South Georgian says Tuesday flag vote worthless - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgian says Tuesday flag vote worthless

February 26, 2004

Albany -- When you go to the polls Tuesday, you'll get to vote on which Georgia flag you prefer.

 Your choices are the current flag or the solid blue flag former Governor Roy Barnes supported, but not the long time Georgia flag. That's why some Georgians say the referendum is a waste of time.

Robin Brown flies the 1956 Georgia flag in front of his home, but he will vote for the 2001 Blue Flag in Tuesday's Special Statewide Flag Advisory. "Then it will possibly force the General Assembly to revisit the issue."

Georgia has had three state flags in the last three years. Tuesday voters will be asked to choose between the last two. The 2001 Blue Flag, as it's become known, or the current flag. The former flag that had flown since 1956 is not included, and Brown says that makes this vote worthless. "Neither flag was adopted to honor anyone. Both flags were adopted to appease special interest groups. Whereas the 1956 flag was adopted as a living memorial to Georgia veterans who fought and died protecting Georgia soil."

 Brown and many others did not agree in 2001 when Governor Roy Barnes changed the flag, and played a big part in Barnes' election defeat. Last year lawmakers adopted the current flag, similar to the former flag but without the divisive rebel X.

Gary Smith supports the current flag. "Not only has it got some heritage groups to support it, it's also got many minority groups that support it. I think it's a flag that could put this controversy to rest, and we could move forward as a state."

Tuesday's vote is nonbinding, and will be used by lawmakers as an indicator.

Signs all over Georgia show the emotion. Brown and many other Georgians say until they get a real election on the 1956 flag, this vote doesn't matter.

Former President Jimmy Carter endorsed Georgia's current flag, saying the debate over Georgia's flag has gone on for too long.

posted at 3:53 PM by jimw@walb.com