The Mississippi Flag Commission on Wednesday will unveil the final flag design that will be considered on the Nov. 3 election ballot. The choice will be to accept the commission’s flag design or turn it down and start again next year.

We hope this contentious topic does not get thumbed down for another year, but we are also well aware that it could. There is a large swath of Mississippians who have come out against the redesigned flag. Many wanted the old flag, with the controversial “stars and bars” logo to remain. That was not going to happen and will never happen.

Then there was a large swath of people who were angered that they did not have a direct say in changing the flag. They pointed to 2001 when the issue appeared on the ballot. Changing the flag was roundly defeated by a nearly 2-1 margin. Of course, although in calendar terms 2001 was only 19 years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago.

What is often referred to as the “Confederate Battle Flag” is untenable in today’s society. For whatever connection it had to a proud ancestry of Mississippians, the symbol has been hijacked by hate groups in the 20th century. There is no way that symbol will rise above public buildings in Mississippi again.

So the real choice is to pick one of the flags the commission has chosen and move forward or decide to do the whole thing over again.

More than 3,000 flag designs were submitted and the public had opportunities to vote on their favorites. The nine-person committee then whittled the field to about 200, then about 30 and finally a Final 5. Of those, these two were selected to be the official state symbol. Neither is unappealing in any way and, important to religious-minded Mississippians, the phrase “In God We Trust” appears on each one.

Putting off the inevitable for another year will do us no good. The flag is changing. Period. 

There is no reason to put this off for another year to bicker. Be bold and vote for the new flag, whichever one is chosen on Wednesday.

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