The Con­fed­er­ate flag must dis­ap­pear from the fair

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Let this also be a step in an awak­en­ing that purges the anti-Amer­i­can sym­bol from the iconog­ra­phy of ever y state in the union. Yes: the union. The flags of other south­ern states in­cor­po­rate im­agery evok­ing the South­ern Cross or Stars and Bars of the Con­fed­er­acy.

One hun­dred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the flag still rep­re­sents slav­ery. The bloody war fought in de­fense of slav­ery rep­re­sents trea­son and racism.

Charles County’s pop­u­la­tion is di­verse. Whites alone rep­re­sent 47 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion; African-Amer­i­cans, 45 per­cent; His­pan­ics, 5.5 per­cent; and 8 per­cent who iden­tify as other (source: Cen­sus Pop­u­la­tion Es­ti­mates 2015). Yet images of the flag wav­ing in a public space serve as a stark re­minder of the hate that re­mains in Amer­ica.

Civil War memo­ri­als to fallen Con­fed­er­ate sol­diers dot old bat­tle­fields on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, and stat­ues of rebel sol­diers stand tall on city streets as nearby as Alexan­dria, Va. But mon­u­ments erected long ago do lit­tle more than ac­knowl­edge that past. As his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­facts, they lack the po­lit­i­cal po­tency of the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag. Un­like memo­ri­als and stat­ues, flags can be­come ral­ly­ing cries for

peo­ple — in­clud­ing shooter Dy­lann Roof and oth­ers, who be­lieve in what the Con­fed­er­ate flag stood for.

This is not an is­sue of free speech. The fair is a private en­tity that rents from the Charles County Fair Board, which has the right and re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­trol what is al­lowed on its grounds. It’s equiv­a­lent to how you get to con­trol what is said on your own prop­erty: if a guest in your house says some­thing that of­fends you, you can tell them to leave.

The county-elected lead­er­ship, state del­e­gates, fair board rep­re­sen­ta­tives and or­ga­niz­ers should do the right thing for the good of mankind and not al­low that sym­bol of hate to fly in the face of Charles County res­i­dents.

Deron E. Tross, Wal­dorf

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