Forget compromise; let old flag fly again
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
12/1/02

By CALVIN E. JOHNSON JR.

The politically correct are running to and fro as they scratch their heads and try to make sense of the recent election that retired a Georgia governor and several legislators.

There are few of these people who will accept that the changing of our Georgia flag was at the heart of the defeat of Gov. Roy Barnes and Co.; but it was.

We remember when the flag of Georgia, which proudly represented our state from 1956 to 2001, was changed. Barnes, who previously said it was not an issue, took it upon himself to railroad it through the Georgia Legislature and said the people would forget.

Wrong.

The people of Georgia, hard-working and patriotic, said "no" to forgetting, and for 20 months Georgians waved our flag in the faces of Barnes and allies in hundreds of demonstrations.

Today, there are those who want the pre-1956 flag as a "compromise."

Wrong again.

Not once at these "flaggings" was a pre-1956 flag present. I know because I was at many of these events and talked to the people and saw the flags. Not one soul has yet to tell me that they saw a pre-1956 flag anywhere.

Those who refuse to allow Georgia the right to vote say our flag hurts business in Georgia.

Wrong again.

South Carolina has been under a boycott and it has helped business. The Confederate battle flag still flies on the grounds of their state Capitol at the soldiers’ monument.

The same is reflected in Mississippi, where the people were allowed to vote and by a 2-to-1 margin gave a vote of confidence to their 1890s flag, which incorporates the Confederate battle flag in its design.

The liberals say that the old flag is not and never will be accepted by most black people. Wrong again.

Before the election, I went to fairs and festivals and passed out thousands of flag stickers to blacks and whites. A great majority of blacks took these stickers and wore them over their hearts. Some who refused my flag sticker said they would not vote for Barnes because of other issues.

The great majority of black residents are of goodwill. They teach their families to be tolerant and they know there is a lot more to this history than what public schools teach.

The experts said that Barnes would win. The experts forgot the difference between propaganda and fact. They did not do their homework.

I hope Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue will make good on his campaign promise and give Georgia a vote on the state flag. It is time to do something right.

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Calvin E. Johnson Jr. is a retired government employee living in Kennesaw

Original Link: http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/1202/01equal.html

© 2002 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution