Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The hypocrisy of Confederate flag haters

“I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire As a developing nation and throughout our sometimes messy, but providential, history — “God” did indeed “shed his grace on thee” — but, by the same token, some very bad things were done. These very bad things were done under the sovereign authority of our American flag. An example would be the treatment of Native Americans. There are those Native Americans who would see our American flag as a symbol of oppression, hate and even genocide. There are vast, well-documented accounts of the atrocities. I am a son of the South and I am very proud of my Southern heritage, and I own a Confederate banner, but, I’m also a student of Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.] and his teachings, and an admirer of Malcolm X and see his relevance in a historical context. In fact, I would love to own a Malcolm X Flag, but I digress. The Constitution is there to protect our rights as citizens of this nation and this same protection is applicable to a political correctness that has become tyrannical. Imagine, if you will, if all of (us) males who have been sexually molested (by another male) viewed the Gay Pride flag (rainbow) as a symbol of the pedophile and demanded that our government stop promoting it or any other flag or iconic symbol. Somehow, I don’t think that would go over too well. Our society loves the simplicity of labeling, of knee-jerk, superficial reactions to social issues. We have become passive in defending our constitutional protection for all citizens. I have tasted injustice and felt the sting of having my constitutional rights violated. I detest it, and equally detest anyone’s constitutional rights being compromised. I say with Voltaire — I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. I’m afraid we as a society, have taken that ominous step onto the slope called slippery.

Gordon Smith Felton

Editor’s note: “Voltaire” was the pen name of François-Marie Arouet. Multiple sources indicate that he did not say or write this, but that Evelyn Beatrice Hall, whose pen name was S.G. Tallentyre, wrote this, or a variation beginning with “I disapprove of what you say … ,” in a 1906 book “Friends of Voltaire,” as a summary of Voltaire’s (Arouet’s) beliefs.
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