Monday, March 12, 2007

The Mississippi State Flag

This morning I woke up thinking/dreaming of the Mississippi state flag. (I do my best thinking in the alpha stage of the morning. I've created a couple of games and about a dozen jokes that way.) Here's what it looks like now:

As you probably know, the flag is controversial because it contains the Confederate flag:

Image: "Another Salute To Racism"

In my dream/thought, someone's solution was to take out the Confederate flag from the Mississippi flag, and the joke was that what was left was just white--the group that caused all the trouble to begin with. So that was no good:

My proposal for the new flag, in the dream, was to include the black color along with the white color (and to take out the red, white, and blue altogether, since apparently being a US state wasn't part of the argument). The white would be on top (taking up the majority) and black on bottom (taking up the minority) to demonstrate that the whites, Mississippi, and indeed the rest of the south was originally built on the backs of black slaves. If people are screaming for the flag to show their "heritage," then this is what it truly is--oppression of a race. A sad reminder, but an honest one:

I also think it has a pretty modern feel to it, which is something else Mississippi's image desperately needs.

Of course, that's only if people truly want flags to represent something. My real proposal would be to get rid of flags altogether. Who needs them? Only Six Flags theme parks, as far as I can tell. Maybe dead presidents for a week at a time.

But if I had the opportunity to propose a design for Mississippi's offical flag that had nothing to do with racial tension, it would be this:

I've retained the original blue, white, and red from the old flag (because what counts is that Mississippi is part of the United States) but replaced any offensive symbols with the most pleasant Mississippi symbol imaginable--that of Mary Ann Mobley.

Mary Ann Mobley is a native of Brandon, Mississippi and became Miss America in 1959, the first Mississippian to do so. She's also one of the few Miss Americas to ever do much after winning her title, and do she did. Since 1959, she's been ubiquitous, appearing in Elvis movies, Super Password, The Smothers Brothers Show, Dead Like Me, The Match Game, Circus of the Stars, The Love Boat, and countless other shows, including a recurring role as the wife of Mr. Drummond on Diff'rent Strokes (showing that whites and black not only get along, but that blacks can be raised by whites).

Mary Ann is Mississippi's most precious resource and her beauty goes beyond notions of race, prejudice, war, pride, slavery, poverty, politics, and anything else that would prevent her from being the most appropriate symbol of the 20th state of the union.

If we can put aside our differences long enough to see it, I think we will all agree.

For your bonus edification, these are the two original Mississippi flags, before the state left the union: