30 May 2016 Expressing freedom of speech goes both ways — Confederate Flags in our local cemetery on Memorial Day

Hi there.  I hadn’t planned to blog today in honor of Memorial Day but I knew I had to after what  Kyle and I saw at the Glenwood Cemetery here in Alvarado.  For the first time since we’ve been goin up to pay our respects, we saw Confederate flags!  We both felt so hurt and angry.  I was so pissed, I drove back to the house to get my camera so I could show proof of what we saw.  I understand that whomever or whoever planted these things has the right to do so under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution:

http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_Am1.html:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This said, I have the right to criticize them for their choice of 1st Amendment expression!  Freedom of speech and expression goes both ways and does not exempt either side of a cause of criticism! 

Do you know why I hurt about this the most?  There are people of all walks of life and colors buried together in that cemetery, many of them veterans.  The living, the organization or group responsible for putting flags in this year,  cowardly used these honored dead to justify their separatist cause!  They didn’t proudly mingle those  Confederate flags with American flags at the entrance of the cemetery so everyone could see them.  No, they put them inside of the cemetery so you would see them after you entered.

The people responsible for this obviously do not care that there are several families of color in our community that have dead buried in that cemetery who now will have to walk by these symbols of division, oppression, hate and bigotry to do so.  Those are the people I was hurt the most for!  I am very ashamed of my city right now.  Allowing these types of things to happen do not bring a community together.  I have to ask myself, is this what we are teaching our children here?  Where there children walking along side adults when they placed these flags?  When I supported having my taxes raised, keeping in mind Kyle and I don’t have children,  to build a new Jr. High School,  is this the kind of curriculum I agreed to pay for?!  I’m just very disappointed, sad and hurt right now.

 

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-confederate-graves-20160530-snap-story.html

Editorial 'Confederate Memorial Day' is observed in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery

May 30, 2016, 5:00 AM

On Dec. 20, 1860, a convention called by the governor and legislature of South Carolina voted unanimously to secede from the United States of America, setting in motion the events that led to the shelling of Ft. Sumter the following April, and the onset of the Civil War. That brutal and bitter conflict was, at its heart, about the South’s insistence on maintaining the institution of slavery.

As students of Southern history will tell you, no single flag represented the Confederacy. The Confederate States of America adopted three successive designs before the war ended, and those were different still from the flags that Rebel troops carried into battle to separate friend from foe. But the most lasting of those banners is known as the “Southern cross,” the familiar diagonally crossed blue lines adorned with white stars and set against a red background. That flag picked up fresh currency in the 1950s among opponents of the civil rights movement. Today, it remains a potent symbol of white supremacy, racial intolerance and oppression.

Yet the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to fly it over some national cemeteries on Memorial Day and on Confederate recognition days, the latter celebrated under different names on four different days by eight different Southern states.

That practice is insupportable and an amendment to a congressional spending bill now moving through Congress would end it.  The Republican-dominated House is to be commended for approving the measure even though a majority of Republicans voted against it. The ban should remain in the bill as it passes through the Senate, where it should be approved, and then it should be sent on to President Obama for his signature.
The U.S. government should not be flying the flag of the secessionists whose traitorous actions more than 150 years ago posed the most serious threat to the nation’s existence. But notably, the bill would not bar individuals from decorating their ancestors’ graves with small Confederate flags on the commemoration days. That’s an objectionable practice, but it is a matter of free speech, protected by the 1st Amendment.

No region of the United States has a morally pure history. By the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788, six of the 13 original states had ended slavery within their borders. As admirable as that might have been, it also means the states had previously allowed, and profited from, the practice. And Northern states have their own legacies of racism and segregation, which in truth have been a stain on this nation from the first European encounters with Native Americans and which continued long after slavery was abolished nationwide.
But the most sharply drawn sin was going to war to defend an economic system built on the subjugation of another race in the belief that it was inferior to whites. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that historical leaders should be measured against the norms of their times, and not retroactively condemned by a later standard they couldn’t imagine. But kidnapping, buying and selling human beings as chattel – and beating, raping and murdering them along the way – are moral transgressions no matter the era.

Flags are symbols, and the Stars and Stripes reflects the stitching together of disparate states into a whole. It is the banner under which millions of people have served and fought to defend the concept of the United States and the values it seeks to uphold.

The Confederate soldiers, even those who also fought in service of the United States, opted during those four bloody years to fight against the United States. White Southerners may see the flag as a symbol of Southern heritage, but for African Americans and others it is a fluttering reminder of one of the lowest moments in this country’s history.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/ – interesting article about the civil war.  It is pretty long – here is an excerpt:

This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:

…A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states, including Mississippi:

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin…

Louisiana:

As a separate republic, Louisiana remembers too well the whisperings of European diplomacy for the abolition of slavery in the times of an­nexation not to be apprehensive of bolder demonstrations from the same quarter and the North in this country. The people of the slave holding States are bound together by the same necessity and determination to preserve African slavery.

Alabama:

Upon the principles then announced by Mr. Lincoln and his leading friends, we are bound to expect his administration to be conducted. Hence it is, that in high places, among the Republi­can party, the election of Mr. Lincoln is hailed, not simply as it change of Administration, but as the inauguration of new princi­ples, and a new theory of Government, and even as the downfall of slavery. Therefore it is that the election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions—nothing less than an open declaration of war—for the triumph of this new theory of Government destroys the property of the South, lays waste her fields, and inaugurates all the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection, consigning her citizens to assassinations, and. her wives and daughters to pollution and violation, to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans.

Texas:

…in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states….

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