Opinion

Confederate flag is symbol of hate

My first run-in with the confederate flag was in Vietnam, where southerners, while busy killing Vietcong under the stars and stripes, used the confederate flag to intimidate and harass black and non-white grunts in our unit. It’s a racist symbol, pure and simple.

As you may know, the confederate flag is a symbol of hate used specifically by white racists and nationalist hate groups. It is meant to instill fear, intimidate, bully, attack, degrade, any and all non-white human beings. It is the flag of choice of the Klu Klux Klan, a notorious white nationalist hate group now seeking resurgence in Maine. See a confederate flag and you know a racist stands behind it. Not all Republicans are confederate flag wavers or racists, but all Republican racists are: and from the looks of last fall during the Republican convention, the GOP is about to make it its party flag.

Our supposedly friendly and inviting St. John Valley is now being infested with this symbol of hate. I’m seeing them on lawns and houses and now, while sitting on my front porch, waving on the back of loud and speeding pickups on Main Street.

America once fought the Civil War to free slaves. America flew the good ole Stars and Stripes, the south flew at least 4 versions of theirs. The one adopted by white racists today was a version used by the Army of Northern Virginia, an X with embed stars on a red background. The south lost at a humongous loss of life to both sides. The premise was: this is America, land of the free, and slavery was an abomination. We got rid of slavery.

But hate dies hard. See a black man succeed and see an uneducated poor white one seethe with hate, envy and malice. Though some white racists are found in the upper and middle strata of America, the majority is disenfranchised, discontented, unemployed white citizens who see the success of black Americans, Mexicans, Asians, etc, as a threat to their white entitlement, let alone their intelligence.

Most white racists are members of the National Rifle Association. It’s no secret. Just the other day in a one minute ad, the NRA called, once again, for violence against Trump protesters. This hate verbiage is not lost on already primed fearful paranoid hate racists, especially those loaded with tons of guns. There is cause and effect.

And please save me this freedom of speech spiel: You can’t yell fire in a full theater or wave a loaded gun in a supermarket; the first will get you jailed while the second will get you killed. There are limits to freedom of speech. Any sane society knows this. Waving and displaying symbols of hate, fear and divisiveness is one of them, as only animosity, discord, and violence can be the result and the end of any supposed social harmoniousness.

James P. Chasse
St Agatha

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