There is a movement underway to alter the Massachusetts state flag.
The current standard depicts, on both sides, the state seal on a white background. The seal is the problem for some. It depicts the 17th-century Native American chief Massasoit on a blue shield with his arrow pointed downward, signifying peace.
Above him is an arm with a sword raised. That arm is said to belong to Myles Standish, an English official who provided protection to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock fame. Around the seal is Massachusetts’ motto in Latin, which can be roughly translated as: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace under liberty.” Get it? The English settlers were looking for land—on their terms.
The flag has been in official use since at least the start of the 20th century, and has from time to time engendered controversy. But that controversy seems to be growing in the form of local petitions and official action.
And Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential hopeful, inadvertently cast fresh light on the controversy when in mid-March she criticized Mississippi’s state flag—in Mississippi—for its use of the Confederate stars and bars.
So, if the Massachusetts state flag is changed, what would or should it be changed to?
Get rid of Standish’s armed arm? Replace it with something else? Or replace the seal altogether with something else entirely? A cod fish? An American elm, Massachusetts’ official tree? The State House atop a pile of money? A traffic jam? Sound off in the comments section below.