Letter to the Editor: America doesn’t need open season on symbols
Truth to tell, and at the risk of further inflaming current hysteria, the horrific event in Charleston has been turned into a “gift that keeps on giving,” into a new battle flag/Confederacy paradigm. What was long dead and respected — even by Union veterans — has now been resurrected into something so loathsome and alive that it stands in the way of “justice,” is made culpable for the dissatisfaction of millions.
Nourished daily, the battle flag/Confederacy paradigm villainizes the South, its military traditions, its war-dead and those who commemorate them. The politically simple give it their support based upon the actions of a single racist lunatic. It recalls the twaddle preached back in the 60s — that every American had a finger on the trigger pulled in Dallas, Texas, by Lee Harvey Oswald!
As offensive as the Confederate battle flag is to this group or that, the last thing America needs is an open season on symbols and “reminders.” Most Americans, I judge, are deeply offended by not a few of them, whether expressed in music, art, literature, religion, dress, hair styles, body art, or odd family configurations and sexual practices Further, they find it painful to think that what is so culturally offensive could someday corrupt present and future generations in one’s own family!
Nevertheless, I believe that most offended Americans also want America to succeed. They earnestly believe, if sometimes grudgingly, in the liberties of expression which America guarantees. Freedom is the fundamental ingredient baked into the American cake of custom. Seen in that context, say, is the question of whether monuments to Lee, Stuart or Arthur Ashe should continue to survive in Richmond. So, for the best of reasons, most Americans honor the cake of custom by keeping their mouths shut all day long. Deep underneath, they recognize this American reality: those who attack any group’s offensive symbols live, just like the rest of us, in glass houses constructed of their own offensive symbols, and are playing with fire.
Richard Hoover, Warren County