This newspaper report about the continuing controversy over the Virginia Flaggers’ plan to display a Confederate flag on a flag pole along I-95 south of Richmond suggests that the Flaggers need to work on their contacts with the media. My observations are in bold.
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013; RICHMOND, Va.
Nearly 10,000 sign on to object to proposal along I-95 south of Richmond
BY TED STRONG Richmond Times-Dispatch
An online petition opposing a group’s plan to fly a Confederate flag along Interstate 95 just south of Richmond has gotten nearly 10,000 signatures.
A spokesman for the group planning to fly the flag, the Virginia Flaggers, called the petition “inflammatory,” while the petition’s creator said it is the planned flag display that would inflame emotions.
So let me understand this: proposing to fly a divisive symbol isn’t inflammatory, but objecting to doing so is? The Flaggers as victims theme continues.
“We should, in this day and age, be hanging the American flag — not a flag representative of brutality for all to see while passing by Richmond on I-95,” the petition on MoveOn.org reads. “This flag does not serve to better the community as a whole, nor society.”
The Flaggers said the petition’s signatories would represent only a fraction of the city’s residents if they were all from Richmond, and many signers are from out of town.
Efforts to have the flag raised by Sept. 28 remain on track, the group said.
The petition’s creator hopes public outcry will cause the Flaggers to reconsider its intentions.
“This group may have the ‘right’ to do what they are planning; however, it does not mean that it is the ‘right’ thing to do,” Schroeder Konate wrote in the email.
Konate, an artist of Norwegian and German extraction raised in Philadelphia, attended Virginia Commonwealth University. She lives in Richmond.
“Sadly, this petition clearly is intended to divide our community and inflame others to act out against a memorial to American veterans,” Flaggers spokesman Jimmy Jones wrote. “We are determined that the flag will fly as a reminder that there are many of us who have not, and WILL not forget the honor, valor and sacrifice of our Confederate ancestors.”
“Many” is defined as fifty, as we’ll see below. It’s far less that the number of signatures on the petition who hail from Virginia. Also, to be consistent, the Virginia Flaggers would have to validate the residency of the fifty people who are part of the organization. Just sayin’. Don’t want no outsiders involved, eh? Hear that, Connie Chastain from Florida?
The Confederate flag, for many, represents slavery, prejudice and the suggestion that the wrong side won the Civil War, Konate said.
I will note that many of the Flaggers believe that the wrong side did win the Civil War.
“Whatever one’s personal convictions, invoking these memories serves to foster hate, divisiveness and the worst instincts in the worst types of people,” she wrote in an email.
Copies of the petition eventually will be sent to the mayor of Richmond, members of Richmond City Council, state legislators and the governor, Konate said.
The Flaggers have a core group of about 50 active members in the Richmond area, but more than 500 people have attended events put on by the group, Jones said.
I never knew that attendance at an event constituted membership in the group. This makes me a New York Yankee, a New York Islander, and a member of the United States Senate.
Last time I did the math, 50 … or 500 … is much less than 9,800. So who’s a fraction of the Richmond community? The Flaggers are a fraction of the petitioners. Thanks for the reminder, Jimmy.
The group is perhaps best known, outside of its current efforts, for protesting outside museums it feels are suppressing the Confederate flag, but it engages in a number of other activities, including planting flags in cemeteries.
Konate created the petition on Aug. 11, she said. Late Monday, it had 9,800 signatures.
If this constitutes the Flaggers’ new media strategy, when they need to work on it … but then this is the group that embraced Rob Walker and announced that his coming to the group was a sign of God’s hand in the affairs of the Flaggers. As Susan Hathaway announced last May:
There is no denying God’s hand in this… in bringing Rob to Monument Ave. last November, and then, miraculously again last night at the exact moment and time to prevent what could have been irreparable damage to one of our most treasured monuments AND facilitating the first arrest (that we are aware of) of these punk vandals that have no regard for the rule of law: neither God’s nor man’s.
He has a wicked sense of humor.