Well, they’re doing it. I didn’t think I’d see this day for another twenty years, but the Mississippi Legislature is actually putting in the work to change the state flag to one that doesn’t have the Confederate symbol on it. A happy surprise during a rough year, if nothing else.
Before we get too deep into it, let’s look at what we did for this week’s Gibberish. Honestly, it looks like I spent the week griping because I had no energy. That was certainly Tuesday’s take on things, and the better part of Thursday was written during a spark of inspiration Wednesday night.
Saturday was a bit more fruitful. I’ll say it again, maybe the most frustrating thing about this whole COVID-19 business isn’t the incompetence coming from the highest office in the land when dealing with something that is beyond all the states’ purview. It might be just how angrily hard-headed and arrogant far too many of Our Fellow Americans are when it comes to doing the very least it would take to help everyone get through this. Florida’s posting daily numbers of 9,000 a pop and people are still calling it an elaborate hoax or blown out of proportion. Amazing. Depressing.
Anyhow, back to the flag. Because that is an unqualified good thing. It’s being done but the I’s are not all dotted and the T’s are still in the process of being crossed. It’s likely the legislature will be a while before they get something solid to send to Gov. Tate Reeves and everything I’ve read says it’s liable to be the first of the year before whoever makes this decision settles on the design for the new flag.
For the most part, state legislators are in agreement that the flag needs changing, though there are some holdouts. Empty suit Melanie Sojourner is apparently complaining we’ll suddenly lose all awareness that the Civil War or Jim Crow ever happened. She’s also blaming all the “awful things” from those two eras to a “fringe group,” which is just goddamn insulting. Frankly, I’m not inclined to believe the “we just want to preserve history” crowd when they make damnfool arguments like that.
And some, like awful jackass Chris McDaniel, are just being his awful jackass self and trying to pass the buck onto the voters so he won’t have to take a stand. Interesting thing, though, is that most voters are either slightly in favor of a change or it’s in a statistical dead heat. Hey, we’re paying legislators to legislate, right? Might as well get our money’s worth.
Let’s not bullshit ourselves, though. Most if not all of this zeal to join the latter half of the 20th century has less to do with any self-awareness or shame on the part of Mississippi as an entity and more to do with economics. In recent weeks, the NCAA, the SEC and C-USA have all told the state to shape up and suck wind, meaning they can forget holding tournaments and championship games and all that sweet, sweet dosh that comes along with it. C-USA, in particular, has brought in a ton of cash to the state. It’s in charge of collegiate baseball tourneys, and we’ve hosted the national championship like 11 times since 1996.
Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, most of the revenue that comes into the state comes from college sports. I forget where I read/heard this and can’t find anything to back it up – not sure what question to ask, frankly – but money spent bringing championship games and tournaments almost doubles everything else. The only things that come close are tourism and the casinos. Unless you’re into Elvis or antebellum homes the former doesn’t have much to offer, and casinos are their own strange little worlds unto themselves.
Polls aside, I haven’t heard much bellyaching from my neighbors on this, nothing serious in any event. And this is an unqualified Good Thing. This has been a rough year, what with the Trump Farce collapsing in on itself while the Base gets even more worrisome at what they might do if their new prophet gets denied, a global epidemic that’s being mishandled as we Americans show that we’ll be dumb to to the grave if need be, and the whole cop situation exposing the cracks in society as we learn just who’d be fine with a authoritarian police state and who wouldn’t be.
We’re getting something positive done, finally. Granted, we’re being influenced by the possible loss of income, but hey, baby steps. It’s still a good thing and it’s still a nice feeling. I wish I could say it makes me proud to be a Mississippian, but I don’t think my brain’s wired to work that way anyway.
Okay for all of that. A new month starts next week. I’m going to go ahead and put this here because it was supposed to be the subject of one of the weekend’s pieces, but the real world kept happening. I’m always trying to figure out just what it is I do and what unique I bring to the table. This has been a running theme as well as a thorn in my side. I don’t know why I need to know this, but I do.
Anyhow, I think I’ve come up with part of it, at least. To wit, Hunter Thompson wrote about the Death of the American Dream. I’m writing about the postmortem, what comes after the American Dream is dead and buried. What do we do now? Where do we go from here? How do we survive and continue? Do we even need to? Is it even possible?
I don’t know. Something to think about. Asking the question is always good, I think.