Flag snatching is petty theft

Dothan Eagle editorial

Published: May 1, 2009


 

Last week, Auburn city councilman Arthur Dowdell stormed into historic Pine Hill cemetery and disrupted a Daughters of the Confederacy activity among the final resting places of several Lee County veterans of the Confederate Army.

The group had decorated the veterans’ graves with small Confederate flags. Dowdell, a black man, snatched up several of the flags, breaking one, and saying the symbols offended him and others.

The incident, borne of an emotional, knee-jerk reaction, illustrates many of the complexities surrounding the Confederate Battle Flag.

At its core, this is not about race. Neither is it about political correctness, a local official’s rights or the historical context of the Civil War.

It’s about a man stealing decorations from graves in a private cemetery. It’s about respect, and the lack of it.

The racism vs. heritage debate surrounding Confederate imagery has blazed for generations and will never be resolved. Displaying the flag is protected speech under the constitution, whether it is meant to honor soldiers who served in the rebel Army or used by hate groups to foment discord.

Dowdell owes an apology to the Daughters of the Confederacy for damaging its property, and to his constituents for behaving in a tempestuous and unlawful matter.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

©2009 Media General Communications Holdings

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