Update on Confederate Flag Fight in Lexington

Here is the latest:

U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Wilson said he would likely rule on the city of Lexington’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Stonewall Brigade in “one to two weeks.” The Sons have maintained all along that a Lexington ordinance banning all flags from city flagpoles except the city’s, the commonwealth’s, and the U.S. flag, specifically targeted them.  Lawyers for the Sons said the flagpoles were a “designated public forum,” therefore the Constitution protected the Sons, and most any others who requested to fly flags from city flagpoles.  Attorneys for the city said the ordinance was “government speech,” essentially saying that since it was Lexington’s flagpoles, the city could choose which groups represent its brand and which ones didn’t.  Sons of Confederate Veterans Stonewall Brigade leader, Brandon Dorsey, said: “I think in this case city council made it abundantly clear that the reason why they were trying to shut [the use of the flagpoles] off from us was because they didn’t like the flags and didn’t like [our] group.”  Lexington city officials declined to comment after the hearing.

So, what are the implications for this case?  If the judge decides against the city the Sons of Confederate Veterans will get to display the flag in downtown Lexington and if the judge decides in favor of the city the SCV gets to display the flag in downtown Lexington.

50 responses... add one

Attorneys for the city said the ordinance was “government speech,” essentially saying that since it was Lexington’s flagpoles, the city could choose which groups represent its brand and which ones didn’t.

I wonder if this is careless reporting of what the city’s attorney said, because as a legal argument it’s DOA. The whole point of crafting the ordinance the way they did was to exclude all outside groups from use of the poles. That’s why I think the city will likely prevail in this case, because the ordinance does not pick and choose which groups will be given access to city-owned flagstaffs. Whether they “like” the SCV or not is immaterial if they treat the SCV no differently than any other private organization.

I agree, but it will be interesting to see if the judge doesn’t throw the case out.

I suspect the judge will throw the case out. Like Andy said, the ordinance is worded in such a way that it does not pick on certain groups.

The bottom line is that the ordinance was prompted by the display of the Confederate flag. The city’s attorneys can play the lawyer game all they want and, indeed, the judge may buy it. But let there be no mistake, the ordinance was passed specifically with the purpose to stop the display of the Confederate flag on city property. It was targeted, which is the heart of the SCV’s argument, as I understand it. This action had already been ruled on by one Federal court. The city was trying to get around that original order by banning “all flags”, but their intent was/is well known. The outcome will depend more on how the judge views the game playing by the city: legitimate legislating or attempting to skirt the spirit of the first ruling. We shall see.

But I’m not sure what you mean Kevin by your comment. If you mean they can still display it by other means, well of course – but that’s the case with or without the ruling now. This is specifically about the city owned flagpoles.

The bottom line is that the ordinance was prompted by the display of the Confederate flag.

What prompted the ordinance and its legality are entirely separate matters. I think you are probably right about the reasons for the ordinance. The flag is controversial and the city decided on this particular stance.

In the end my point is simply that regardless of the court’s decision the flag will continue to have a robust presence in Lexington. To suggest otherwise is empty rhetoric.

“What prompted the ordinance and its legality are entirely separate matters.”

I’m not so sure, since there’s already an injunction (1993) in place which reads, in part: “A permanent injunction shall be entered under which neither the City of Lexington nor any individual, corporation, association or other person or entity under its supervision or within its control, or the employee(s), officer(s), agent(s), or successor(s) in interest of any such person or entity may deny or abridge the right of the plaintiff organization and its members, and of any other person subject to the jurisdiction or authority of the parties enjoined hereby to wear, carry, display or show, at any government-sponsored or government-controlled place or event which is to any extent given over to private expressive activity, the Confederate flag, or other banners, emblems, icons or visual depictions designed to bring into public notice any logo of “stars and bars” that ever was used as a national or battle flag of the Confederacy.”

Read the wording carefully. If the current judge upholds a strict interpretation of this injunction, and believes that the city thumbed its nose at this injunction – which it did – then the city will lose. It is always difficult to predict which way a court or judge will rule in these cases. I’ve been surprised many, many times.

This seems to me to be the key wording from the injuction:

“at any government-sponsored or government-controlled place or event which is to any extent given over to private expressive activity”

The city has apparently changed the status of the flagpoles so that they are no longer “given over to private expressive activity”. That action complies with the injuction rather than thumbing its nose at it. This kind of thing is routine in the back-and-forth between legislative entities and courts and I suspect the city will prevail in the matter.

You could be right. However, its rather obvious that the motivation for the change was to specifically deny the flying of the Confederate flag. I suspect the court may have a problem with this “targeted” motivation. We’ll know soon enough. I believe the SCV will have at least a 50/50 chance of winning this, assuming the judge denies this first motion and the case actually gets to trial.

I find it funny that the very same people who celebrate local rule have no problem with taking this issue to court. The fact is that the Confederate flag is a controversial symbol though there are reasonable arguments on both sides. I still believe that this is a local issue that should be decided through elections. If the people of Lexington are unhappy with the ordinance they should take the necessary steps to make their voices heard.

“I find it funny that the very same people who celebrate local rule have no problem with taking this issue to court.” Good point, it’s usually the other side that tries to overturn the outcome of elections. ;o)

“If the people of Lexington are unhappy with the ordinance they should take the necessary steps to make their voices heard.”

Some are doing exactly that – they’re just using another tool the Founders gave us – the judicial branch. The courts are just another means of making our “voices heard.” And let’s not forget, the Bill of Rights were ratified in order to trump “local rule.”

Thanks for allowing me to comment.

“In the end my point is simply that regardless of the court’s decision the flag will continue to have a robust presence in Lexington.”

Actually, since the ordinance took effect, there has been an exponential increase in the flag’s display – as is usually the case with these issues. Tell someone they can’t, and human nature says, “oh yeah, watch me.” So, yes, you are right, it’s presence has been quite robust.

“To suggest otherwise is empty rhetoric.”

I would agree with that, though I don’t know anyone who has suggested that.

The difference is that the city does not have the implied approval that allowing the Confederate flags to be flown from its flag staffs to worry about. Folks can stand around holding flag poles all they want and it can be flown from poles on private property. If there is a takeaway it is that the political power of the anti flag folks exceed the political power of the flag folks.

“If there is a takeaway it is that the political power of the anti flag folks exceed the political power of the flag folks.”

Jim,

I would strongly disagree with that. Just ask EX-Govs Jim Folsom, Jr, David Beasley, Ronnie Musgrove and Roy Barnes, and EX- Suffolk Va mayor Bobby Ralph. They will certainly tell you that the ‘Flag Folks’ hold the political power. Yeah, sure they force their agenda on the populace but it isnt what the majority want or will tolerate. Same in Lexington. It was a small cadre of anti Confederates that did this.

I exposed a lot of the family connections over on Andy’s blog, the quid pro quo stuff dating back to 2001 that came to a head in Sept 2011. Having played their hand, the haters of history led by Mimi Elrod will all be replaced in Nov 2012, and as with the others mentioned above, it will be for their anti Flag agenda.

Having played their hand, the haters of history led by Mimi Elrod will all be replaced in Nov 2012, and as with the others mentioned above, it will be for their anti Flag agenda.

Are any of the candidates opposing the incumbent mayor and council members running explicitly on the flag issue as central to their candidacy? I can imagine any number of reasons incumbents might lose in their bids for re-election, but for all the sturm und drang last year, I still don’t get the sense that (1) the ordinance was strongly opposed by the majority of Lexington voters, or (2) that they especially want to revisit that contentious issue again anytime soon.

Contra this:

City residents spoke first, and the majority, including whites and blacks, expressed support for the ordinance and described the Confederate flag as a symbol of slavery and oppression that is offensive to many. Once county residents and people from outside the area spoke, there was more opposition to the ordinance amendment and more insistence that the Confederate flag should be honored as a symbol of Southern heritage and the men who fought for the Southern side.

Yes, the majority IN THE ROOM. It seats about 30 – 50 people, and it was a stacked deck. They had purposely opened the doors 30 minutes earlier than publicized just so ‘the majority’ could fill the seats. At the publicized time, we the others arrived and were forced to stand in the hallway.

It was a great play by the Obama progressives, and made a great media soundbyte. However you spin it, the pro flag petition beat their student petition with over 1,250 signatures, and our numbers of 300 give or take far outweighed their cadre of 30-50.

It was a great play by the Obama progressives…

Always good for a laugh, Billy. :-)

Councilman George Pryde’s vehicle sports an Obama Biden bumper sticker. Mayor Elrod is a member of what is deemed ‘left leaning’ groups, as well as an avid supporter of the SPLC. Ms Brodsky’s daughter Clava is an open Obama supporter. Her father has sent many donations to places like “Blue Oregon” for left leaning democrats. Ms Brodsky has penned a book about Russian Homosexuality.

It’s funny, but not the ‘laughing’ kind.

It’s clear to me that you will do whatever it takes to push away the fact that the flag is justifiably offensive to many people. This is not a liberal v. conservative/north v. south or black v. white issue.

Way to go off the deep end, Billy.

Oh boy, I shouldn’t have started reading this blog…I am a teacher, who also has the opportunity to occasionally teach teachers. During one of these professional training moments a supporter of flying the confederate flag spoke the same “stuff” I read above. He then informed me that if there wasn’t pride in the flag my students didn’t know their history. As a teacher in a predominately African-American school my only response to him was, “no sir, I genuinely believe you do not know their’s…”. The class went absolutely silent for what seemed like forever. I don’t know what went through everyone’s head. I can only hope that for a brief moment they used their sociological imagination and dared themselves to look beyond their own experience. My students deserve more than a constant reminder of a brutal past that still casts a shadow over their lives and over this country. You can debate me all you want, but we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if it didn’t.

Jamie,

So nice to hear from you. I’ve been exactly the same situation on numerous occasions. I think the trick is not to be overly confrontational, but to teach the subject. Talk about the history of the flag through various kinds of primary sources. Suggest that he read John Coski’s book on the subject.

In these moments the teachers are the students and it is our job to help to think critically about these difficult subjects.

I try, Kevin, I really try to not be overly confrontational. I will read John Coski’s book. Thank you. Jamie

Not a problem Jamie. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and I hope you enjoy the book.

Hadn’t seen that. Thanks. I suppose we’ll know the real impact come November. Lexington proper is generally quite liberal, so I would have to assume the odds favor Elrod and her co-conspirators.

Just off the top of my head, Mary Harvey Halseth is opposing Elrod, and George Pryde stated he isnt seeking reelection.

Let us not forget that the ban was sought only by russian professor Anna Brodsky with 350 signatures of students and faculty of WLU (remember Mimi’s late hubby was president of the same WLU) and the petition IN FAVOR of the flags to stay was 1,670, but of course was ignored for some odd reason…

The students of course are what, 97% itenerant?

Let us remember that when EX Gov Roy Barnes had changed the Georgia state flag, when a vote was finally held, Barnes flag received a total of 212,200 votes out of nearly 5,000,000 eligible votes statewide.

Numerous Lexington govt officials have stated the sole reason of the ordinance was to ban the Confederate flag. They have played their hands and will face the electorate in November…

FYI
For Memorial Day 2012, the local Vets (VFW, AL)groups did NOT invite Mayor Mimi this year as in years past, due to her actions now causing the city taxpayer funds in court.

Knowing how my own local government works, I’m still having a hard time imagining local pols voting 4-to-1 to adopt a policy they knew was genuinely, deeply unpopular with their constituents. My experience is that pols at all levels adopt all sorts of positions on policy, for no other reason than “that’s what my constituents want.” You and other supporters would have us believe the opposite, that the Lexington City Council ignored their constituents’ actual wishes and voted instead on some vague notion of “political correctness.” I’m not buying that.

You guys keep bringing up Anna Brodsky and the students who signed the original petition, suggesting that they somehow aren’t to be taken as legitimate voices in this discussion. But remember — Brodsky didn’t impose this ordinance on the citizenry of Lexington; it was approved by their elected officials. Y’all can puff about Brodsky and “yankee carpetbagging interlopers” all you want, but at the end of the day it was representative democracy that passed the ordinance, not a bunch of indoctrinated, leftist kids from WLU.

We’ll see how this all plays out in November. There may be lots of reasons to “Boot Elrod,” but I bet they revolve around more mundane things like potholes and property taxes than the CBF. The flag question still seems to be as it always has been — a much bigger deal to Confederate heritage advocates than it is to the people who actually live and work in Lexington.

No, Pat.

Her line of professering ain’t the issue. Russian, Geology or Tiddlywinks. It is her personality.

Her statement to the media “I am embarrassed before my students” spoke volumes.

When she sat down at her computer in her classroom and typed up her anti flag petition shouts volumes.

The way she passed that same petition amongst her students during school and to various fellow professers in the staff break room screams volumes.

Of course Ms Brodsky found a kindred spirit in Mimi Elrod, whose husband Mr Elrod had been the President of the same place that employs Ms Brodsky, and why Ms Brodsky’s 350 name WLU petition held all sway at the city council meeting without a word about the 1,670 name petition from NON WLU members.

Let’s be clear about something. The vast majority of those 1,670 names are from people who don’t even reside in the state of Virginia, let alone Lexington. You had a pool of 300+ million Americans (and then some) to pull from, congrats.

WLU, on the other hand, is in Lexington, VA. It has been for 250+ years. It has a student body of 2,200 in a community with a population of only 7,000. It is an integral part of that community and, for the four years or more those students spend living there, so are they. They may not vote there, but they spend money, pay (some) taxes, and shell out enormous tuitions, all of which go into local coffers and employ other city residents. That is the way the relationship between a small town and a prestigious local university works. One thrives off the other. You can deride the fact that these students are “itinerant” all you want, but to pretend like their opinions shouldn’t count and should be ignored by city leaders, who are supposed to have the best interest of their community in mind, is just plain silly.

Side note: If Ms Brodsky scored 350 signatures out of a pool of only 2,200, spread mostly by word of mouth, I’d say you might want to reevaluate how proud you are of getting just 1,670 from the millions online.

I’ve never known a university professor who had “a computer in her classroom,” or even a classroom that could be considered “hers” for more than a few hours a week, for a semester at a time.

I’m sorry to quibble over a minor phrase, but it does seem that every time True Southrons go off on a jag about university professors and other academics, they reveal just a bit more that they really have no actual familiarity with what they’re talking about.

At all.

As for that petition you keep mentioning, note that it’s an online petition here, that anybody, anywhere can “sign.” No wonder the Lexington City Council didn’t pay it much mind; I’d be more concerned about local residents — yes, those 350 students who live in my town and spend their parents’ money there — than someone in another state or God-knows-where.

I think one of the keys to this whole case, at least for this first motion, is the 1993 injunction. However, based on what I’ve learned today, that injunction will only come into play if the SCV can demonstrate that the flag poles were at least a limited (controlled w/restricted access) public forum. The city is arguing that before the law and at present, it is/was a strictly government forum (similar to the flag pole in front of any court building, school, etc.) where the government alone chooses what may be displayed. The SCV is arguing that the poles were indeed a limited public forum which the city closed.

However, a limited forum can only be closed if it is done in a “viewpoint neutral” way. The law city council passed is viewpoint neutral and that is what the city is hanging it’s hat on—the ordinance removed everyone’s access to the poles. So far, so good.

But the SCV is arguing that, while this is true, the forum (flagpoles) were not closed for a viewpoint-neutral reason. Had the city simply said (with no contradictory remarks) that they wanted to close the forum because they did not want to field additional requests, the SCV would be without recourse because that would have been a viewpoint neutral position (motivation).

However, we all know that this is not the case. The city closed the forum to get rid of the Confederate flags and statements by public officials were explicitly made to the effect. Thus, the closing of the forum was not viewpoint neutral and the closure can then be made subject to the 1993 injunction.

The key to that is how the judge views the forum as it was prior to closure and whether he thinks it was closed in a viewpoint neutral manner. According to my source, his questions to the city attorneys yesterday seemed to suggest that he is not completely buying their assertion it was a purely government forum. If he has any doubt, then under the “most favorable outcome rule”, which is supposed applied to be applied to plaintiffs, the SCV’s case should be allowed to proceed to trial.

The city is arguing that before the law and at present, it is/was a strictly government forum (similar to the flag pole in front of any court building, school, etc.) where the government alone chooses what may be displayed.

That’s what the article says, but I think it’s a mangled paraphrasing of their actual argument. I happen to believe the city is on strong legal ground if the case does go to trial, but for them to argue that the government gets to pick and choose which private groups they will allow and which not, would amount to gross incompetence on the part of their legal team. I just don’t think that’s what they actually argued.

I wasn’t there, but the person I spoke to was. I’ve simply shared what I’ve been told. I do know for a fact that city officials let it be known (before their attorney told them to shut up), that the motivation was the Confederate flag. I think that could be a very important fact. We could argue the strengths and weaknesses all day. We’ll know soon enough.

Some people simply do not want to see that flag displayed with the support of their tax dollars. I don’t blame them.

Probably more being spent to defend the lawsuit than place the flags. If they lose, they’ll may also be required to pay the SCV”s legal fees.

Which is why it should be left to the local community to work through rather than have it decided by a federal judge.

The SCV is part of the local community and is simply exercising legal recourse when disagreeing with local legislation. Nothing new here. This is part of the “working through” process and an example of why we have separation of powers. The same process would occur if the city allowed a manger scene on the courthouse lawn at Christmas time, but then denied some demonstration of another faith during the appropriate holiday. The city allowed other local civic organizations/institutions to display their flags, so its a reasonable argument that by doing so they opened up the poles as a local forum. They should have thought about that first. It is a rather well established principle that you cannot censor public speech/expression simply because some may find it “offensive”, which is why the SCV has won every DMV license case. Yes, there are nuances and exceptions (obscenity), but generally speaking, that’s the law. The SCV is attempting to force Lexington to abide by law and legal precedent. As I’ve said, whether or not that argument will prevail will be determined by the courts.

As I understand it the flag is not being singled out, though I agree that the controversy surrounding it is what prompted the city to pass the ordinance. I appreciate the civics lesson, but once again I find it funny that folks who talk about the sanctity of local rule have no problem with calling in the federal government to get what they want.

“I find it funny that folks who talk about the sanctity of local rule have no problem with calling in the federal government to get what they want.”

A fair observation, though one might also find it funny that the folks who typically favor federal intervention oppose it in this case. Works both ways, doesn’t it?

Fair enough, but I have absolutely no problem with federal intervention as long as it leads to no Confederate flags on taxpayer poles. :-)

The city allowed other local civic organizations/institutions to display their flags, so its a reasonable argument that by doing so they opened up the poles as a local forum.

The city’s ordinance tacitly acknowledges this, by explicitly closing that local forum. Your position seems to be that, having once established a “local forum,” they’re obligated to maintain it in perpetuity.

KL:

“I have absolutely no problem with federal intervention as long as it leads to no Confederate flags on taxpayer poles.”

And I have absolutely no problem with federal intervention as long as it leads to allowing Confederate flags on taxpayer poles. ;o)

AH:

“Your position seems to be that, having once established a “local forum,” they’re obligated to maintain it in perpetuity.”

Not sure where you’re getting that. Certainly these forums should be allowed to close – but not for the purpose of censoring a particular group because someone is offended. The flags were displayed within the same context of other flags (VMI, W & ) that have flown from the city poles – special holidays, commemorations, of groups with ties to the community, etc. The flags were being displayed in a historical context – Lee-Jackson Day. Both men are buried in Lexington. Read my comments again – I said: “the closing of the forum was not viewpoint neutral and the closure can then be made subject to the 1993 injunction.” This is the SCV’s basic argument. It’s well-articulated in the filed complaint, which you can read here:

https://www.rutherford.org/files_images/general/01_12_2012_Complaint_SCV.pdf

This just in . . . Lexington prevails. Judge dismissed lawsuit. I must say I am surprised. Judge Wilson decided that the reason or procedure for “closing” the public forum is irrelevant. I find that to be in conflict with the 1993 injunction but, hey, I’m not a lawyer.

I know this is an old thread and might not get posted, but anyway…

I knew Brodsky when I went to W&L. She is a Russian Jewish Soviet dissident, who is not very keen on any government. She hates the Russian Empire, she hates the USSR, she hates the Russian Federation, she is not too keen on the United States, either, so there is relatively little surprise that she would find some hatred for the Confederacy. Her husband is a milder mannered man, very intelligent, but from Buffalo and with very kneejerk pro-Democratic Party opinions (note, I am faulting him for kneejerkery, not for being left-of-centre). He might have imparted some rather ridiculous opinions concerning the CSA.

In terms of people being “justifiably offended” by the flag, why? And is it that big a deal that they be offended? Certain opinions, and sometimes events, offend me greatly, but I know it is not in my power to have them banned. Is the Confederate flag any more a symbol for slavery than the US flag could be seen as a symbol of unjustifiable wars in Asia and the Middle East or for the slavery that existed until 1865 on its own territory, or for monopoly capitalism, or for extreme libertarian ideology, or anti-Catholicism….all of which you could claim were promoted by the American federal State at certain points in time. Is the US flag a symbol of Sherman’s march to the sea? Is none of this offensive?

Flags represent political entities which, in principle, represent a diverse group of people that should be united by some sort of cultural and/or political heritage. History is history. I have been in Moscow on Victory Day and Soviet (Communist) flags are flown everywhere. Of course, this is only on such holidays, but all the same the war was fought under this flag and it is nothing the veterans have shame in. Likewise, I see no point in not permitted Confederate flags to be flown officially on specific days of historical remembrance.

Seeking to erase history, be it American, Confederate, British-Imperial, Nazi, Soviet, whatever, is childish.

She hates the Russian Empire, she hates the USSR, she hates the Russian Federation, she is not too keen on the United States, either, so there is relatively little surprise that she would find some hatred for the Confederacy.

That’s interesting, because the Flaggers all make her out to be the reincarnation of Karl Marx, Che Guevara and Uncle Joe Stalin, all in one. (Not that I’m surprised they’ve never bothered to actually find out anything about her; complex factual information gets in the way of the narrative of simplistic evil they love.)

I have been in Moscow on Victory Day and Soviet (Communist) flags are flown everywhere.

But probably not flown officially by the Russian government. And so is the case in Lexington — the city decided not to display that (or any other non-current governmental entity) flag on city property. Locals and visitors can (and do) display the Confederate flag all they want.

As for point one, yes, I share the irony that people would flippantly accuse Brodsky of being a Communist, when she was something of a dissident from the USSR. This reflects knee-jerk reactions made out of ignorance to the effect that the fight against the Confederate flag is a cultural Marxist conspiracy (alone, anyway). That said, comments along the line of “she should know better that it is dangerous to try to erase chunks of history” are valid.

On point two, this is really maybe when our communication breaks down…yes, the Soviet flag *is flown officially* by the Russian government in celebrations of what were Soviet military victories (even hymns to Stalin may be heard!). It is unthinkable that they would not do so, and only the most extreme anti-Soviets (those who say the USSR was *only* a murderous oppressive government) complain. Just because the memories of a few people are preoccupied with the Gulag does not mean veterans, and their posterity, have some fake version of history where they were fighting for some future Russian Federation, rather than the USSR, jammed down their throats, much less the insinuation that what they were fighting for was evil and should be thrown in an historical trash can. While I appreciate that this is not the most hardcore anti-flag ordinance I’ve heard of I see no reason why celebrations of Confederate heritage, complete with flags, cannot be permitted on public property at least on select days of historical significance, just because some people have a very child-like, moralistic, and caricaturish version of history. And in the past, before this very recent legalistic idea that you’ll get sued if someone is offended by what happens on public property (so that eventually nothing is permitted on public property, which is counter-productive), this was not a problem in America.

In my view it is a losing battle for the out-of-town pro-Confederates to come in and scream about who is a valid “Southroner” as if longtime residents like Brodsky do not have the right to vote. However, I do find it offensive for people far removed from any real historical context to try to take leading roles as activists in a campaign partly built on moralising to locals about how some of their ancestors were fighting for evil. Incidentally, I have found some writing of Brodsky’s pertaining to the matter in Russian (she wrote a column for Nezavisimaya Gazeta) where, after an exposition explaining she does not like Lexington, she basically boils down the Old South to a racist bastion of violence and rape perpetuated against Blacks (I know it sounds odd, but she disproportionately dwells on the latter point). Oddly enough, this is about as crude as Soviet propaganda was concerning the US South during the 50s-60s.

In my point of view, (a) it is possible most Lexingtoners approve of anti-flag measures like the one adopted (not quite like some W&L profs would have though) because the (independent) City of Lexington has many transplants via the universities plus retirees – I guess this will be confirmed or not in the next election (i.e., the decision may be a democratic one that would not be repeated in Rockbridge Co. or smaller cities nearby); (b) this, however, does not mean “most Southerners” voted for the ordinance; (c) people need to accept history as history, and neither canonise nor demonise it; (d) if you can use public property to wave flags for veterans who fought, or are still fighting, to subdue and subjugate foreign countries (which is what the US is currently doing), you can certainly allow flags to be flown in memory of those who defended their own land.

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