Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred
I write in regard to The Gazette’s Nov. 17 editorial, “Confederate flag ban clashes with freedom of expression.”
As I noted in my comments at the Washington County Fair board meeting last Thursday [Nov. 12], the battle flag of the Confederate States of America became an issue of national concern in the wake of the massacre last June 17 of nine church members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.
The shooter told police that he had hoped “to start a race war.” His website showed photos of himself with the Confederate flag and a handgun. He was subsequently indicted on 33 hate-crime charges and nine counts of murder.
To many Americans, the Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred. It is racist, divisive and intimidating. Let those who feel the need to obtain these items buy them online at the white supremacy websites that encouraged Dylann Roof in the weeks and months leading up to the Emanuel AME Church massacre.
William Faulkner is quoted as saying, “The past is never over. It isn’t even past.” Given our history, the sale of Confederate flags and other items related to the Confederacy (belt buckles, caps) reminds many people of slavery, America’s “great injustice to humanity.”
I’m hoping the Washington County Fair organizers will keep this aspect of our history in mind as they make their decision.
Intolerance not only limited to terrorists
Recently, all too recently, the City of Light, Paris, came under attack by overzealous religious fanatics. This “my-way-or-the-highway” attitude by pseudo-religious groups is not restricted to Islamic terrorists, however.
The University of Missouri has just gone through its own phase of intolerance. Students, some of whom thought that their rights were infringed upon, demonstrated and caused the two top administrators of that educational institution to resign.
Members of the MU student group said that someone had seen a swastika painted on one of the school’s buildings. Another young person said that she had heard a passerby use the “N” word. Members of the university’s football team went on strike unless the institution’s administrators left the school. Almost immediately, a new interim president of the university was appointed. Now, I must wonder just who is more intolerant — the university or the students?
It goes without saying that the tragic display of intolerance toward others that took place in Paris far outweighs the embarrassment caused by less-than-polite but deliberate pranks performed by some on the MU campus.
But my guess is this: Religious and social intolerance will continue until we point our energies toward recognizing what is pure evil from what is poor upbringing.
Allen R. Remaley
Do more to keep our country safe
I think that our lawmakers should support measures that are necessary to make our state and our country safer.
As recent events in Paris and elsewhere have shown, terrorists are at war with the civilized world. We should show our support for France much more strongly than has been advocated by our governor and our president.
I categorize myself as a political moderate. I voted for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and for President Obama twice. I have supported him for seven years. But not on this matter. Radical Islamists want to destroy us. Meanwhile, the vast majority of so-called “moderate Muslims” stand by idly and let it happen, sometimes cheering our enemies in the process.
In my opinion, this is a major concern for the future of our country. Clearly the problem is not just in Europe. We were the target on 9/11 and intermittently since then. What happened in Paris will undoubtedly happen again here, too. To willingly target innocent people is a heinous act. That has become their calling card.
Accordingly, I urge our politicians to do whatever is in their power to:
1) Refuse the acceptance of Syrian refugees into this country for the foreseeable future.
2) Support whatever measures apply to screen and monitor suspected terrorists.
3) Endorse any policy to methodically find, prosecute, deport, and/or neutralize any suspected terrorists within our borders.
4) Strengthen our immigration policies to prevent terrorists from coming here, even while allowing a reasonable path to citizenship for some of the illegal immigrants who are already here.
5) Support a more vigorous bombing campaign against the Taliban, al-Qaida and ISIS throughout the Mideast. However, we should not have our soldiers on the ground there. Let them fight out their 16th century craziness among themselves.
Contrary to Gov. Cuomo’s opinion, the barbarians are not just at the gate — many are already inside. They want us dead. We had better start to deal with that reality with a little more backbone than the governor and president have shown. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, will stand a little taller as a result.
People need to reject Obama refugee plan
Despite the recent terrorist actions in France and the vocal threats that ISIS continues to make against the United States, our nation’s president still cannot come to grips with the dangers we face from people who have no qualms about striking terror into the hearts of innocent civilians and the capability they possess to execute that terror.
In spite of warnings from the FBI and other intelligence agencies, the military, most Republicans, many state governors, and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), our august leader plans to push ahead with his plan to relocate many thousands of people from the heart of the ISIS caliphate to the United States.
On top of that, he has had the gall to chastise his critics as not being aligned with our nation’s values, while putting into serious question his own value on the large number American lives that will be at risk if only a few percent of the persons to be relocated are actually terrorists.
Already over 30 state governors have voiced objection to the plan. Those governors do not want to put the lives and property of their citizens at risk and are not afraid to say so. But the governor of our fair state is not among the protesting group. On the other hand, he has enthusiastically endorsed the president’s plan.
Although he did not use these precise words, he might as well be saying, “Oh, and be sure to come to New York. As you well know, we have some of the world’s best targets for any terrorist activities you may have in mind.”
Where are their heads?