the "Confederate flag."
According to critics, by incorporating regalia that references an army that fought to keep slavery legal, Mississippi's flag is an institutional endorsement of racism and is a daily slap in the face to Black people living in the state.
Several coaches from Mississippi's varied colleges and universities certainly believe that the time has come for the flag to go, according to Jackson's Clarion-Ledger.
"The purpose of the state flag is to unify the state. Right now, this flag does not do that. Everybody needs to appreciate the flag and it needs to unify people and they need to be thrilled to be a part of it," said Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach.
So what should replace the Mississippi flag? One plan, according to Tuscaloosa, Alabama's WVUA-TV, calls for replacing the upper-left canton with a placard bearing the words "In God We Trust." That plan is supported by Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Lynn Fitch. Fitch, for example, suggests that replacing the battle flag with the phrase would reflect love and compassion.