In 2011, Oregon’s Jackson County School District No. 4 fired a bus driver, one Ken Webber, because Webber refused to remove a Confederate flag with the word Redneck from his truck which he parked on school property (h/t Jewish World Review). Mr. Bergreen, the school system gauleiter who fired Webber, did so because of his concern that “the Confederate flag was a symbol of racism,” and as such, was not to be tolerated under the school system’s anti-harassment policy allegedly designed to avoid “any jokes, stories, pictures or objects that are offensive, tend to alarm, annoy, abuse or demean certain protected individuals or groups.”
The self-appointed redneck sued the school district, claiming that his First Amendment rights had been violated. This past Thursday, Federal Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke agreed, sending the case to trial. His exact conclusion was as follows: “The law governing Webber’s First Amendment rights is clearly established. The display of a flag is an act of symbolic expression protected under the First Amendment.”
Quite right, too, and I hope that Webber wins big and gives the abusive school district a huge black eye. After all, we have now had several decades of experience with such “protective” policies, and we know that their practical effects are always to (1) inflict abuse on the vast majority of Americans, (2) only occasionally give special privileges and immunities to a few, and worst of all, (3) always grant vast, completely arbitrary and practically unchecked powers to a few unelected and highly political animals who wield these powers the same way that mad arsonists wield matches in tinder-dry national forests. In other words, the practical effects of such policies are more racism, sexism, Jew-hating and other attitudes and behaviors explicitly designed to abuse democracy. And paradoxically, violating the rights of non-protected people ultimately violates the rights of the so-called protected folks, too. In the end, no one is really “protected” except the lawless HR/EEO gauleiters in their cushy jobs.
Having said that, let me add the following.
First of all…
Gauleiter Bergreen’s perception happens to be right on target. Now, I know that various South-will-rise-again enthusiasts keep claiming that the Stars and Bars is the true flag of the Confederacy and the far better known Southern Cross merely the battle flag and therefore somehow blameless, but that’s no argument. The southern society that had birthed the Confederacy was based on the conviction that a certain protected minority had, on the basis of their skin color and social standing, the right to disenfranchise and enslave the vast majority of the population. In other words, it was bigoted to the core; and any symbol associated with it reflects this overt racism and class warfare and should evoke deep anger.
And yes, the Southern states and later the Confederacy – and later every socialist regime, for which the Confederacy remains the ideal model – had in place very strong rules designed to avoid “any jokes, stories, pictures or objects that are offensive, tend to alarm, annoy, abuse or demean certain protected individuals or groups.”
However, gauleiter Bergreen’s anger at Webber’s display of a symbol of racism – or, just as likely, his eagerness to wield his unchecked power – did not give him the right to fire anyone over it, no matter how many (unconstitutional) protective codes were in place. Not in a democracy, anyway.
And, inevitably, second…
Webber is a putz who ought to have his butt kicked by the vast majority of Americans from coast to coast and then from the Rio Grande to Wyoming (figuratively speaking, of course – I’m not threatening him, nor encouraging anyone to do actual violence to him). Maybe, for symbolic reasons, the north-south butt-kicking route should begin in Washington, Texas, go through Lincoln, Nebraska and extend all the way to Churchill, Manitoba, on Hudson Bay.
I say this because, after nearly 150 years of soul-searching over the shortcomings of the early Republic that culminated in the Civil War, no one should ever understand any symbol of the Confederacy as something other than what it is – a putrefying image of a putrid would-be dictatorship that was a disgrace to civilization. And another excellent reason for recommending a major butt-kicking for Webber is this. He describes himself as a backyard redneck, to wit: “I work for what I have. I support my family. It’s just who I am. I’m a redneck. It’s a way of life.”
Yeah, right. Except that, all these years, this here stupid crawl-through-the-minefields-of-the-Iron-Curtain refugee thought of that as the description of the American citizen. Why Webber would pervert the gold standard of American citizenship (individual achievement, working for what we have, supporting our families) by conflating it with a putrid Confederate symbol is truly beyond me. That kind of idiotic brinkmanship only makes life more difficult for the rest of us Americans. I sincerely hope that, if/when a Federal judge rules in his favor, he will give Webber an education on the subject of right and wrong that Webber will never forget.
Yes, Virginia, I do feel a deep anger. And the fact that both parties are immeasurably stupid doesn’t help calm me down one bit.