The United States is predicated upon a premise of freedom. That is the simplified version. In reality, we must, at times, balance the right to do whatever with the right of others to be left alone.
I have often remembered the words, “Your right to swing your arm ends at my nose.” The quote has been attributed both to Oliver Wendell Holmes and Teddy Roosevelt. Whoever said it, however, has got the spirit of liberty fundamentally correct.
This simple premise, however, has been perverted. Today, citizens who wish to exist in mainstream society are only free to express themselves if their ideas or beliefs fit within a continually-shrinking window of societal acceptability.
Espousing a belief in traditional definitions of marriage is now “hate speech.” Identifying men and women as “men” and “women” is now an act of “transphobia.” And proudly displaying the Confederate Flag? That is strictly forbidden in this land of supposed freedom.
One young woman discovered this fact the hard way. Though the state of Virginia once proudly served the Confederacy, Christianburg High School senior Bailey Cox was called to the principal’s office recently for having had the audacity to display a Confederate Flag sticker on her truck.
Principal Kevin Siers offered Cox a lesson in tyranny and offered her a choice: remove the sticker or face a three-day suspension and loss of parking privileges for a year.
Morgan Willis, another senior, claims that she faced the same threat for a similar sticker on her car.
“I feel like we should have more of a right than that,” Willis complained.
“He was like, y’all have confederate flags on your vehicles. You need to remove them now or I’m going to possibly suspend you and I’m going to take away your parking privileges,” Cox stated about her conversation with Siers.
Montgomery County schools spokeswoman Brenda Drake stated that students cannot be suspended over Confederate Flags bumper stickers, but that the parking contract signed by students and their parents states “vehicles must be free from displaying any flags or symbols that are deemed offensive to any race, religion, ethnic group, or sexual orientation.”
Apparently, a display of pride in one’s heritage is not protected under school policy.
Drake revealed that three students were given the same ultimatum on the first day of school and all have complied.
“For any flag or symbol to be identified as offensive, there has to be an incident that precipitates. And that can include a fight or any other demonstration that interrupts the school day,” Drake said as she tried to defend the heavy-handedness. “Once there is that type of incidence specifically related to that symbol, then that symbol is banned at that school.”
“There have been no protests or that type of thing,” she said. “In working with students on conflict issues, our staff members look at more than external factors such as race. We know that often there are deeper issues at play and we work to ensure that all of our students’ needs are met.”
If Drake were truly interested in making sure that “all of [their] students’ needs are met,” she and other officials would be preaching tolerance instead of bigotry that stems from political correctness.
One need not hold a reverence for the Confederate Flag; however, the true value of freedom is that others may say or believe things that are offensive while others are free to ignore or disapprove.
The lesson here is not that students have a right to be sheltered from anything that could possibly offend them; the lesson here must be that in life, there are differing belief systems and our fundamental concepts of freedom demand that we tolerate these differences.
It’s amazing that those who relentlessly crusade against the Confederate Flag appear to universally miss the hypocrisy; while crusading for supposed “tolerance,” these bullies show themselves to be remarkably intolerant.
This episode unfolded in Virginia of all places. If only Robert E. Lee could see what happened to his beloved country…