Andy Taggart calls for new flag

As we have predicted before, it’s only a matter of time before Mississippi’s flag will be replaced with something less offensive to a large segment of the state’s population. It’s going to happen, and the sooner the better.

One of the more significant voices that came out recently for changing the state flag is Andy Taggart, an attorney and Republican activist, who is urging Mississippi Republicans to take a leadership role in “the charge for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from our state flag.”

In a memo published in the conservative political blog “Y’all Politics”, and in a guest column in The Clarion-Ledger, Taggart urged Republican office holders at all levels, as well as Republican committees and organizations throughout the state, to join the effort.

“Mississippi Republicans can today demonstrate that we understand that leadership is not simply taking people where they want to go, or even ‘letting the people vote’ on hard issues,” Taggart wrote. “Sometimes, leadership requires encouraging and urging people to go where they should, even when they don’t particularly want to go there. Mississippi Republicans have a powerful opportunity to lead now on the issue of the state flag, and we should.”

Taggart, who was chief of staff for Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice and who has since been a political commentator and author, noted “the simple fact is that the flag itself is highly polarizing, when the whole purpose of the state flag is to provide a symbol of unity around which all our state’s citizens should be proud to rally. Arguments that Confederate monuments and the like will be the next to fall if we change the state flag don’t wash. The state flag is different from monuments, street names, portraits, headstones and the like, because the state flag is supposed to be a symbol of all Mississippians’ civic identity. Sadly, we just cannot say that it is today.”

Taggart wants GOP lawmakers and state officials to lead the way during the 2018 legislative session “to strike the Confederate battle flag by statute.”

Just because someone of Taggart’s stature is suggesting it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen next year. Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have not joined the movement, although House Speaker Phillip Gunn has come out for changing the flag.

But as Taggart urges, it would be the right thing for Republicans and Mississippians of all political persuasions to support and resolve sooner rather than later.