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The right to fly a Confederate flag is protected under that other one, the Stars and Stripes.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Confederate flag wavers say they are not trying “to stick anything in anybody’s face.” But, of course, that is what they will do by flying a giant Confederate battle flag atop a 50-foot pole along Interstate 95 outside Richmond.
Or rather, Richmond, the Capital of the Confederacy.
Virginia Flaggers seem determined to keep the state capital hitched to its role in the Civil War from generation to generation.
More is the pity. But the group has the right to make good on its plan, whomever it may offend, because every American has a First Amendment right to free speech. And that is the overriding good — a validation of the principles the country was founded on, despite shifts in whom the Constitution is to cover.
Extending its freedoms to all has not diminished the rights of the white males who conceived and wrote it.
Yet that theme is a thread that runs through continual controversies over Confederate flag displays.
That, and the conceit that protests amount to oppression when, as “flaggers” invariably and disingenuously insist, their only intent is to remember and honor the heritage of the South and the memory of brave soldiers who fell under the banner.
They fought, ultimately, for a way of life that enslaved black people and lost. But the battle flag was yielded for a century afterward as a symbol of racial superiority and terror.
The private Flaggers group says it has acquired private property and has raised more than the necessary $3,000 to run a 15-foot flag up the pole, once it’s built.
It meets the height restrictions set by local ordinance. It is not to be located in the public right-of-way.
All is on track for a September flag-raising.
A Richmond businessman who disapproves is talking of finding some way to respond in an “enlightened” way. That would do honor to protesters.
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