Tag: You’re it

By JOSEPH MCCAIN,

The 2019 Mississippi basic car tag is either the most brilliant politically planned item in government or just a disastrously designed political tool.

In case you have not seen the new design, the new Mississippi car tags are a “urine yellow” background color, with the State Seal and In God We Trust slightly off-center so that the number and letters of the tag almost cover the State Seal and almost cover up In God We Trust.

“In God We Trust” is almost entirely unreadable on the new tag but none of that matters to those running for office in Mississippi. The tag and the motto  “In God We Trust” are a political tool for certain politicians to say “outside groups want to take away our right to say ‘In God We Trust”.

Elected officials and others have used the important phrase “In God We Trust” for political motives and means since 1864. A pastor wrote a letter in 1864 and suggested the addition of the phrase to all money. An appointed official (Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase) first engraved it on U.S. coins (the Union coins) in 1864 with thoughts that it would help reunite the country. President Theodore Roosevelt had it removed in 1907 since he considered it “sacrilege” and tied the Trust in God to money.

In 1955, Congress ordered “In God We Trust” placed on all money and coins with the main motive as very political and very acknowledged: “We, the United States, are separating ourselves from the Godless nations”. “The Godless nations” were the communist nations mainly Russia (who somehow is presently the best friend of Donald Trump.. I digress how times have changed.).

There have been thousands of lawsuits to have the motto removed and other challenges yet the court has sided with the use of the motto.

Of course, the court siding with the use of the motto has not stopped politicians from using it as an election or reelection fodder. In 1977, Rep. C.W. Bill Young during his reelection bid introduced a resolution and bill reaffirming the motto “In God We Trust”. The problem was no one was questioning or debating not having it as the National motto but Young or someone started a rumor that certain officials were looking to remove it so he had to save it. I doubt that anyone is coming after Mississippi’s Car tags for the “In God We Trust” slogan placed on it but it wins votes for the politicians who use the words “outsiders” and are glad use God for political means.

I do think that the “design police” should sue over the tag since it is “piss” poorly designed and has every element of bad design (Information overload, poor readability and almost fails to serve the basic function of a tag). At least, if you are going to use the phrase “In God We Trust” for political purposes make it a decent design do like Kentucky make bold clear letters and make it stand out.

Yet, one benefit of the poor design is that universities, civic groups, and charities will earn more funds this year since some people will now purchase a vanity plate of a group they support not to avoid “In God We Trust” but to avoid it looking like someone peed on the back of their vehicle. The poor design may have been part of real plan all along so that the elected officials can say look at all the extra funds we brought to these groups since we made such a poorly designed tag. The Rotary Club will be offering a Mississippi tag in August of 2019.

“In God We Trust” is a worthy statement and helped us as a nation in 1864 and in 1955 but now it is used too much to serve politicians to get elected and reelected or pit persons against one another rather than trying to reunite the country with the phrase or make us one nation together separate from other nations. The phrase is welcome on car tags, in schools, National motto, state seals and on all of our money but I wish our politicians would tire of using it as a personal political tool.

Editor’s note: Joseph McCain is the publisher of The Choctaw Plaindealer, The Webster Progress Times and Winston County Journal. He maybe reached at newsroom@winston countyjournal.com or 662-803-5236.