It’s logical to assume that most Americans value their rights to free speech as protected by the First Amendment. As a topic of discussion, this particular Amendment (and everything explicitly or implicitly implied therein) has not only made headline news in recent years but also incited contentious (and, sadly, sometimes violent) debate throughout the nation. A sub-topic that has often risen to the surface in such discussions is the so-called, “confederate flag.”
I say so-called because there’s really no such thing as a specific flag representing the Confederacy, meaning the states that seceded from the United States and launched war against them.
You may be one of many who view the flag in question as a symbolic heirloom that signifies treason, rebellion, anti-American sentiments or acts of terrorism and violence against the nation from a domestic enemy. On the other hand, you might be among those who say this flag is no less part of our nation’s history than the “Appeal to Heaven” banner said to have been flown at one time by George Washington’s troops during the Revolution.
Regardless which position you hold, it’s interesting to note that what most of us refer to as the “confederate flag” was really one particular general’s battle flag and nothing more. As it happened, in 1861 or so, what we now commonly refer to as the “confederate flag” was proposed and rejected as a nation emblem. After that, General Robert E. Lee, leader at the time of the Army of Northern Virginia, adopted the pennant as a battle flag.
Surprisingly, it was flown once in World World II as well, again as a battle emblem after a skirmish on Okinawa. However, the leading general (who happened to be the grandson of a Confederate general) ordered the flag taken down on the grounds that it was inappropriate since Americans from all over were involved in the combat arena at the time.
With regard to the First Amendment, free speech is so fiercely protected that even public displays of a Nazi emblem are not, technically illegal. The same goes for burning a cross. Such acts would have to be proved to intend intimidating or threatening speech against a specific party or parties for them to meet the legal definition for unlawful behavior. That said, should people make such displays just because they can?
Free speech protection is meant to prevent government censorship, no matter how racist, hateful or inflammatory. I tend to agree with former U.S. Attorney General and White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who noted that since the confederate emblem is a reminder of such a dark period in our nation, it should be relegated to a footnote in history rather than flown with pride as supposed national standard.
What are your thoughts on this political topic?
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.