bookmark_borderExcellent article explaining why lockdowns are unconstitutional

I recently read an excellent opinion piece by David R. Geiger in Commonwealth Magazine entitled, “Governor’s COVID-19 orders are unconstitutional.” In this piece, Geiger explains in an eloquent, straightforward way why lockdown orders and stay-at-home orders – focusing on those implemented by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker – are wrong.

“The animating principle of our nation is the maximal safeguarding of human liberty,” Geiger reminds us.

Under Massachusetts laws dealing with public health and infectious diseases, he points out, “the only restraints on liberty the government may impose are temporary isolation of any ‘sick or infected person’ and quarantining of others in his household, in each case with compensation for resulting wage loss.”

To essentially quarantine the entire population of the state obviously exceeds these limits. Baker likely realized this and therefore decided instead to use the Civil Defense Act of 1950 to justify his totalitarian measures. But as Geiger points out, this law was intended to be used during wars, nuclear power plant radiation releases, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that physically alter the Earth in defined areas. Diseases don’t seem to fit this category.

Geiger lists all the ways that lockdown orders violate people’s rights:

Forced closures of businesses, schools, and places of worship; prohibitions on gatherings or of humans approaching or touching one another; and mandates that people cover their faces in public are radical and unprecedented, and unquestionably infringe both expressly enumerated and historically enjoyed rights. These include individuals’ rights to move about freely, associate with others as they choose, express themselves through their appearance, make decisions about their own health, educate their children, exercise their religion, and support themselves through their chosen occupation, and businesses’ rights to operate within the bounds of the law.

Government infringement on individual liberty cannot be justified by the mere existence of some degree of risk; rather, the individual’s conduct must pose a serious risk of significant harm. We do not limit freedom of movement by banning driving because it poses risk; instead, we prohibit only reckless or drunk driving. For this reason, Massachusetts’ public health statute does not authorize shutting down normal life due to the risk of infection, but instead restricts the liberty only of a person who is actually infectious, or his close household contacts who have a significant likelihood of being so.

Exactly! It’s one thing for the government to infringe upon the liberties of a person who actually has the coronavirus, but for the government to infringe upon the liberties of everyone merely because any given person might possibly have the virus is ridiculous.

Another favorite quote from the article (emphasis mine): “If some individuals are concerned about such risks they are free to protect themselves by keeping a distance or wearing a mask… But those who are willing to accept such risks in order to live life have a fundamental right to do so, and the fact that exercising this right may cause some increase in disease cases provides no ground to quash it.”

Geiger reminds readers of the “inherent harm in depriving Massachusetts residents of their fundamental freedoms,” something that proponents of lockdown orders tend to discount. “The people of the Commonwealth should rise up against them, insist that they cease immediately, and ensure that they never recur,” he writes.

I could not agree more. Everyone who calls lockdown opponents “selfish” or “irresponsible” needs to read this article.

bookmark_borderRebels at Talladega standing up for Confederate flag

At yesterday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, some brave, rebellious souls stood up to NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag.

A parade of vehicles proudly displaying Confederate flags of all shapes and sizes drove by the track. A plane towed a huge banner of a Confederate flag with the words “DEFUND NASCAR” overhead. And Confederate flags were flying off the shelves at retailers’ stands outside the track.

Pictures can be seen here and here.

If anyone is interested in donating to the organization behind the Confederate flag flyover, they are called the Southern Legal Resource Center, and their website is here: http://slrc-csa.org/

They also released the following statement on their Facebook page:

SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
Press release: Defund NASCAR

NASCAR’s banning the display of the Confederate Battle Flag by its fans is nothing less than trampling upon Southerners’ First Amendment Right of free expression. This un-American act shall not go unchallenged. Today members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Confederate Air Force displayed its disapproval of NASCAR’s trampling upon the First Amendment Rights of Southerners. During and before the start of the NASCAR race in Talladega, Alabama race our plane flew a banner announcing a drive to “defund NASCAR.” It is the hope of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that NASCAR fans will be allowed the fundamental American right of displaying pride in their family and heritage. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is proud of the diversity of the Confederate military and our modern Southland. We believe NASCAR’s slandering of our Southern heritage only further divides our nation. The Sons of Confederate Veterans will continue to defend not only our Right but the Right of all Americans to celebrate their heritage. We trust NASCAR will do the same.

Paul C. Gramling, Jr.,
Commander-in-Chief Sons of Confederate Veterans

I salute these patriots for standing up for their flag and their heritage against the politically correct mob.

bookmark_borderPelosi’s bigoted effort to remove Confederate statues

As part of the nationwide trend to get rid of everything that has anything to do with the Confederate States of America, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding that 11 statues in the Capitol building be removed.

In a letter to the Architect of the Capitol and the Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, Pelosi wrote:

The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation. Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to those ideals. These statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed. While I believe it is imperative that we never forget out history lest we repeat it, I also believe that there is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country.

The statues that Pelosi is criticizing are part of Statuary Hall, a chamber in the Capitol that displays 100 statues of historical figures, two from each state. The list is as follows: Jefferson Davis (Mississippi), James Zachariah George (Mississippi), Wade Hampton (S. Carolina), John E. Kenna (W. Virginia), Robert E. Lee (Virginia), Uriah Milton Rose (Arkansas), Edmund Kirby Smith (Florida), Alexander Stephens (Georgia), Zebulon Vance (N. Carolina) Joseph Wheeler (Alabama), and Edward White (Louisiana). More details about these individuals can be found here. In her letter, Pelosi also made a point of mentioning that Davis and Stephens were charged with treason against the United States.

By demanding the removal of these statues, Pelosi is the true bigot in this situation.

First of all, contrary to Pelosi’s claims, Confederate statues do embody the highest American ideals. The Confederacy fought for the right to secede from the Unites States and establish itself as an independent nation. Resistance to government authority is the ideal that America was founded upon; arguably the Confederacy and not the Union is the true heir to the philosophy of the American Revolution. Even if you believe that the existence of slavery in the Confederacy outweighs this, and therefore do not admire the Confederacy, that does not give you the right to demand that Confederate statues be removed. The rights of those who admire the Confederacy need to be respected, because in addition to resistance to government authority, diversity is also one of the highest American ideals. And a key part of diversity is ideological diversity.

The whole point of Statuary Hall is to showcase a diverse collection of statues representing all 50 states. I have not seen Statuary Hall in person, but when looking at photos of it, I am struck by the variations among the statues. Not only are they physically different, made of a variety of different materials, but they represent a wide range of historical figures from different time periods, backgrounds, and walks of life. They represent historical figures with a wide range of viewpoints, beliefs, and ideologies. But Pelosi is essentially saying that only historical figures with mainstream, moderate, politically correct views deserve to be honored. In other words, only those historical figures who conform to what happen to be the prevailing beliefs in 2020 deserve to be celebrated.

Contrary to Pelosi’s claim, Confederate statues do represent heritage. The fact that Pelosi does not share or value this heritage does not change this.

To call the inclusion of 11 statues of Confederate-leaning historical figures among a collection of 100 a “grotesque affront” to American ideals is, ironically, the ultimate in intolerance and bigotry. And to pointedly mention that two of the statues’ subjects were charged with treason is the ultimate in authoritarianism. It is Pelosi who is being cruel, barbaric, and hateful by declaring that there is “no room for celebrating” those who fought bravely on the losing side of a war. Demanding the removal of Confederate statues is the action of a bully with no tolerance for any views or values that differ from hers. A homogeneous collection of statues representing mainstream ideologies is the exact opposite of what America as a nation should aspire towards. But that is exactly what Pelosi is advocating. This type of mindless conformism is truly a grotesque affront to American ideals.

bookmark_borderStatue of Confederate soldier hanged in North Carolina

In an absolutely disgusting act of bigotry and hatred, a mob of excuses for human beings in Raleigh, North Carolina tore down statues of Confederate soldiers from atop an obelisk and hanged one of the soldiers from a light post.

According to the Associated Press:

Protesters in North Carolina’s capital pulled down parts of a Confederate monument Friday night and hanged one of the toppled statues from a light post.

Demonstrators used a strap to pull down two statues of Confederate soldiers that were part of a larger obelisk near the state capitol in downtown Raleigh, news outlets reported.

Police officers earlier in the evening had foiled the protesters’ previous attempt to use ropes to topple the statues. But after the officers cleared the area, protesters mounted the obelisk and were able to take down the statues.

They then dragged the statues down a street and used a rope to hang one of the figures by its neck from a light post. The other statue was dragged to the Wake County courthouse, according to the News & Observer.

Out of all of the despicable acts of destruction that have taken place over the last few weeks, hanging a statue is the worst yet. Every person (and I hesitate to even use that term) who participated in or applauded this horrific act should be hunted down, caught, and jailed for the rest of his or her life. Then, he or she should burn in hell for all eternity.

There are no words to fully convey the moral wrongness of what was done to this statue. There is no justifiable reason for someone to have such anger, rage, and hatred towards a statue. The statue did not hurt anyone. The statue did not do anything wrong to deserve this. The artist(s) who designed and built this statue did not deserve to have their work destroyed in this manner.

Apparently, someone decided that in order to make a statement against acts of violence that have been perpetrated against African-Americans, it would be a good idea to “lynch” a statue representing the Confederacy. No idea could possibly be worse. The statue that was so cruelly destroyed represents the soldiers who fought bravely for the South’s independence, despite being outnumbered and outgunned. It represents the Confederate States of America, a country that existed from 1861-1865 before being crushed by the more populous and industrialized North. I would go so far as to say that the statue represents resistance to government authority; in other words, freedom.

By pulling down and hanging statues of Confederate soldiers, these excuses for human beings are stomping on the underdog. They are trampling on the idea of freedom, the idea of rebellion, and the idea of resistance to authority. It is bad enough that the authoritarian federal government brutally and barbarically crushed the South’s attempt to secede and form their own country. But apparently that was not enough because now, in the year 2020, mobs feel a need to brutally and barbarically destroy statues representing that rebellion as well. The fact that the brave, honorable, losing side of a war is not even allowed to be honored with a statue or monument is beyond absurd. The fact that those who sympathize with the winning side of a war would have such rage towards the side that they unjustly defeated is incomprehensible. What was done to this statue is the ultimate act of bullying and intolerance.

Every living thing (“person” is too kind a term) who participated in or contributed to this destruction is a bigot and a bully who should not be allowed to exist on Earth. I condemn this act in the harshest possible terms.  

bookmark_borderMayor freaks out about “nooses,” finds out they were actually swings

In Oakland, CA police found five ropes hanging from trees in a city park. Mayor Libby Schaaf denounced this as an act of racism and announced that a hate crimes investigation was underway.

The only problem: the ropes were not nooses at all. They were swings that a local man set up to use for fun and exercise. Victor Sengbe, who happens to be black, explained: “Out of the dozen and hundreds and thousands of people that walked by, no one has thought that it looked anywhere close to a noose. Folks have used it for exercise. It was really a fun addition to the park that we tried to create. It’s unfortunate that a genuine gesture of just wanting to have a good time got misinterpreted into something so heinous.”

That’s for sure.

But bizarrely, city officials don’t seem to care. Schaaf said that people must “start with the assumption that these are hate crimes.” She continued: “Intentions don’t matter when it comes to terrorizing the public. It is incumbent on all of us to know the actual history of racial violence, of terrorism, that a noose represents and that we as a city must remove these terrorizing symbols from the public view.”

Director of parks and recreation Nicholas Williams added, “The symbolism of the rope hanging in the tree is malicious regardless of intent. It’s evil, and it symbolizes hatred.”

These are some of the dumbest sentiments I have ever heard.

First of all, to say that something is “malicious regardless of intent” is an oxymoron. The definition of “malicious” is “full of, characterized by, or showing malice; intentionally harmful; spiteful” or “vicious, wanton, or mischievous in motivation or purpose.” In other words, it is the intention that determines whether or not an action is malicious.

Additionally, to start with the assumption that the ropes are hate crimes is just wrong. A central tenet of the American legal system is that people are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. And logically, if something could have either an evil or an innocuous explanation, one should assume the innocuous explanation. Why automatically assume the worst of your fellow human beings?

To describe rope swings as “terrorizing symbols” and to claim that they “terrorize the public” is preposterous. How could someone be terrorized by some ropes hanging from trees? Contrary to the claims of Schaaf and Williams, intentions do matter. The ropes were not nooses. They were swings. Swings are not evil. Swings do not symbolize hatred.

If you are terrorized by swings, that is your problem. Removing the swings, as the city did, is unfair to Sengbe and all the other Oakland residents who enjoyed them. The mayor and city government owe their citizens an apology for their ridiculous overreaction.

bookmark_borderRebels open playgrounds in New York

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio is under fire for banning kids from playing in parks at the same time as he encourages mass protests about racial issues.

On Monday, city employees welded the gates to a playground shut in the Williamstown neighborhood of New York. They later replaced the welding job with a lock to prevent children from using the playground.

“How long can we keep our kids in prison?” asked one local mom. “I don’t feel like I live in a free country.”

David Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, said: “We are dealing with families who have been imprisoned in their homes for three months, and they can’t go and breathe fresh air? Kids cannot have what they need, which is fresh air.”

And State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol made a good point about children’s ability and right to make their own decisions: “These kids have parents that can instruct them on safe distancing and making sure they are not only safe distancing and make sure the playground isn’t full. There’s an honor system… We’ve given them enough information to do what’s right and let’s trust them to have at least a little bit of fun.”

In addition to the obvious individual liberty concerns, DeBlasio is facing allegations of anti-Semitism because the playgrounds that he has ordered closed are in predominantly Jewish areas.

The Reagan Battalion pointed out DeBlasio’s hypocrisy:

Fortunately, community leaders fought back against DeBlasio’s authoritarian, discriminatory policies. Assemblyman Joe Lentol organized a rally demanding the opening of the park, and several people cut open the lock with bolt cutters.

 

bookmark_borderMinneapolis truck driver did nothing wrong – highways are for driving on, not protesting

During the chaos that erupted in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, a tanker truck drove down a highway that was filled with protesters. Protesters pulled the truck driver, Bogdan Vechirko, out of the truck and beat him. He suffered cuts to his face and also had his phone and wallet stolen. Police then arrested Vechirko. This despite the fact that authorities failed to properly barricade the Interstate 35 West Bridge, and despite the fact that Vechirko noticeably slowed down in an attempt to avoid hitting anyone, as can be seen in the videos at the above link.

My first reaction upon hearing of this incident was, “Is it now customary to arrest the victims of crimes instead of the perpetrators?”

Fortunately, Vechirko was released without charges being filed.

But unfortunately, there is now a racist petition calling for Vechirko to be arrested again. The anonymous individual who created the petition on change.org wrote the following:

so on May 31st we had a peaceful protest from the US BANK STADIUM to 35W bridge until a white a supremacist came in with his semi gas truck and ploughed through us. and no the highway wasn’t open but rather closed for the protest. It was the most traumatic experience of my life and I’ll never forget the ones who helped me when I was in panic. this could’ve turned into a mass killing but it was a miracle that no one was hurt. and the fact that he planned all this and was seeing through to it was just inhuman and disgusting. we read his texts from his phone and this was clearly premeditated. what he did was terrorism and he should be charged for it! if a black man or a Muslim man did this he would be long gone and convicted and the media would blast him as a terrorist ASAP. they didn’t even handcuff him and were protecting him but it’s okay to do that to black people and even kill them? “peaceful protestors are being teargassed, run over, and beat up before being unlawfully arrested, but this guy–WHO DROVE INTO A CROWD–was released without being charged bc he was “frustrated” by traffic? Sounds about white.” And that’s white privilege people. I demand that we come together to combat racial injustice in this broken justice system and that they treat everyone with equality.

There are so many things wrong with this that it’s hard to figure out where to start.

  • First of all, someone creating a petition calling for an innocent person to be arrested should at least use proper punctuation and grammar.
  • Second, what evidence does this individual have that Vechirko was a white supremacist? How could someone think it is even remotely acceptable to just state that someone is a white supremacist without providing any evidence to back up that claim?
  • Third, the highway was not closed for the protest. Authorities were intending to barricade the highway but did not do it quickly enough, and Vechirko and his truck were already on the bridge before they had time to put barricades up.
  • Fourth, it was the most traumatic experience of your life? Seriously? You chose to go onto a highway to protest. Highways are for driving on. You have no right to be upset when a truck does exactly what it is supposed to do on a highway. Vechirko is the one who was dragged out of his truck and beaten by a mob, and you, a member of that mob, complain that you are traumatized?
  • Fifth, it seems that the individual behind the petition is claiming that he/she read texts from Vechirko’s phone after the group of protesters stole it. I don’t think that being part of a mob who beat and robbed someone is something that one should brag about.
  • Sixth, if a black person or Muslim was beaten and robbed by a mob for driving a truck on a highway, he/she would be neither “long gone and convicted” nor “blasted as a terrorist ASAP.” He/she would be portrayed as a victim and martyr and would not have been arrested in the first place.
  • Seventh, it was correct for the police to protect Vechirko and not handcuff him, because he did nothing wrong and was the victim of a crime.
  • Eighth, “sounds about white” is a blatantly racist statement. Why do you think that it is OK to insult someone because of the color of his skin? Vechirko was released without being charged not because of his race but because he did nothing wrong. He should not have even been arrested in the first place.
  • Ninth, there is no such thing as white privilege. Not being charged with a crime when you did not commit any crimes is a right, not a privilege.
  • Tenth, how can you demand that the justice system treat everyone with equality when your petition is asking for the exact opposite of that?

Other than that, this petition makes perfect sense.

The bottom line is that a highway is for driving. A tanker truck has every right to be on the highway. Protesters do not have a right to be on the highway. Vechirko did nothing wrong. The protesters did something wrong by being on the highway. They – particularly the ones who decided to drag him out of his truck and beat him – are the ones who should be charged with crimes, not him.

bookmark_borderBerklee College wrong to apologize for letting cops use bathroom

In one of the most ridiculous examples of the anti-police attitudes that have taken over America, Berklee College of Music in Boston apologized for allowing cops to use its bathrooms. Yes, you read that right. During the May 31 Black Lives Matter protest, college employees committed the dastardly deed of allowing cops stationed nearby to enter the building to go to the bathroom.

Berklee’s Public Safety Department posted the following message on Instagram:

The fact that Berklee would apologize for this boggles my mind. “We have heard from many of you personally and across social channels of your hurt and anger that this access was permitted,” the letter reads. “We understand that many members of our community feel betrayed. We are deeply sorry for the impact this had on our community and for perpetuating feelings of oppression, silencing, and marginalization… This should not have happened, and going forward, it will not happen again.”

It is also incomprehensible to me that someone could feel hurt, angry, or betrayed that cops were allowed to go to the bathroom. How does letting cops use the bathroom perpetuate feelings of oppression, silencing, or marginalization? If you require that cops be forced to wet their pants in order for you to feel comfortable, you have some serious problems. Anyone with such a mean-spirited, messed-up way of looking at the world does not deserve to be accommodated in any way.

Berklee’s promise that “it will not happen again” is disturbing. What are the cops supposed to do if they have to go to the bathroom?

“Are you allowing Berklee protestors to use the bathrooms?” asked one commenter on Instagram. I disagree with the implication that fairness requires the college to let protesters use the bathrooms as well as cops. People who attend protests are doing so because they want to. They are doing so on their own time, and they are free to go home at any time if they need to go to the bathroom. Cops, on the other hand, are at the protest because it’s their job. Their job requires being stationed in public places for hours at a time, often far from the bathrooms at the police station. They do not have the option of going home until their shift is over. And over the course of a shift, it’s pretty likely that every worker at some point will need to use the bathroom.

Letting cops use the bathroom is the kind, humane thing to do. It does not hurt anyone in any way. How could anyone be against that?

bookmark_borderAutographs are for people of all ages

In a recent column, Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy listed various ways in which having games without fans in attendance will actually be a good thing. One of them really bugged me:

“No adults asking players for autographs, or knocking kids to the ground to retrieve foul balls that should be for kids only.”

This is a sentiment that I have heard from numerous people over the years. Once I heard a talk radio personality express the opinion that adults should not go to Patriots training camp unless they are accompanying children. As an adult sports fan who watches practices and sometimes asks players for autographs, I’m offended by this. Why should getting autographs from one’s favorite players be restricted to one age group?

I became a sports fan around age 14. The first team I liked was the Red Sox. Later, I became interested in the Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots as well. It wasn’t until my 20s that I became a big enough fan to start going to Bruins practices. I’m not sure why it is that I became a sports fan relatively late in life. Perhaps it is because, as a kid, I was obsessed with animals, dinosaurs, and Beanie Babies, and didn’t have time for other interests. Perhaps it is because my parents almost never put sports on the TV, so it didn’t occur to me that watching games was even an option. As I got older and had more control over what I watched on TV, I realized that watching a Sox or Bruins game, even if just in the background while I was doing other things, made my day better. Sports also provided a refreshing sense of balance as I became increasingly interested in more serious topics such as law, history, and philosophy. Sports are generally not matters of life and death, or moral right and wrong, but it is mentally stimulating to follow the statistics, strategies, and personalities and to listen to the colorful banter of the commentators.

Anyway, if one argues that there is something wrong with adults asking for autographs, one believes that someone like myself should be content to live my entire life without ever receiving a player’s autograph. I didn’t have the chance to ask a player for an autograph as a kid, because I wasn’t a sports fan then. (Well, technically I had the chance to, I just didn’t choose to go to any practices or games because I had no interest in sports.) Plus, when it comes to lifelong sports fans, why should they be limited to obtaining the autographs of only the players who were active when those fans happened to be kids? Collecting autographs is one of my hobbies, as is the case for many people of all ages. If one collects autographs, it makes sense that one would attempt to get autographs from as many players as possible across the years. People should not be frowned upon for pursuing their hobbies, merely because of their age.

Additionally, politely asking a player for an autograph, while being respectful of the other fans around you, should not be lumped into the same category as knocking kids to the ground. When I go to a Bruins practice, if I decide to try to get an autograph, I calmly make my way in the direction of the tunnel through which the players leave the ice. I wait behind anyone who is already there, and I politely ask the player to sign my notebook if he appears to be relatively non-hurried and in a good mood. I do not shove anyone out of the way. I do not squeeze in front of anyone who is already there. Generally, if someone younger than me is approximately equally close to the tunnel as me, I let him or her talk to the player first. What exactly is wrong with this?

And why should foul balls be for kids only, for that matter? The same principle applies to them as applies to autographs. I think we can all agree that it would be wrong for an adult to knock a kid over… but for an adult to knock over another adult would be wrong, too. So would a kid knocking over another kid, or a kid knocking over an adult.

Finally, I also think that viewing autographs and foul balls as kids-only defeats the purpose of having these things at all. Personally, I know that the kid version of myself would not enjoy an activity as much if I knew that I would only be allowed to do it for a limited time, and that when I became an adult I would not be allowed to do it any longer. People should be allowed to have something to look forward to as they grow older. Becoming an adult should not mean giving up your hobbies and interests and having all joy and fun gradually sucked out of your life.

I realize that I have probably way overanalyzed a somewhat silly topic, as I am wont to do. To sum up: no one should knock other people to the ground, but everyone should be free to pursue their hobbies, regardless of age.

bookmark_borderNASCAR is wrong to ban the Confederate flag

Following the Black Lives Matter protests, NASCAR decided to ban display of the Confederate flag at its races. NASCAR’s statement read:

“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

African-American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had called on the organization to ban the flag. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” he said. “It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

In my opinion, banning the Confederate flag is the wrong decision and actually makes NASCAR less inclusive. Just like the trend of tearing down statues that are objectionable to the politically-correct crowd, banning the Confederate flag shows complete disregard for people who like the flag and consider it an important symbol. A common justification given for banning Confederate flags, statues, and other imagery is that to many people, these things are symbols of racism. But the fact that many people think something does not make it true. The Confederate flag is a symbol of the Confederate States of America, a country that existed from 1861-1865. Yes, the Confederacy had slavery. But slavery is not the sole thing that the Confederacy stood for, nor the sole reason why it went to war in an attempt to gain independence. The Confederate flag does not stand for slavery or racism. It stands for the Southern culture, for the brave soldiers who fought for the South’s independence, for states’ rights, and most importantly of all, for resistance to government authority. That is why I, who have lived in Massachusetts my entire life and am distantly related to Ulysses Grant, love and cherish the Confederate flag. That is why my heart soars whenever I see its stars and bars flapping in the breeze. And that is why I’m devastated by the attempts to eradicate Confederate imagery from America’s culture.

Obviously, not everyone feels the way I do. Plenty of people don’t like the Confederate flag, and that’s fine. But the fact that you dislike and disagree with something does not give you the right to have it banned. Bubba Wallace recently began displaying a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme on his car, which is awesome. I personally would not do so if I was a NASCAR driver, because I disagree with many of the things the Black Lives Matter movement and people associated with it have done recently. But I would never argue that displaying support for that movement should be banned. Just as NASCAR drivers and fans have every right to express their support for Black Lives Matter, drivers and fans should be able to express their admiration for the Confederacy as well.

By taking away the freedom of expression of one group of people in order to make another group of people more comfortable, NASCAR is essentially saying that some people’s feelings and opinions matter more than others. That is neither fair nor just, and it makes NASCAR less welcoming, inclusive, and diverse.