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Confederate flag license plate decision coming

Ready or not, here it comes.

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is scheduled to debate [this] week whether to create a state license plate with a rebel flag that commemorates Confederate soldiers.

The new agenda posted for the Nov. 10 meeting shows the board will tackle an issue they originally voted on last April, but deadlocked in a 4-4 tie. The motion failed at the time because of the tie, but the chairman promised to reconsider the issue when the full nine-member board would be present.

All board members are Perry appointees, a fact that has not gone unnoticed on the campaign trail.

The board — all appointees of Gov. Rick Perry — tied 4-4 on the tag last April. The member who was absent has since died, and his replacement has not indicated how he will vote.

With Perry now running for president, the controversy over the proposed plate has grabbed national headlines in recent weeks, pitting supporters — who say the tag is designed to honor fallen soldiers and raise money for memorials to them — against vocal opponents who insist the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism that should not be displayed on a state-issued license plate.

Top Perry aides earlier said the governor was only expressing his personal opinion, and planned to leave the decision to the motor vehicle agency’s board. But his opposition, expressed in an interview with a Florida TV station, had widely been seen as a signal that the plate would likely not get a vote anytime soon — if at all.

Once again, Perry may wind up getting punished by the insane Republican base for one of the few decent things he’s done as Governor. I’d relish the irony if it weren’t all so damn depressing.

You know where I stand on this. In the interest of equal time, here’s an op-ed by Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson that aruges that the Confederate plates honor history, which he had sent to me after I wrote my piece. Like I said, you know how I feel about this, but you should read what Commissioner Patterson has to say and see what you think.

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4 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    This would be a great boon to law enforcement, because if there is a hate crime committed in some sleepy East Texas town, the likely perpetrators have identified their car.

    Can you imagine how prosecutors would use this?

  2. Diana says:

    Good thinking Michael. The Union flag was behind just as much racism as the Confederate.

  3. Many people in Texas have a past that includes an ancestor being on the Confederate side of the conflict. Many of my ancestors were here before Texas was part of the United States the first time. One of my great grandfathers fought for the Confederate side. I do not support this vanity plate. If you want to fly the stars and bars flag or paint your car with one on the hood, (it helps to have a red car or truck), you can legally do so, but I oppose this as a state sponsored plate.

  4. Bill Shirley says:

    An op-ed on this topic on Land Commissioner letterhead? That seems entirely inappropriate! I might go as far as censure from the legislature.