I believe you should be able to display the Confederate flag. It is your constitutional right to do so. You are granted that freedom by the First Amendment. I also believe you should not have to stand for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner if you choose not to do so. That right is also granted by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I see no difference between the two, yet I’ve heard people say that it should be illegal to kneel or show any form of protest during the playing of our national anthem. I’ve also heard those who believe displaying the Confederate flag should be illegal.
Think about that. There are actually those in America that believe you should be punished for peacefully protesting. I imagine myself at a high school football game this fall, and after the playing of the national anthem a squad of police officers arrest all the fans that did not stand at attention during the song. Or, similarly, anyone with a Confederate flag displayed on their vehicle could be pulled over and immediately taken into custody. That may be the most “North Korean” thing I could imagine happening in the U.S.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I support the cause for which people choose to kneel during the anthem, and I’m also not saying I agree with the reasons people choose to display the Confederate flag. What I am saying is that I will fight just as hard for someone’s right to display the Confederate flag as I will for someone's right to protest during the Star Spangled Banner.
My feelings about those two freedoms granted by our First Amendment are irrelevant. I have my opinions just the same as anybody else.
Saying that you support the freedoms provided by the First Amendment with the exception of protesting the flag or the national anthem is no different than someone who says they support the freedoms afforded to us by the Second Amendment with the exception of a few guns.
You may be offended by the cause and those who choose to exercise the rights given to us by the Constitution, but someone or something that offends you, in most cases, isn’t illegal.
That’s the small price we have to pay for the freedoms we all enjoy - you have to allow yourself the ability to be offended without having a reaction that ultimately calls for laws to be passed because of your uncomfortableness. That applies to those on the Left and the Right. The Constitution is non-partisan.
Travis Nelson lives in Fargo.
This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.