Flagger PR Needs Work

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.

32 thoughts on “Flagger PR Needs Work

  1. Thelibertylamp August 20, 2013 / 8:05 am

    You might be right, they might be successful in getting that flag up, but I think they are going to run into a lot of problems and issues.

    I think cost is going to be their major issue.

    They estimated $3000 for the flag and pole, but have they included the monthly payments for the land it is on?

    They signed a lease, I am guessing there is some sort of rental payment for the piece of property?

    But, let’s just say some good ol’ boy supporter is letting them install their “performance art” for no charge, then what about this paranoid induced need for fencing, lights and … security cams?

    Who is going to pick up the electric bill for these big flood lights and 24 hour camera surveillance?

    How are they going to get the wiring done and make it weather proof?

    All this just to wave a stupid (and ugly!) piece of cloth that is going to irritate and alienate more people than do any kind of good for society.

    • Betty Giragosian August 20, 2013 / 8:39 am

      The original Confederate Battle flag was not a stupid or ugly piece of cloth. It was the flag the soldiers carried into battle. They are all now in museums either conserved or waiting conservation.
      The new CBF belongs in Confederate Cemeteries, to honour the Dead. It never was a symbol of slavery, it was a flag of war, but was wrongly used during the Civil Rights Era, when African Americans were trying to achieve equal rights, so long denied.

      • Thelibertylamp August 20, 2013 / 8:55 am

        Keep fooling yourself, Betty, and fetishsizing (I know not a real word but it works!) a rag that symbolizes some backwards fantasy of the most dreadful part of American history.

        Yes, it is about SLAVERY, TREASON, and reactionary ignorance.

        You might have your freedom of speech to wave your rag of hate, but the rest of us have the freedom of speech to call it out for what it is.

        • Betty Giragosian August 20, 2013 / 11:02 am

          YOU cannot argue with ignorant people, so I am not going to argue with you guys. Until the end of time, you will never be able to get it through your skulls that the war was not about slavery.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 20, 2013 / 11:55 am

            I’d agree with the first sentence and dissent from the second. I wonder whether it would be possible to convince you that it was somehow about slavery, although not in the simplistic way pursued by some.

          • Thelibertylamp August 20, 2013 / 1:38 pm

            “We went to war on account of the thing we qurreled with the North about. I never heard of any other cause of quarrel than slavery. Men fight from sentiment. After the fight is over they invent some fanciful theory on which they imagine that they fought.” -Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby.

            Game, set and match. Goodbye.

          • Betty Giragosian August 20, 2013 / 3:42 pm

            That was Mosby’s opinion. He also believed to his dying day that it was Custer who ordered the killings in Front Royal-remember the teenaged boy who was dragged from his mother’s arms and shot? Great soldier and hero, but no one is right all of the time. i guess all the small farmers and small business men rushed out to war to defend slavery. No, Brooks–I am willing to concede that hot heads and talk about slavery brought things to the boiling point, but I do not believe it was the major cause of the war.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 20, 2013 / 4:05 pm

            I understand. Recall that I am married to the direct descendant of at least one Confederate soldier. Some people tend to forget that.

          • Lyle Smith August 20, 2013 / 5:29 pm

            Betty,

            You’re right that plenty of Confederate soldiers didn’t expressly fight to defend slavery, but that doesn’t mean that secession and the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. Secession happened expressly over slavery (we know this from the ordinances of secession from several states and from political speeches), and the war happened ultimately because of secession. Mosby’s opinion is based on the reading of these same documents. So it wasn’t just his opinion, but legislative fact. He’s not using his own words, but the words of the men who made secession and the Confederacy a reality.

          • Bob Huddleston August 20, 2013 / 3:32 pm

            “…any man who pretends to believe that this is not a war for the emancipation of the blacks .. is either a fool or a liar.” The Vidette, the camp newspaper of Morgan’s Confederate Brigade, November 3, 1862.

      • Corey Meyer August 20, 2013 / 10:20 am

        But Betty, was it not misused when the Confederate soldier carried the battleflag into battle during a war in which the south and its soldiers were fighting for the very survival of a slave society? If it was used incorrectly during the Civil Rights Era in order to deny blacks their rights, was it not used to deny them there freedom between 1861-1865?

        • Lyle Smith August 20, 2013 / 5:12 pm

          Corey,

          How could they have misused their own flag? It was specifically designed by Beauregard to distinguish Confederate units from Union units. They used it exactly as they intended to use it.

          • Corey Meyer August 20, 2013 / 7:32 pm

            It is a little tongue and cheek here…whoever used the flag for either purpose denied blacks their rights.

          • Lyle Smith August 20, 2013 / 8:13 pm

            I got you, but you know no slaves had rights in the Confederacy or the United States when the Confederate battle flag was created.

          • E.A. Mayer August 20, 2013 / 11:26 pm

            The Flag was designed by William Porcher Miles and was derived from a flag used in the South Carolina Secession Convention of Dec 1860.
            And I know you are not making the claim and didn’t bring it up, but I need to point out that its diagonal cross was not intended to be a St. Andrew’s cross but a “Saltire” so as to specifically avoid any religious symbolism.
            But it was Beauregard who first put it to use as per orders he issued on November 28, 1861.

            And beyond that; I see the CSA flags, (battle or otherwise) as representing racism and slavery as those were the founding principles (and really Raison d’être) of the entity that they were created to represent.
            Flying the CSA flag to honor ones Southern Heritage is like honoring ones German Heritage by flying a Nazi flag. And if that’s an inflammatory statement to some, too bad.

      • Michael Confoy August 20, 2013 / 12:52 pm

        No it isn’t Betty. I have a small one that I use as a cloth to clean up around the house.

      • John Foskett August 20, 2013 / 2:42 pm

        Betty: Have you ever asked yourself why the racists who vehemently, and at times violently, opposed integration in the ’50’s and ’60’s chose this flag as their symbol? There was a flock of options available, after all. And if you don’t think that secession and the war were caused by slavery, you really need to do what the states in the Upper South did – read the letters of the Secession Commissioners from the seceded states and take them at their word.

        • Betty Giragosian August 20, 2013 / 3:28 pm

          I hated their using the CBFas their symbol, but there was no way to prevent it. The south fought because President Lincoln chose to invade it, and thus started a war that killed hundreds of thousands. Our soldiers are our heroes, and we will always honour them. I am sure you all honour the Union soldiers but you just do not show it. We have grave markings, memorial services, scholarships for descendants of Confederate Veterans, in so many other ways we continue to remember them. I don’t care about putting the CBF all over the place, I have said often where I think it belongs. and one reason I feel that way–flying it in Confederate Cemeteries only or keeping it in museums, is to keep people like you from from desecrating it with your words.

          • John Foskett August 20, 2013 / 4:18 pm

            You’re missing the point, Betty. It’s not about whether they could have been prevented. It’s about the reasoning behind their choice. They didn’t pick it by putting on a blindfold and tossing darts. They picked it because of all the options it best suited their views in light of what it was originally used for. They didn’t pick the various flags used in the AWI, any versions of the US flag, etc.because none of those were used to defend a cause that ultimately involved protecting slavery. They knew exactly what they were doing and why and they chose wisely because everybody got the message they wanted to send.

          • Brooks D. Simpson August 20, 2013 / 4:43 pm

            This is precisely the point. If you’re honoring the Confederate soldier in Virginia, pick the ANV flag.

            That said, the Flaggers should understand that picking a spot on I-95 south of Richmond means that their audience has either passed Richmond altogether (coming from the north) or are coming north from Petersburg. So “welcome to Richmond” means coming from the south.

            The Flaggers haven’t really thought this out in their eagerness to get publicity. Whereas I think that they had a case with the VMFA or the MOC, here the display of the flag shorn of context leads to confusion and just the sort of interpretation they claim they want to avoid. Let’s be clear: the flag pole is more an act of flipping the bird than of respecting anyone. You can see that in the whiny responses of “you can’t do anything about it.” No one’s trying to force them to do anything (and I’ve told people who ask that attempts to persuade them will fall short). But they can’t complain if others exercise the same right of free speech they cite (even if they don’t always quite understand it).

  2. Corey Meyer August 20, 2013 / 8:14 am

    Interesting they now bring up “out-of-town” signers of the petition when those Flaggers protesting in Lexington were all “out-of-towners”. Keep it consistant flaggers, keep it consistant.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 20, 2013 / 8:26 am

      As in the case of Lexington, where the people of Lexington had to make the decision through their elected officials, so too in Richmond will local residents make the decision through their elected officials. In both cases courts may be involved.

      The difference is that in the case of Lexington, the Flaggers sought to dictate what others should do, while in Richmond they claim that they are being dictated to … but I note that the opposition to the Flaggers’ project readily concedes the Flaggers’ right to go ahead with their project. That the Flaggers pretend otherwise suggests just how much they are addicted to a culture of victimization and false accusation.

      I’ll let you figure out why it is thus ironic that they lean so heavily upon Connie Chastain.

  3. rortensie August 20, 2013 / 8:58 am

    So, are you admitting to being a member of the Senate?

  4. M.D. Blough August 20, 2013 / 9:03 am

    The Flaggers refuse to grasp the central principle of the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment: that, instead of government intervention in regulating controversial speech, the remedy/response for controversial speech IS speech. The First Amendment places the test for competing principles in the free marketplace of ideas.

    Far too many feel that their First Amendment rights are being violated if they are criticized. Aside from the fact that the only one constrained by the First Amendment is the government, what they see as a violation is the First Amendment in operation.

  5. Al Mackey August 20, 2013 / 11:07 am

    But are you now or have you ever been a member of the New York Giants? 😉

    I have the same observation. Nobody that I know of has questioned they have the First Amendment right to put up the flag. I said, and I still say, that I think they are going about it the right way in putting it on private land instead of demanding it be put on public property. Likewise, those protesting against it have the First Amendment right to register their approval. They also have the right to petition the local government to denounce it. They have the right to ridicule the plan, and they have the right to mock the plan. If anyone has suggested denying the flaggers their right to express themselves with that flag on private property, I missed it.

    I have a bit of a problem calling confederate veterans American veterans. If they had their way, they wouldn’t be part of the United States. We don’t call Brazilian veterans American veterans, after all.

    • M.D. Blough August 20, 2013 / 1:52 pm

      If by American veterans, someone means to treat them as US military veterans, that is not proper, although some may qualify for that status by their service before and/or after the war. I suspect that, especially among the ones proud about being unreconstructed, more than a Confederate veterans would have irately rejected that treatment. Whatever you call the military conflict, the fact is that those wearing the butternut and/or grey fired on the flag of the United States of America and those wearing the uniform of the USA and the men in blue fired at the men in butternut and/or grey. If we had the same percentage of KIA in today’s population, the death toll would be in the millions. I oppose those who would trivialize the enormity of what happened or try to evade the fact that it did.

    • Betty Giragosian August 20, 2013 / 3:31 pm

      You mean this petition was on George Soros’ moveon.org? ‘Nuff said

      • Thelibertylamp August 20, 2013 / 7:41 pm

        Well, Betty, if you want to talk associations, then why don’t we talk about the white supremacist connections to all these neo-Confederate costume drama groups…hmmmm?

        • Betty Giragosian August 21, 2013 / 4:11 am

          Lamp–I don’t care to talk about associations, but l was distressed to learn that this petition is found on that site. was thinking about signing -but not now. Besides, I have sounded off enough anyway. I will rise to your bait, and ask ,’What do you mean re costume drama groups?” I have to know of what you write before I can reply to you, Do tell.

  6. Billy Bearden August 21, 2013 / 10:07 am

    Of such petitions, I am reminded of this one ( http://www.change.org/petitions/selma-city-council-no-more-monuments-to-kkk-hate ) which currently has 331,832 signatures. If the left feels this is constructive for them, go for it. The anti-statue forces in Selma ( the Sanders Trio ) are all losing their failing efforts to prevent the statue.

    If Ms Wonder Bread wants a petition with 500,000 names opposing the flag and pole, great!

    I love the fact that, just a few years ago the left started running every conceivable Confederate Flag story far and wide – Trace Adkins earpiece, Brad Paisley’s song, etc… in a ‘zero – tolerance mode. Now, thanks to the same idiots, they have been helping PROMOTE and add $$$ to the pole fund.

    I would like to see a Confederate flag on a pole every 1/2 mile on both 95 and 85, from DC to NC, and with the PR the left is giving us… 🙂

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 21, 2013 / 6:36 pm

      Of course, it is the PR that Flagger supporters offer (recall Rob Walker) that is a gift that keeps on giving.

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