To the person who wrote and asked me who the hell I think I am, my reply is this: I think - and know - I'm an American citizen with rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, among those being freedom of speech. I have a right to express my opinion, despite the veiled and not-so-veiled threats coming my way recently. To be blunt, this is my blog. It's my personal view of my hometown. It is admittedly subjective. I have as much right as anyone to comment as I see fit and to report what I see and hear. I claim no strict adherence to total objectivity, although I do strive for accuracy. If you don't like it, don't read it, or go get your own blog and fire back.
Although I've gotten a few negative comments in the past, I believe the recent landslide was triggered by my comment accompanying my photo of the Confederate flag. I said I hated it, and I do. Or more specifically, I hate what it represents. To me, the "stars and bars" is the flag of racial oppression and insurrection against the U.S. government. Considering how things are going these days, we may want to consider the insurrection part, but racial oppression is dead wrong. If we are to be truly free, that freedom must extend to all. By definition, slavery is the antithesis of freedom. Despite the writings of revisionist historians and apologists for the Southern cause, the reason for the Civil War was slavery and not states' rights. Others may hold a different opinion. It's not necessary to fight a civil war over it. We already did that. The South lost. Get over it. There is no such country as The Confederate States of America. If you are a United States citizen, your flag, like it or not, is the present day U.S. flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes - whatever your heritage. Part of my heritage is German, but I'll never fly a Nazi flag on my property, because it recalls a sad, shameful period in Germany's history. The symbolism of the swastika is morally repugnant to me, because that crippled cross is a reminder of atrocities carried out by one people against others. So it is with the Confederate flag. It's a reminder of a sad, shameful period in our nation's past. Those who fly it do so to be defiant and inflammatory (like the guy who tools around town with the rebel flag in the back of his pickup truck). What these people are really saying is they don't believe in racial equality. If that's their belief, then so be it. But they shouldn't be surprised if others resent it. I'll never condone any human being enslaving another. And since this is a free country, a citizen has the right to fly whatever flag he wants. By the same token, I have the right to hate it.
In response to comments stating I have no right to shoot and publish photographs of what I see in plain sight in public, I reply, Oh yes I do! As long as I don't libel anyone or use their image commercially without their consent, I'm on firm legal ground. Apparently, the local police realize this, because they've never questioned or harassed me. Only citizens who think they know the law have done so. Lately, some of them have been acting like retarded monkeys, trying to throw their own excrement at me. But really, it's time to knock it off, before I have to call the zookeeper.