Free Speech

A recent story on outlines a problem in the Massachusetts town of Walpole. It would seem that a resident, whose property is located next to the high school in the town, is flying the Confederate Flag. The story continues that the sports teams at Walople High School used to be known as the Rebels and their symbol was the Confederate Battle Flag. Several years ago the School Committee in the town adopted a new symbol and the flag went away.

People have all sorts of feelings about this flag. Some say it stand for racism and others it stands for a time when things were not so clear in this country, and other say it stand for the ultimate freedom that we have as Americans to express ourselves as we see fit.

Any student of history will say that the American Civil War was begun not simply over one issue but over a complex set of human rights issues, economic issues, and states rights issues, and far more I am sure. I am not trying to down play the slavery issue but that was not the sole reason for the Civil War.

We cherish our freedoms here in the USA the same way other free societies cherish theirs. Freedom comes with responsibility and we need to use those freedoms with much care. For example do we have the freedom to yell fire in a move theater if there is no fire? I would say no. Someone once said the freedom to swig your fist ends where my nose begins. As long as your freedom does not infringe on my freedom I say go for it… That last point is kind of funny if you think about it.

Here in Southbridge we are gearing up for a town election. We have 12 citizens running for 3 seats on the Town Council. Our town, like most towns, has some pretty serious issues facing it in the next few years. We need serious people on the Town Council. One of the bloggers in town, who until now has done a wonderful job reporting the news that no other outlet is reporting, has chosen to make fun of one of the candidates signs. Makes no comment on the politics but has dedicated two posts to making fun of the signs. I recently responded to the post calling it childish and petty and his response was it was his right under free speech to make fun of the sign. Okay he is right, silly, but right. Freedom comes with responsibility.

Back to the Confederate Battle Flag. We cannot deny our history anymore than Germany can deny it’s Nazi history or Russia it’s Communist history. History is who we are, and we need to learn from that history so as not to make the same mistakes. Freedom was one of the reasons we fought the Civil War. Freedom from slavery, economic freedom, and the freedom to determine ones own destiny. The flag is a symbol, some would say it is a symbol of the new found rebel in all of us, and some would say it is a symbol of the war that freed untold numbers of people from slavery.

What say you? Should this home owner remove his flag? What is our responsibility toward this freedom that we hold so dear?

Your Turn

1 Comment

  1. I happen to like the confederate flag.I have relatives who live in the south and they do not see the flag as racist but as a symbol of freedom.
    Most people think the civil war was originaly fought for the freedom of the slaves,it was not.
    The civil war happened because the south felt they were not going to be told what to do in the by people who lived in the north.
    Eventualy it became about the slave and their freedom,which was a good thing.linda

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