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Who decides? / July 29, 2015

Dear Viewpoint:

This letter is in response to your editorial column last week concerning the movie theater owner who refused entry to his business to four teenagers because they displayed the Confederate flag in their truck. While I agree that it is this man’s prerogative to decide who can and cannot patronize his business, it seems to be a poor way to conduct business, especially in an area with such a limited number of potential customers.

Speaking as someone who worked in retail for almost 25 years, I can tell you that business owners and managers deal with all types of customers daily. I saw many things, which were objectionable to me as a store manager, but it was not my job to judge my customers, only to wait on them. Neither did I feel compelled to force my beliefs or objections on my customers…that was not my job.

Secondly, I am getting just a little bit sick and tired of hearing and seeing the Confederate flag defamed and blamed for every sin known to man. Who, and at what point in history decided that this flag stands for hatred? Here is the Confederate creed, which also explains the meaning of the various nuances of the flag:

Through the blood of Christ (red)

With the protection of God (white)

We, the thirteen states (stars)

Are united in our Christian fight for liberty (cross, for the Christian cross of St. Andrew, the first disciple of Jesus and patron saint of Scotland).

Does that sound like hatred to you? And I am quite certain the flag in the back of that pickup truck had no relevance to hatred to those teenagers who innocently pulled into that parking lot with the intent of simply watching a movie. They have been taught to revere that flag for what it DOES mean… Southern heritage. They know that their forefathers fought and died for their rights and their freedom under the colors of this flag.

If you have studied American history, you must know that very few Southerners owned slaves…only the aristocracy had that privilege. And slave owners did not fight the Civil War; they either paid others to fight in their place or were mustered as high-ranking officers who saw little to no military action.

You must also know that slaves were brought to this country on ships flying the American flag, not the Confederate flag. And most slave traders came from the New England states; Southern plantation owners traveled up north to purchase slaves, so the “King Cotton economy of the South” to which you referred in your column was no the only part of the United States to get rich from the slave trade…Africans also sold their kinsmen into bondage, so I fail to understand why the South is used as a scapegoat for all things evil in this country in the last half of the 19th century.

I love the Confederate flag and often fly it in my yard. I have friends of all colors and nationalities, and I love them equally. I respect their ancestry and traditions as they respect mine. That’s what love is all about. I am proud of the fact that I am descended from men who stood up to an over-reaching government and nosy Yankees bent on destroying the South and everything it stood for. Those men shed blood, sweat, and tears for something they believed in, not because they hated anyone, but because they were protecting everything they loved and cherished. I don’t know what groups supposedly changed the meaning of the flag to fit their individual agendas, but Southerners today still hold the original reverence for the flag that their great-great-great-great grandfathers felt.

Someone needs to tell all the politicians who are wasting their time and our money arguing about a flag that we have much larger problems in this country that need to be addressed. If they burn and destroy every Confederate flag in the United States, people who are racists will still be racists. They need educating, not strangulation by more government regulation.

You should know, Mr. McLaughlin, that Southerners are lovers, not haters. People who move here from other areas are amazed by how friendly, caring, and hospitable we are in the South…Dylann Roof was a disturbed, evil, racist punk who in no way represents the South, but he will pay for his transgressions in the pits of hell.

And please, in the future, if you must deliver a sermonette to us, find a reference other than that liberal rag The Daily Beast…we get enough of that drivel from your column.

With Warmest Southern Regards,
Wendy S. Lankford

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