fourth parade confederate flag

Scott Stuart, center, holds a Confederate flag while dressed in a Confederate general’s costume on a People’s Rights organization float at Redmond’s Fourth of July parade Sunday.

You can’t pick up the paper or tune in however you do without being beset by reports of provokers aiming to rouse, inflame or inspire.

The new media age can treat the virtues of careful reasoned debate as anachronistic hypocrisy. The principle of freedom of speech is less an inspiration.

It can be seen as an obstacle — a tool of the powerful, not a lever for the oppressed. Even the American Civil Liberties Union, long centered on defending the First Amendment, has been wracked by debate if it should or has tilted away. Does adherence to the First Amendment get in the way of other things that are more important?

We admit to purposefully backing in to this editorial about the Confederate battle flag on a float in the Redmond Fourth of July parade. It is both a simple matter and a difficult one.

No one should feel uncomfortable when they attend a Redmond Fourth of July parade sanctioned by the Redmond Chamber of Commerce. And seeing a Confederate battle flag flying — even if its stated purpose was to be a kind of history lesson — made people uncomfortable. People saw it as a symbol of hate and racism.

The Redmond Chamber said it had not reviewed floats in the past and had not done so this year. Eric Sande, executive director of the chamber, told at least one media organization it would not have allowed the flag to fly if it had known. He told The Bulletin, in part: “The float in question was a depiction of the U.S. Civil War with both Union and Confederate soldiers and the U.S. and Confederate flags. I have talked with the float entry, who is a U.S. Civil War historian and he confirmed that the float was not making a political statement with the flag. We respect the sensitivity of this issue and will continue to work to our goal of providing a safe and enjoyable parade for everyone.”

We would rather that the flag not be flown. It has a toxic history. Would it be the right thing to outright ban it from future parades?

Some retailers refuse to sell the flag. NASCAR banned it. The Department of Defense banned it. Oregon banned it along with some other symbols from public schools. It is also a part of history.

The chamber could ban the flag from its parade and be unashamed. The parade would be no less richer.

But what if a group wanted to then hold their own separate parade in Redmond and fly that flag. Should Redmond residents try to stop it?

Would it be a kind of poisonous evenhandedness to allow it? Or should it be allowed to guarantee a right of our civil society to have the freedom to express alternative, even uncomfortable, views? Shut down speech that makes people uncomfortable and then where is the right place to stop?

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(19) comments

75934

Cant we just get back to the basics? A parade is supposed to be fun, a celebration of joy and happiness. Regardless of First Amendment Rights hold a symbol, a float, or a group to that standard. The only political lesson that should have been displayed was the struggle and sacrifices for the day of independence any others would be out of place and odd. Gatherings do not have to be opportunities to promote ones political agenda or personal beliefs.

BuckeyeDuck

Hit it right on the head with your statement.

BuckeyeDuck

Hit it right on the head.

CentralOregonFred

It's very odd that, in a parade celebrating the creation of the United States, a group flies a flag of an entity that sought the destruction of the United States by violent means. An entity whose motivation was to preserve human trafficking, enslavement, and multigenerational rape.

Janus81

I find the Confederate flag deeply offensive. My great grandfather fought as a corporal in the Union Army and followers of that flag were traitors to the United States,

That said, alone among nations, we have as the very First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of speech, expression, and association. People do not have a constitutional right to avoid being uncomfortable.

If someone displays the flag in a parade, exercise your own First Amendment right; turn your back or boo.

But beware of banning symbols or flags.

68836

I agree with you completely. Use the high road. Turn your back.

68836

For clarification, I have a few questions:

My understanding is that the float in question promoted the People’s Rights organization and was handing out associated pamphlets during the parade. Isn’t People’s Rights associated with Ammon Bundy, and has far-right paramilitary supporters, and is related to anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, and conspiracists? View liberals and Black Lives Matter activists as “wicked”? Members have been reportedly linked with anti-semitism, racism, anti-indigenous, and anti-transsexuals?

I’m certain there are thousands of Scott Stuarts in the world, but is this the one from Redmond who runs Christian Ministries Insurance? The picture on the Christian Ministries Insurance Facebook page has a striking resemblance to the fellow holding the Confederate flag. Motto: “Protecting The Bride . . . Keeping the enemy’s target off your ministry’s back!” Indicating he does “Leadership Training with his If Properly Led 6-part series matching Biblical Principles to Gettysburg Battlefield strategies.”

Isn’t the Fourth of July the celebration of America’s Independence Day? Why would l need a lesson about the Civil War during such an occasion?

91184

The city should be allowed to ban the flag from the parade. The group in question should also be allowed to obtain a permit for their own parade or demonstration if that's what they desire.

(Also, equating the Confederate battle flag with a BLM flag is a hilarious--and moronic--false equivalency)

LibGravy

Oh yeah! What could possibly be offensive about BLM activists chanting, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon!” While they wave their BLM flags?

Skittish

My understanding in the past is that the ACLU used to defend the KKK's right to march down the street. So, yes, it is possible to see swastikas marching down the street. Flags are symbolic of someone’s belief system, and it's the beliefs of the people projecting onto the symbol that is important, not so much the symbol. It's better for people to voice their beliefs, even those we disagree with, so that we may have a true discussion, which is contradictory to today's culture of censorship. I support people being able to display their racist BLM flags, so why not the Confederate flag or a swastika? Yes, BLM is a racist organization, but of course, no true racist just comes out and says it and always has a justification for their divisive and pernicious beliefs. Why do I believe BLM is a racist organization? BLM is intentionally dividing people by skin tone and then assigning differing values: have you seen the Smithsonian graphic on “whiteness”? Being “White” is bad.

BuckeyeDuck

Apples and oranges on the background of the confederacy vs. BLM Skit. While there's no doubt that some BLM folks could be racists, they're not the ones to blame as you contend. But I'm not surprised at your Republican response. It's not your fault it's the other folks.

Skittish

True BLM and KKK have their different backgrounds, but that doesn't mean that both can't be racist organizations. They both divide based on skin color and both have advocated for segregation. Both believe the other race is inferior if not evil. Both are worried their children and their culture will lose their identity. Both capitalize on fear and ignorance. Both wish to have special advantages and both have a very low resolution view of the world. Sure there are differences, but when it comes to what brings out the worst in human nature, they both are more alike than different.

guest572

Except it was the ideology of individuals , such as the KKK, that insisted a single drop of black blood constituted a negro, and was therefore inferior .... that isn't in anyway similar to what BLM is promoting. For 2 centuries + only white male lives mattered, and the laws written by those same white males supported that ideology, no matter what wording was written into the Declaration of Independence.

BuckeyeDuck

Equating the BLM and KKK? Still not up on our country's history are you Skit.

Gotta hand it to you, you really are following the Repub mantra to a tee, with some philosophy of your own thrown in.

gregb2781

I’d Redmond bans history they have to ban BLM flags which many see as violence.

62989

If Redmond doesn't "ban history", should we expect to see swastikas in our Veteran's Day Parade?

guest572

Exactly, if history is about remembering it from both sides, the group that made the float should make a WWII float, with Swastikas flying proudly next to the US flag .. Germany is our ally now. Most Germans alive didn't light the ovens at the concentration camps .. is this not the exact same argument that those that fly the confederate battle flag use?

kindergentlerbend

Exactly.

Skittish

And so far as BLM is concerned, all it takes is a single drop of "black blood" and one is a “negro” and therefore are superior: KKK and BLM are simply different sides of the same coin and we are arguing semantics. Semantics is focusing on inconsequential differences. President Obama was half white and half black genetically, yet is considered “black”. BLM is clearly promoting that black people get special treatment for everything based on race. Ibram Kendi has written in his book that the only way to counter past and present racism is more discrimination now and into the future, in favor of "black blood": he is clearly promoting “black” superiority. The only thing that matters is having darker skin tone.

Please explain how “black” cultures denigration of “white” culture doesn’t have anything to do with their lack of success. You know, things “whites” value like education, respect for each other, being on time, not breaking the law, hard work, nuclear family, “emphasis on scientific method” etc.. I suspect you can’t explain how the numerous deficiencies that are apparent in black culture don’t lead to the suffering that is in fact present - no one I am aware of is arguing that multi-generation blacks aren’t doing well in terms of financial success, education and crime statistics. But when compared to African immigrants, 1st generation African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, it is clear, multi-generation blacks are at the back of the pack. This more strongly suggests black culture has issues. If “white supremacy” and “systemic racism” were the dominant factors, then all minorities would be doing equally poor and whites should be performing the best by far, but that’s not the fact pattern we have.

The main problem with the “whiteness” argument is that what is being attacked is “American” culture. Blacks are arguing for their failures instead of embracing what works: in case you hadn’t noticed, America has had a very successful culture. Every culture in the world supports its citizens from indiginous tribes to industrialized countries: that’s called “normal”, NOT abnormal. If one of us travels to any other part of the world, perhaps except Canada, we are all at an immediate disadvantage as we are not in tune with the local culture. That’s not whiteness being rejected, but they are rejecting their own culture, so of course they aren’t going to do well. Perhaps blacks should focus on fixing their cultural prejudices against whites and things could better.

Final point is BLM and supporters misinterprets history so narrowly and superficially to make the point America is “founded in racism”. It’s clear from studying history that racism, discrimination and slavery are permanent in human culture all around the world and through time. There is in fact slavery still occurring today. The native Americans enslaved each other and the word “slave” comes from the fact that Slavs were the source of the word and were enslaved. There has been slavery in Japan and China. To pervert history to assert that only America has a history of slavery is absolutely absurd. To ignore the positive changes that have been made to allow blacks true equality to the point that they can be overtly racist without fear of repercussion is also absurd.

BLM and many “blacks” today are the primary source of racism and hate in America and taking us backwards. Blaming others for outcomes which they have control over is pure manipulation.

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