The Flaggers Return to Lexington

Tomorrow those folks who want to see the Confederate flag displayed in places regardless of the opinions of local communities or other authorities will be marching in Lexington, Virginia, to protest the decision of that city’s council last September not to have the Confederate flag (in its various forms) fly from city flagpoles attached to streetlights.  These folks are known as flaggers.

The flaggers will bring their own provisions so that they won’t contribute to Lexington’s economy.  No word on whether they will bring portapotties.

The SCV will have their own protest, but it appears it will be the next day.

Flagging’s real popular among southern nationalists.  Note the encouragement from Dr. Michael Hill of the League of the South in the comments.  But sometimes the turnout’s not very impressive.

I simply note that many supporters of Confederate heritage were very unhappy that outsiders had anything to do with the lowering of the Confederate Battle Flag from the South Carolina State House (and the boycotts by some groups of South Carolina because of the display of the flag) while they (as outsiders) conduct an economic boycott of the good people of Lexington as they — in this case the “outsiders” — try to tell the people of Lexington what to do.

This inconsistency (some would call it hypocrisy) reminds me of how proslavery forces claimed that states rights protected slavery and that the federal government had no right to interfere with it … except, of course, if the federal government protected slavery (especially through bureaucratic means fashioned especially for that purpose), while overrunning the states rights of northerners in the process (as well as the civil rights of free blacks who might be wrongfully judged to be slaves, given how the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 botched due process for the accused).

I guess these folks are honoring a certain trait in the southern past after all … even if they don’t recognize it.  Enjoy Friday the 13th, folks.

17 thoughts on “The Flaggers Return to Lexington

  1. Robert Baker January 12, 2012 / 5:19 am

    “No word on whether they will bring portapotties.”

    Nice.

    I agree with the above. The issue of the flag and whether or not it should be displayed publicly is an issue all on its own. However in the case of Lexington, it is a matter for that particular community to decide. Hypocrisy and Confederate Heritage aside it is the people of Lexington’s town and their right to self determine what is on poles and what is not.

  2. Connie Chastain January 12, 2012 / 8:10 am

    You don’t know whether the flag decision reflects the opinion of the local community or not. The petition that got the flags banned from city light poles was signed by a mere 300 people. We don’t know the “opinion of the local community” because the 7,000+ residents of Lexington did not vote on the issue. We don’t know how many of the 300 signatures were signed by members of the community, and how many, if any, were signed by non-resident students of Washington and Lee University, where the petition-instigator is a teacher. But we do know that 86% of Washington and Lee’s undergraduates are NOT from Virginia. We also know that the initiators who pushed this decision off on the community — Mayor Mimi Elrod and Anna Brodsky — are not natives of Lexington or Virginia, but interlopers from elsewhere, outsiders, Johnny-Come-Latelys who are trying to eradicate Lexington’s past and heritage.

    Flaggers, especially those from other parts of Virginia, have AT LEAST as much right to demonstrate for the return of the flags in Lexington, as Elrod and Brodsky had to instigate removing them.

    • Brooks D. Simpson January 12, 2012 / 10:27 am

      Do you live in Lexington? No. Are you a native of where you live, or did you move there, thus becoming an interloper?

      The mayor was elected by the voters of Lexington. Why is it that some people have a problem with the outcome of legitimate elections? So much for Confederate nationalism as an act of self-rule.

      • Aaron Kidd January 12, 2012 / 5:22 pm

        Since you deny being northern bias, let’s see if you’ll just come out and admit that you are anti-anything that honors and defends the CSA and her heroes. The flaggers are fighting so that the Heroes and Soldiers can be honored by a place that they fought for. Is that too much to ask?

        • Brooks D. Simpson January 12, 2012 / 5:33 pm

          You continue to fail to define what you mean by northern bias. I’m not against paying due respect to Confederate soldiers. I don’t confuse that with overriding local rule in Lexington. The flaggers can protest all they want, but they can’t complain hereafter about outsiders and interlopers intervening in their practices.

          I thought Jefferson Davis said, “All we want is to be left alone.” Why can’t the flaggers honor that when it comes to Lexington’s act of self-government?

          • Aaron Kidd January 12, 2012 / 6:45 pm

            It seems that the city government not the people wanted the flags gone.

    • Andy Hall January 12, 2012 / 10:59 am

      “We don’t know the “opinion of the local community” because the 7,000+ residents of Lexington did not vote on the issue.”

      Not true. We actually do have a gauge of the views of the local community, at least those who cared enough about the issue to attend the public hearing and speak on the ordinance. From the Roanoke Times:

      City residents spoke first, and the majority, including whites and blacks, expressed support for the ordinance and described the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery and oppression that is offensive to many. Once county residents and people from outside the area spoke, there was more opposition to the ordinance amendment and more insistence that the Confederate flag should be honored as a symbol of Southern heritage and the men who fought for the Southern side.

      And from the Lexington News-Gazette:

      Speakers at Thursday’s Council meeting were evenly divided on the issue. Almost all of the speakers who were city of Lexington residents, such as Beth Knapp, spoke in favor of the new policy. Knapp emphasized the city was not banning the display of any type of flag on private property or attempting to prevent people from carrying Confederate flags in parades. Noting that Confederate flags are offensive to many, she said, “We should focus on honoring men, not causes.”

      Rockbridge County residents were more evenly divided on the issue. W.B. “Doc” Wilmore of Collierstown said the ordinance was really about “political correctness and ignorance and arrogance. It is about the appeasement of a few at the expense of many.”

      Speakers who traveled from out of the area unanimously opposed the ordinance. Many had come to attend a “Save Our Flags” rally sponsored by in Hopkins Green earlier that evening. That rally attracted over 100 people. Brandon Dorsey, commander of the local SCV chapter, indicated during his remarks before City Council that the organization intends to challenge the ordinance in court.

      The debate and hearing held on this issue is a good thing, and everyone’s entitled to speak his peace. It’s representative democracy in action. But if I were on the Lexington City Council, I’d give far more weight to the views of my constituents than to people from out-of-town, or out-of-state. I’d really be more interested in my neighbor’s views, than those of professional Confederate activists brought in from other states.

      There is, inevitably, a campaign getting underway to force Mayor Elrod out of office in the next election cycle. That’s vigorous democracy, too. But it’s hard to imagine most Lexington voters getting swayed by a single issue, mostly harangued by people who don’t actually live in Lexington.

      • Connie Chastain January 12, 2012 / 2:06 pm

        We don’t know that the relative few who attended the hearing reflected the opinions of the community at large. And to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, the people are long-suffering and will put up with a lot of official bullying before the do anything about it. That doesn’t mean they agree with or approve of everything that’s done. (Also, you have a lot more faith in the veracity of the press than I do.)

        • HankC January 13, 2012 / 11:25 am

          do you have reason to doubt the stories in the Lexington or, slightly farther afield, Roanoke papers?

          Have the local press printed incorrect, inaccurate or misleading articles in your areas of expertise?

          Lexington *may* have 1000 families in the city – the mayor, city council members and paper publisher among them. Are you able to gauge the ‘opinions of the community at large’ better than the people living there?

    • Eric A. Jacobson January 12, 2012 / 11:11 am

      Sounds like secession, i.e. in the majority of Southern states the issue was never brought to the public for a vote. So if you agree with that fact of history you should have no problem with how Lexington handled this issue. Now if you disagree with the majority of the secession conventions refusing to allow public referendums then you might have a point.

    • HankC January 13, 2012 / 9:55 am

      That’s why we elect people to these positions.

      Do we really want to hold referenda for every issue before the Lexington city council or Rockbridge county board of supervisors?

      Citizen input, in the form of petitions and hearings (and elections), to our elected officials is how a republican form of government works…

  3. Corey Meyer January 12, 2012 / 8:22 am

    ><Occupy Lexington? Sigh! My "dear friend" Carl Roden commented on Facebook that they were going to flood the streets with their flags. We shall see.

  4. Margaret Blough January 12, 2012 / 8:39 am

    Brooks-Great comparisons, but you should also include the issue on which the Fireeaters split the 1860 Democratic Party National Convention: a federal slave code for the territories tp protect the rights of slaveholders and the earlier use of the US Postal system to prevent abolitionist literature from reaching Southern whites by postmasters destroying the literature and the 1854 use of US troops by President Franklin Pierce to ensure the extraction of fugitive slave Anthony Burns from Boston. Pierce also provided a US Naval vessel to return Burns to slavery. It also is interesting to see in some of the secession declaration of causes the rather frank admission that one of the purposes of the Mexican War, if not THE purpose, was to bring more territory open to slavery into the country. The US government moved promptly to crush the John Brown raid and openly colluded with pro-slavery forces to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave state even though that meant turning a blind eye to open fraud. The pro-slavery forces’ lips may have said, “Yes, Yes!” to states’ rights but their actions spoke louder than words. They freely used the federal government to enforce their agenda until they feared that they were losing that control.

  5. Dan Boyette January 12, 2012 / 5:00 pm

    I’m a Confederate Flagger from NC!! Myself and my wife will be in Lexington tommorrow and through the weekend proudly carrying Confederate Flags!!

  6. Brooks D. Simpson January 13, 2012 / 3:40 pm

    Looking here … it’s a lot of pictures of a few people … and no mention of the “flaggers,” just the SCV.

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