Although I have found the debate over the display of the Confederate flag on city property in Lexington, Virginia, to be of passing interest, frankly it’s not an important concern to me. It seems to me obvious that people acting through their elected representatives can make lawful decisions about such maters, and that if the decisions made by one’s elected officials displease someone, they have recourse at the polls or through the courts. Moreover, protest is an American right: although I find it ironic and amusing that people who say they want to be left alone and resent outsider intrusion then intrude as outsiders on other people with no intention of letting them alone, they have the right to protest (although they should acknowledge their hypocrisy if they are unwilling to revisit their own positions).
I don’t pretend to tell the good people of Lexington, Virginia, what to do in this matter. Let the process for resolving these sorts of disputes go forward. However, as an abstract matter, this affair brings forward for discussion various questions.
Would you favor the display of Confederate flags? Under what circumstances? Which Confederate flags do you find acceptable for display? For some of you who are hostile to the display of that flag (or flags), are there any circumstances under which you would find it acceptable? Do local and state governments have control over what flags should be displayed on public property and the conditions under which they can be displayed? Is the same true for the federal government? Is the Confederate Battle Flag the main source of contention, or is it any Confederate flag whatsoever?
It would be interesting to see people stake out positions as matters of principle without regard for specific situations.