I must confess that I was not surprised at the end result when it came to the controversy over flying the Third National Flag of the Confederacy on the grounds of the Sutherlin Mansion in Danville, Virginia. A 1994 agreement securing the right to fly that flag at that spot as part of a memorial clearly met the requirements outlined in the Virginia state code regarding war memorials (unlike, say, the rather different grounds for the debate over the flying of the Confederate Battle Flag outside the War Memorial Chapel in Richmond as managed by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts). Readers of this blog will recall that I made a case for the continued flying of that flag on those grounds because of the specific historic context of the display.
That position prevailed, but not because of the superior logic of my argument. Nor did that position prevail because of the actions of pro-Confederate heritage activists from the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the Virginia Flaggers, although it appears that some people want to give the Flaggers credit for a victory they did not earn. Rather, the city council decided that to remove the flag would violate state law. Thankfully, since Sutherlin Mansion has not concluded an agreement with a certain Richmond architectural firm, Susan Hathaway was able to show up, although she did not speak before Danville’s city council at the second meeting.
It did not take long for supporters of the Flaggers to demonstrate their own hypocrisy, of course. The Flaggers call on other people to tolerate their own preferences, but they display a rather mean streak of intolerance themselves, as commentary on their own Facebook page reveals:
I especially like seeing a Confederate heritage advocate call for the deportation of all “un-Americans.”