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November 19, 2000

By Staff
Flag hearing disappointing
To the Editor:
I attended the October 26 Flag Commission hearing in Meridian, and was disappointed and disillusioned. You call that a hearing? It was unlike any hearing in the functions of government that I have heard of.
And make no mistake about it, this Commission, appointed by government officials for the purpose of influencing legislative actions, is a function of the State government.
Hearings usually are formatted to allow participants to present their written and oral statements to the panel, and then remain to answer questions from the panel. This testimony is compiled into a record for the use and benefit of the legislative body that must make decisions and take action on the matter at hand. This Commission did not seek out witnesses with qualifications to answer the questions that have arisen from this controversy over the flag. It seemed that they had no indecision, because they did not ask any questions. Persons wishing to speak at the hearing were asked to sign a roster, which supposedly would determine the order of the program, on a first come-first serve basis; however, the chairman arbitrarily allowed several speakers to appear on the program earlier than their time, who, when after having had their say, left the meeting and went on about their business.
At this hearing, the sound system was inadequate, so that only the speakers with the loudest voices could be heard. It was not a hearing; it was a shouting.
It is hoped that the Commissioners are including in their report to the Legislature a record of the testimony at the hearings so that the legislators may benefit from the information provided by their constituents when they act on the recommendations of the Commission. It is hoped also that the report
will be made immediately available to the public. You might say, the events of the hearing were recorded and reported in the newspapers and on television, but, alas, that was a sorry job of recording.
The media seemed to search for the spectacular, the radical, the divisive, the agitating, the enraging statements and pictures that always brought further polarization and ignored any neutral ground.
The Commissioners adopted their position that the citizens should not be allowed to vote on the proposition to preserve or change the flag because that process would be too divisive. At the same time they have forced upon us these public hearings which have stirred up more animosities than we ever had before.
Tom Lawrence
Meridian
What happened to the holidays?
To the Editor:
Here we go again. Lights and ribbons and wreaths start sneaking out long before Thanksgiving. These first glimpses of Christmas bring me great angst. Then the much heralded arrival of Santa, thanks to the people at the mall. Perhaps they don't realize that we know the meaning of the word Santa. It simply means "gift giver" Norwegian, I believe, and that is the mood they want to set for us as early in the year as possible. Giving and receiving gifts that we purchase from one of their stores.
There are toys we must buy, gifts we must find, people to see, cards to write, parties to attend and what about the money to pay for all this? My list overflows with obligations and worries as my mental list grows and I find myself turning my thoughts away from the meaning of this wonderful season.
I find myself turning away from the red and green of Christmas and thinking back to the red, white and blue of July 4 and turning my mental clock back so I'll have time to do the stuff I have to do to be prepared for the holidays. Man, I'm tired already!
But wait! There is an antidote for all this. Don't rush the seasons let's enjoy them all. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
No more midnight madness sales, no hurry and scurry, no Santa till the time comes. Think about what we have to be thankful for, then think about the wise men, Mary and Joseph, as well as the real meaning of Christmas the Christ child. That's what we need to do slow down a little, enjoy the holidays as they come.
So the message of Christmas is really special. Sure, buy the kids toys and the wife a nice present. Sure, put up your Christmas tree and lights. Bake cakes, pies, cookies to go with the ham or turkey. Get together with friends and family and enjoy all the things that we in America are so richly blessed with. Keep Christ in Christmas. Keep it simple as it began. Enjoy the holidays one at a time.
Ken Kinard
Meridian

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