Governor Tate Reeves posted the following statement on the state flag on Facebook Wednesday evening. Below is the post in its entirety:
You’ve probably seen the conversation raging in Jackson about the state flag. I’m glad that people are expressing their views. That’s exactly how this country is supposed to work. For my part, I’ve only had one real interest since I entered office when it comes to the flag: if it changes it should be by a vote of the people.
I think there’s a good chance that Mississippians’ views might have changed since the last vote in 2001, but the people should get to send that message. My primary goal is the unity of our people, and I really fear any action that would tear us apart.
There’s an effort underway across the country to erase our nation’s history—to pretend that all of us are so much better than our ancestors that we must eliminate their memory. They will tear down statues of Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson…southerners and northerners alike. All because they are ashamed of our country. I believe America is imperfect, but still the greatest country on earth. I get why some Mississippians don’t want to give an inch to the corporate, political, media pressure. That makes the honest efforts to change the flag harder—not easier. I don’t think that if you want to keep the flag you’re automatically a traitor or racist. I also understand that a flag isn’t about the past; it is a banner for the present. Outside of all the corporate posturing and preening, there is honest pain and discomfort felt when some Mississippians look at the symbol on our flag.
I’ve always tried to be honest with each of you, and I’ll be completely transparent with you now. I’m torn on the path forward for our state. I’ve been thinking, praying, and listening. I still don’t have all the answers. I still think a vote of the people that this flag represents is the best way.
Some legislative leaders have changed their position multiple times in recent days. Right now, they are considering suspending the rules to change the flag. It would take a two-thirds vote. That’s how many it takes to override a veto.
Make no mistake, a vote to change the rules is a vote to change the flag. If they get those votes, a veto would be pointless. That debate would be over, and the flag would change.
Like it or hate it—this is everything I’ve been thinking and praying about for the last few weeks. It’s the best way I can articulate my thoughts. God bless, Mississippi.