A Slow News Day?

So it would seem, from the continuing interest in the decision of one South Carolinian to continue to fly the Confederate battle flag in the front yard of her house in Brownsville, South Carolina.  It’s not the first time this resident’s actions have been the subject of attention.

26 thoughts on “A Slow News Day?

  1. Mark September 26, 2011 / 5:17 pm

    A sad commentary on the neighbor relations.

  2. Ray O'Hara September 26, 2011 / 7:53 pm

    if she’s flying it from her own flagpole in her own yard that is her business.
    I think the 1st Amendment is in her favor.
    Freedom of speech also means freedom to be a jerk.

    • jackiehaddock September 27, 2011 / 4:25 pm

      Are you calling her a jerk or the people putting up fences, or the people throwing rocks on front porch.

      • Ray O'Hara September 28, 2011 / 1:36 am

        she is a jerk. and people throwing rocks are jerks, but it was really just a general statement that the 1st Amendment allows one to be one.
        the people putting up fences to block the view aren’t.

        • Steve Witmer September 28, 2011 / 7:00 pm

          In general, I have to agree with Ray, having freedom of speech also means the freedom to say dumb and/or hateful things. The neighbors, equally, have a right to peacefully protest, and if city ordinances allow it, to build fences, plant trees, etc, on their own properties to block the view.

          Unfortunately, this woman seems to have the all-too-common view of southern heritage beginning and ending in the 1860’s.

          Not in the same league as this incident, but a few years ago I received a call from a resident of the city I work for who was incensed that it was legal for his neighbor to fly a Huskers flag in his front yard and was terribly upset that we wouldn’t force his neighbor to take it down.

      • Andy Hall September 28, 2011 / 6:56 am

        “. . . people throwing rocks on front porch.”

        My reading of the news stories is that it was a single incident. In any case, that’s arguably a criminal act, and no one’s making rationalizations for that.

        But both sides in this dispute have chosen, at every turn, to dial up the rhetoric and call in outside groups with their own agendas to promote, and in so doing have turned a simple dispute between neighbors into a proxy battle over “heritage” or “political correctness” or whatever. The NAACP doesn’t need to be there, any more than the South Carolina League of the South or H. K. Edgerton.

        The fences are pretty foolish. But then, so is Ms. Caddell’s subsequent installation of a flagpole higher than the fences. This isn’t so much a matter of freedom of expression anymore, as a case of everybody trying to out-do the other. Where, exactly, does that end.

        For her part, Ms. Caddell seems quite willing to dismiss her neighbors’ perspective on the symbolism of that flag, while insisting that they acknowledge the legitimacy of hers:

        What happened in the past should be staying in the past. . . . what happened forty years ago, ten years ago, is over. It’s over. Why are we beating a dead horse into the ground? It’s done.

        So the segregationist, Jim Crow-era symbolism or message associated with that flag from a generation or two ago is “over” and “done,” and should be put aside, while her own perspective of the flag as a symbol from 150 years ago remains valid? Huh?

      • Charles Lovejoy September 28, 2011 / 8:00 am

        Maybe all of them 🙂 You know if her neighbors had of ignored the flag, it would have weather faded and went away and maybe she would have forgotten about it. . But when they started tossing rocks and protesting the neighbors gave the flag power.

  3. Charles Lovejoy September 27, 2011 / 5:45 am

    As I have advised many , the same laws that protect her right to fly her flag on her private property are the same laws that protect others rights to fly whatever flag they choose on theirs . I have also advised several people that the same laws that protect their kids rights to ware a Christian cross and Jewish kids rights to ware a stare of David to school are the same laws that protect the rights of Wiccan/Pagan kids to ware a pentagram to school. Tolerance in my opinion means tolerance , even tolerance of a flag or symbol we might not like. Maybe what she is doing is in bad taste but being intolerant and trowing a rock at her house and putting up a fence as here neighbor did in my opinion is worse. In my area I see people flying Puerto Rican flags, Mexican flags, various Caribbean flags and many other flags. When I see them flying it makes me thankful I live in a place where people have personal freedoms like that.

  4. Lyle Smith September 27, 2011 / 8:43 am

    I marvel at the woman’s audacity. America is a great place.

    • Charles Lovejoy September 28, 2011 / 8:12 am

      I think her and her neighbors enjoy confrontation. You know some people just love bickering 🙂 I happen to live in a neighborhood full of ostentatious Republicans, I have thought about next year putting an Obama 2012 sign in my yard and watch the looks on their faces.

    • jackiehaddock September 28, 2011 / 2:27 pm

      I don’t know if it’s so much her audacity or not really thinking her situation through what is the phrase discretion is the better part of valor. (Prov. It is good to be brave, but it is also good to be careful.; If you are careful, you will not get into situations that require you to be brave.)

  5. Andy Hall September 28, 2011 / 9:00 am

    What’s particularly interesting, and missing from other news coverage of this story, is that the neighborhood is not just historically African American, but was established by former USCTs in the first place:

    Among its founding families were at least 10 soldiers stationed to guard the Summerville railroad station at the close of the Civil War. They were members of the 1st Regiment, United States Colored Troops, part of a force of freedmen and runaway slaves who made history with their service and paved the way for African Americans in the military.

    I’d be interested to know how many of those protesting Ms. Caddell’s display of the Confederate Battle Flag count themselves descended from those former soldiers. For those folks, at least, their objection to the CBF is every bit as grounded in honoring their Civil War ancestors as Ms. Caddell’s embrace of it.

    • Tony Gunter September 28, 2011 / 9:07 am

      Obviously, she has chosen to secede from her neighborhood. The neighbors should enact their own Anaconda Plan.

  6. Michael Furlan September 28, 2011 / 12:12 pm

    Some good can come out of this.

    All the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination should be asked about their position on this person and the Rebel Battle Flag sometime before the SC primary election.

    I’d love to hear Rick “Secession then, Secession now, Secession forever” Perry and Mitt “Weather Vane” Romney speak on the subject.

  7. Margaret Blough September 28, 2011 / 1:17 pm

    I don’t have a problem with the fences. One’s right to express oneself does not come with a right to force other’s be a captive audience. For many blacks, but particularly ones living in a state with the history that South Carolina does, the battle flag is deeply offensive. I’m sure that her neighbors did not care to have their enjoyment of their own yards spoiled by Ms. Caddell. As the local government authorities held, the neighbors were within their rights to build the fences just as Ms. Caddell had to raise her flag. When she reacted by lengthening the flagpole to again compel her neighbors to view her flag very much against their will then I would question how much her actions have to do with honoring her ancestors unless it is honoring their commitment to white supremacy.

    • jackiehaddock September 28, 2011 / 6:38 pm

      Oh Margaret darling do you ever travel through the South if so how do you bear it ? Do you place shutters over your car windows as you travel through those dreadful Southern White Supremacist States?

      • Tony Gunter September 28, 2011 / 8:55 pm

        Most of us here in the south learned to walk upright a couple of generations ago. My state was invaded by over 10,000 federal troops … in the 1860’s AND the 1960’s! My grandad was in the KKK, I went to a college where Nathan Bedford Forrest was the mascot until I was 6 years old (and which now graduates the highest number of African American graduates of any college outside the TBCU system by the way). I still live in this one-horse college town, and yet I can go for months without seeing a Confederate Battle Flag.

        If you really want to honor your ancestors, learn to honor the fact that they were human, fallible, and prone to making mistakes with the best of intentions just like the rest of us. Maybe then you can learn to avoid repeating their mistakes.

        Just my .02


      • Charles Lovejoy September 29, 2011 / 12:07 pm

        I live in the deep south, these southern states have a much higher percentage of African Americans than do the north east states. They also have a much higher percentage of African American elected officials, African American professionals and African American educators. Over 20% of businesses and firms in Georgia are owned by African Americans compared to 3.4% in Massachusetts 0,5% in Maine. Maine has a black population of 1.2%, Georgia my state has over a 30% make up of African Americans. I wouldn’t call the southern states “through those dreadful Southern White Supremacist States?” 🙂

        • Ray O'Hara September 29, 2011 / 2:43 pm

          you reach a false conclusion when you use statistics incorrectly.
          You are of course right, the South has way more Blacks than the North East especially New England., But that is an artifact of slavery. there weren’t many slaves in the North so when slavery was ended there weren’t many freedmen around.

          Maine has no laws blocking Blacks from moving there nor are Mainiacs particularly racist there are few Blacks in Maine,or NH or Vt because there was no reason for any to ever move there. Why would someone from the warm south to move to a place with few jobs and a very different and very cold climate?

          Factory jobs in NE were filled by French-Canadians they could easily move down from Quebec, the climate was similar and there were and are long time cultural connections between New England and the Eastern Canadian Provinces.

          Massachusetts has a Black Governor, Deval Patrick, he won strictly on a White vote because at just 6% of the State population Blacks do not constitute a voting block of any impact. He won because people liked the cut of his jib and he will be re-elected for the same reason.

          My town is 94% White. Asians outnumber Blacks, but if you shop in the local malls or go to the movies or eat dinner you will see quite a few in every establishment and nobody bats an eyelash, the town is located next to the city and is accessable to the city. What you won’t find which you will in the South is places they aren’t welcomed as just another customer. If Blacks go to any establishment they aren’t met with glowers and slow service just so they get the idea of whose turf they are on.

  8. Margaret Blough September 28, 2011 / 9:35 pm

    Jackie-Actually, until a few decades ago, those states WERE white supremacist states on a de jure basis and the battle flag was used, especially by the southern state governments, as the symbol of massive resistance to federal civil rights laws and their enforcement. I’m active in civil war historical activities so I’m quite often exposed to the battle flag and, yes, I’ve traveled in the South and/or been exposed to the battle flag on numerous occasions without injury.to my senses or my psyche. I’m also a life member of the Longstreet Society.

    i find it interesting that you have to resort to sarcasm. The fact is that we are not talking about just passing by a battle flag. In terms of building the fences, we are talking about what people have to look at day in and day out from their own homes. I strongly suspect that, if either neighbor decided to take down the fence and put up a display mocking the symbols and heroes of the Confederacy, groups like the Palmetto League would be picketing and screaming about “heritage violations”. The neighbors didn’t do that. The neighbors simply put up fences to protect their ability to enjoy their own property in peace. Furthermore, as Andy has pointed out, this neighborhood had a heritage that long predated Ms. Caddell’s move there. For the USCT veterans who settled the neighborhood, the battle flag was not only the flag that many of them faced in battle (its appearance in the Western front and Trans-Mississippi was far more limited than in the Eastern theater) but was a flag of those, who if soldiers in the USCT were captured, would have, by law passed by the Confederate Congress and signed into law by President Davis, subjected them to death or enslavement instead of treatment as prisoners of war.

    Except for a few limited exceptions which no one justifies, no one is interfering with Ms. Caddell’s First Amendment rights. However, it appears that some of Ms. Caddell’s supporters have problems accepting that the First Amendment does not include the right to force someone be a captive audience.and that those who oppose Ms. Caddell also have First Amendment rights, including not just freedom of speech but also of peaceable assembly and the right to petition government for the redress of grievances.

  9. jackiehaddock September 29, 2011 / 7:30 am

    Oh my word I do believe we touched a nerve and my how we carry on, I must say I am impressed with all of your credentials. That said myself having descendants that fought on both sides and one of those being hung in the south by the Confederates, I don’t need a dissertation from you on the Confederate battle flag. Beyond that I never defended Ms. Caddell actions, I thought her extending the height of the flay pole was offensive to say the least, and I am not from South Carolina.

  10. Terry Walbert September 30, 2011 / 10:44 am

    I’m rather blasé about this controversy, which tells us more about ourselves and our current tensions. Maybe it’s a good thing that this fight involves symbols and not guns and swords.

    I can’t help wondering what would have been the lady’s reaction if her black neighbors had invited her to a cook out or brought her some food. She sounds like a neighborhood eccentric straight out of southern literature. Perhaps on that basis her neighbors should celebrate her.

  11. marcferguson September 30, 2011 / 12:38 pm

    “I can’t help wondering what would have been the lady’s reaction if her black neighbors had invited her to a cook out or brought her some food. She sounds like a neighborhood eccentric straight out of southern literature. Perhaps on that basis her neighbors should celebrate her.”

    Please, somebody, cast her in a Flannery O’Connor style short story. Surely there is a way to evoke a false sense of “Redemption” around this woman’s actions and attitudes toward her neighbors!

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