In the Magnolia State, old ghosts have risen to once again fan the embers of division and reignite the conflagration that civilized America believed long-dead. It seems that after nearly two centuries of statehood, Mississippi just can’t get its act together.
The state’s most recent trouble began when the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans proposed a state license plate commemorating the end of the War Between the States, known in places long-accustomed to indoor plumbing as the American Civil War. This request is somewhat unusual since, with rare exceptions in incidents of transcendent courage such as Masada, the Alamo or Thermopylae–losers are not typically commemorated.
Even more controversial is the SCV’s choice of Nathan Bedford Forrest‘s image for the new license plate. Forrest is a contentious figure because he was a Confederate Lieutenant General during the Civil War. That, and he was an early and influential member of the Ku Klux Klan.
If Mississippi chooses to honor Forrest by issuing the offensive license plate, it will invite turmoil from within the state and opprobrium without. Moreover, the leech-choked mudpatch would become the first state to so lavishly celebrate a Klansman since West Virginia, which continues to name just about everything within its borders in honor of former KKK Grand Cyclops, Robert Byrd.