BRIAN PERRY/Flags, straw poll, pretty cows

Defenders of the Mississippi Flag were present during the speeches Thursday to confront House Speaker Philip Gunn who has said he believes it’s time to change the flag. Signs with “Keep the Flag; Change the Speaker” made the direct challenge, but there was no heckling as Gunn spoke. For his part, Gunn jokingly referred to them as “members of the Philip Gunn fan club” and said it was “good to be in a place where everybody agrees with everything I say.” But the crowd gave Gunn “amens” when he said, “I don’t care what the Supreme Court says, marriage will always be between one man and one woman in holy matrimony.”

Last year, emotions and passions were still strong following the U.S. Senate Republican Primary and Gunn spoke on unifying the party and working together. This year he challenged voters to elect more Republicans. Democrats, he said, were inseparably tied to their national party’s liberal policies and rejection of culturally conservative values. Gunn said when it comes to making state policy, Republican legislators have a seat at the table. He said he knows what it’s like to be on the sidelines – that basically described his college football career at Baylor – and if communities want their representative to be on the field they need to elect a Republican.

While the Confederate flag has largely disappeared from the Fair Grounds, like the state in general, politics at the Fair have shifted increasingly Republican over the past two decades. But it is by no way homogenous with prominent liberal enclaves. But like Rock & Roll and Church hymns and beer in a dry county, the contrasts and differences make the Fair interesting.

Madison Co. Journal