New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill banning the sale and display of Confederate flags on state property. The law makes it illegal to sell Confederate flags at state or local fairs and bans their display unless deemed necessary for historical or educational purposes. In addition to violating the First Amendment, this is yet another example of our society’s intolerant, senseless war on all things Confederate.
“This country faces a pervasive, growing attitude of intolerance and hate — what I have referred to in the body politic as an American cancer,” Cuomo said. “By limiting the display and sale of the Confederate flag, Nazi swastika, and other symbols of hatred from being displayed or sold on state property, including the state fairgrounds, this will help safeguard New Yorkers from the fear-installing effects of these abhorrent symbols.”
But the Confederate flag is not “abhorrent,” nor is there any need to “safeguard” people from it. The Confederate flag is a symbol of liberty and of Southern heritage. Even as someone born and raised in Massachusetts, who is not directly related to anyone who fought for the Confederacy, I recognize that this flag represents a nation that valiantly but unsuccessfully fought for its independence. I find this flag beautiful, glorious, and uplifting. Anyone who feels fear upon seeing a Confederate flag is ignorant as to what the flag is truly all about.
Cuomo is right about one thing: there is indeed a pervasive attitude of intolerance and hate in America that is growing like a cancer. But the nature of this cancer is the opposite of what Cuomo believes it to be. The true American cancer is the movement to obliterate, erase, destroy, and “cancel” everything and everyone that has anything whatsoever to do with the Confederacy, as well as everything and everyone that in any way falls short of the arbitrary requirements of political correctness. This movement is intolerant, it is hateful, and unfortunately it is pervasive and growing. Public support for the Confederacy and its symbols is, sadly, shrinking and shrinking as the political correctness movement increases in power. It is that movement that America needs to be fighting back against, instead of further stomping on the unpopular but honorable cause of the Confederacy.
In addition to getting intolerance and hate completely backward, Cuomo’s Confederate flag ban also runs up against the pesky issue of freedom of speech. “A private entity can choose to sell or not sell offensive symbols but when the government bans the sale of offensive, but constitutionally protected symbols, on its property the First Amendment comes into play,” said noted First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, according to the New York Post.