The city of Tupelo has become the latest center of attention in the ongoing state-wide debate regarding the future of the Mississippi flag. Earlier today, Mayor Jason Shelton issued an executive order stating that the flag be removed from where it flew outside of the city’s police department. The order negates the decision made by the city’s previous city council.
“I, Jason Shelton, Mayor of the City of Tupelo, pursuant to Miss. Code Anno. Sec. 21-8- 15 and recognizing that the Order of the previous City Council dated November 1, 2016 regarding flag displays at city buildings was not an ordinance of the City of Tupelo, but merely a declaration of the will of the previous City Council and therefore non-binding on its successors, the City of Tupelo Flag will be displayed and flown in lieu of the State Flag at the Tupelo Police Administration building until further declaration by the governing authorities.”
In a Facebook post following the announcement, Shelton says that he made the decision knowing that many would disagree with him.
“To me, political leadership is about doing your best to follow the will of your constituents, but ultimately about following your heart and doing what you think is right,” Shelton said. “Today, I made decisions that I feel are right with a full understanding that many of my friends and supporters will disagree. Difficult decisions are part of the job and being mayor of the city of Tupelo is the greatest honor of my life, and I will continue to work hard every day to better the city of Tupelo to the best of my ability. Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers for our great, All-America City.”
Comments on the post ranged from anger to gratitude toward Shelton’s decision with several referencing the 2001 vote to keep the current design.
One commenter wrote, “The people of the state of Mississippi voted. How are you entitled to go against the people’s majority vote?
Another says that the move was “cowardice”.
“Cowardice move,” the woman wrote. “The people of Mississippi voted to keep the current flag. Yes, the vote was many years ago, but until another vote is held, the current flag is the official flag for our state. If the flag is taken down from the city, they should lose state funding.”
On the flip side, many comments supported Shelton’s decision.
One commenter said. “Mayor Shelton, you will go down in history for having done the right thing for the City of Tupelo. I applaud you.”
One man wrote, “I cool with it. As a state, we should develop a flag that symbolizes who we are as a state. I’m proud of you, doing the right thing is hard work, good luck.”
“Very proud of you today Jason. Doing the right thing many times does not make you popular and is rarely the “easy” thing to do. You’ll always [have] my vote,” another woman wrote.
Shelton also reportedly stated that Mississippi should adopt a new state flag. Currently, the state flag still flies outside of the City Hall building in Tupelo.