A Missouri friend who is currently living in Texas sent word yesterday about a travesty here in the "show me" state of which I was unaware. After President Obama ordered flags lowered to half-staff at all federal facilities this week to honor the victims of the Orlando mass murder, most other government entities followed suit. The presiding commissioners of Cole County, Missouri, however march to their own drummer and voted two-to-one not to lower any flags under their jurisdiction. The commissioners felt that flags were being lowered too often, and that cheapened the meaning of the tribute.
That back-handed insult to America's gay community and victims of gun violence might have not received much attention were it not for the fact that Cole County is home to Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. The public and political outcry was so great that the once testy commissioners slunk back to the table and reversed their bigoted decision the very next day.
I had planned to draft a petition and post it on this blog today - a petition requesting that the state legislature begin deliberations to move the state capitol complex, governor's mansion, state penitentiary, and any offices involved in the licensing of state professionals away from Cole County. Without the largess of the state, the County of Cole would be little more than a muddy slope along the Missouri River where locals could gather, commiserate, and watch the state's prosperity float on by.
But the county commissioners quickly realized the folly of their ways and relented - and so have I.
(I had a political science professor in college who would ask this question each year on one of his exams: The capital of Missouri is: A. St. Louis B. Kansas City C. Jefferson City D. Peculiar. He would count both Jefferson City and Peculiar (a city near Kansas City) as correct.)
While reading up on that Missouri flag story, I came across another. The commissioners in Dent County, Missouri, voted last summer to lower the flags on their courthouse and law center to below half-staff on the 26th of each month to mourn the Supreme Court's decision legitimizing gay marriage. That piece of county-sanctioned bigotry has also been rescinded.
Those on the road to enlightenment who find themselves in Missouri have probably taken a wrong turn!