To The Daily Sun,
Ever since South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its government complex, the issue of where it can be raised remains controversial. This flag has been a bone of contention since its raising during the Civil War.
Two forces come into play. First, the history associated with the this flag. Secondly, the First Amendment is in play here, and must be conserved in light of the first. This First Amendment, the right to free speech, must be protected, and takes priority over the first (history).
Let's paraphrase an old axiom. Sticks and stones may break all our bones, but raising a flag, burning a flag never hurts, except to upset the soul. Yes, this writer does not like the Confederate flag. It hurts inside to see it flying. But the history associated with it can never be ignored either. We must not forget, as we remember 9/11 or the Holocaust. Yes it's ugliness that came with the flag; slavery and the bitter and costly Civil War comes with this. There is also the history of the deep South, which in spite of the abuses against the slaves, still offered a poignant history in our country.
The other day, a truck with a large Confederate flag drove past. In a sense, the deep feelings of betrayal was felt in this heart. But it was the driver's right to carry that flag, and to try to stop and educate him/her is not for this writer to do. One must persevere to the conservation of the First Amendment. "Black Lives do Matter Movement" is one way we can learn from this flag and it's associated past. But we must remember, from this movement is the increased awareness of all minorities rights that must be respected in this country. There are other races, immigrants, religions and creeds, plus the disabled, who also have suffered discrimination and abuse. There are many more than can be listed here. But just as we have the right to express our concerns, so the carriers of this flag have the right to fly their flag. This must be respected; as so the U.S. Constitution dictates.
In Mississippi, there is a college where this Confederate flag is flown. A movement is taking place among a unified group of both white and black students. They are requesting this flag be removed. It is hoped some peaceful resolution can take place without physical or verbal discord. One must remember, that while the flag is associated with the hated aspects of the Old South, the students also have the right to make this request. Whether or not the college can be made to remove it remains to be seen. This will have to be managed by the courts. One would think being a public entity, they would respect the students requests and remove the flag. Given the First Amendment issue, and that the college funding is either private or public, this merits considerable discussion by all involved. The First Amendment must be preserved regardless.
It must be said again, this writer does not like the Confederate flag and the negative aspects it promotes. That is a right held personally. But we cannot stop anyone not to raise or carry this flag. Then all of our rights are terminated under this First Amendment.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.
- Category: Letters
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