Flaggers, Free Speech, and Frustration

Although one can peruse the comments section to many a newspaper report on the proposal of the Virginia Flaggers to fly a large Confederate flag from a fifty-foot flagpole located by I-95 south of Richmond, signs of public organized opposition were few and far between for weeks. Outside of several blogs, the most visible sign was a petition put up at moveon.org that as of today has gathered over 23,000 signatures. Flaggers, ignoring the fact that some of their most vocal supporters come from outside Virginia, charged that this was a petition signed by outsiders, a claim not supported by the evidence (more Virginians have expressed themselves as opposed to the flag than the Flaggers’ own claim of numbering 50 firm supporters and 500 interested attendees). Moveon.org has now run a feature on the creator of the petition, Kristen Schroeder Konaté, that’s worth reading. Flaggers anxious to attack her have done so in the comments in characteristic fashion.

In a related story, efforts by supporters of the Flaggers to shut down this blog by complaining to Arizona State University failed (yet again). Apparently they want to refuse to others the free speech rights that Flaggers claim for themselves. Perhaps that’s a tribute to the effectiveness of this blog in highlighting the Flaggers’ association with white supremacist Matthew Heimbach, the reasons for the silence of Flagger spokesperson Susan Hathaway, and other matters concerning the Flaggers and their supporters. They’re scared. They’re vulnerable. They are unable to engage in the sort of public discussion that’s at the heart of free speech. And, of course, they are hypocrites.

But you knew that already.

Meanwhile, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones has expressed his opposition to the Flagger project.

Opponents of the Flagger proposal have established a Facebook page where one may find expressions of opposition to the Flagger project as well as interesting information about the Flaggers as well as this controversy.

As we move closer to September 28, things get more interesting.