I’ve established previously on this blog that enlightened rednecks do not behold the Confederate flag and think to themselves, “I must display this symbol of Southern pride to make a bold statement to the world about my beloved heritage.” Instead, we recognize the flag for what it has become to so many people today — an ugly symbol of darker, racist days in American history — and choose not to fly it in the faces of people who may get the wrong message about who we are.
I’ll admit that it’s easier for me to reach that conclusion because of my own heritage. While I technically was born and raised below the Mason-Dixon Line, I hail from a state that was created during the Civil War as a rejection of the South’s secession from the Union. But West Virginia to this day has more in common culturally and philosophically with the South than the North, and rest assured that you still see many Confederate flags in the state.
All that said, I defend the right of unenlightened rednecks to fly their flag of choice in the land of the free — and I am glad to see that a federal magistrate judge in Oregon last week upheld the First Amendment Rights of one such redneck:
I wish that men like Webber and his father, who bought him the flag as a birthday gift, could appreciate why it is so offensive and would forgo their liberty for the sake of rhetorical peace on this issue. But no arm of the government has the right to impose an anti-harassment policy so broad that it becomes grounds for firing someone over “jokes, stories, pictures or objects that are offensive, tend to alarm, annoy, abuse or demean certain protected individuals and groups.”
The most telling part of this story is that Webber, a self-proclaimed “backyard redneck,” had the flag in his truck for more than a year before a school official noticed it. No one had complained about the flag, so clearly no one was offended, alarmed or annoyed except the politically correct bureaucrats who picked an unnecessary and unconstitutional fight.
Filed under: Culture and Government and History and News & Politics and People and Rednecks and West Virginia