Living with extremists in a small town in New England

On a sunny Thursday morning, as I was walking with my wife and daughter, I came across a house on a main Cheshire road near a busy intersection, proudly displaying a Confederate flag outside its front door. My heart sank in my stomach, and I experienced a frantic spectrum of emotions, ranging from anger, frustration, sadness and, frankly, discouragement. We’ve seen this kind of political slapstick on TV regularly, but seeing it firsthand in a left-wing suburban town like Cheshire, Connecticut is both shocking and nauseating.

I don’t know who this owner is, but I can infer that his choice to show this flag is directly an act of provocation, and that he is fully aware that this is an attack on all the inhabitants of the city.

Before we go too deep into a rant about the very dangerous impact of this person’s actions, let’s first briefly discuss the implications of the meaning of Confederation and its flag. If you took a history class in high school, don’t hesitate to skip this section.

Most know that the Confederacy was an unrecognized republic that fought against the United States of America in an attempt to separate from the union and form a nation with legal slavery so that its agricultural economy could capitalize on slave labor. The basic tenets of Confederation – white supremacy and support for slavery – were threatened by the United States and the Lincoln presidency. Thus, they declared a rebellion against the United States, leading to civil war. The President of the Confederation, a fervent supporter of the institution of slavery, owned more than a hundred slaves.

As an American, waving the Confederate flag is perhaps one of the most unpatriotic and ignorant acts one can do. The flag not only represents support for slavery and a rebellion against the United States, it devalues ​​and suppresses the American dream, equal opportunity and freedom, and promotes greater hatred towards minorities and marginalized groups. , which are all very important principles of what it means to be American.

I don’t know the intention behind this owner’s decision to wave the Confederate Flag in a town like Cheshire, and I’m not sure I want to know. However, it is clear that this is an attack on our community and this person wants our residents to feel threatened, scared and intimidated whenever they walk past this property.

It is unfortunate that due to the thoughtless and one-sided rhetoric of our current President, many people today feel in a position to act in such a dangerous and ill-informed manner. I firmly believe that this owner does not understand the meaning of the Confederate Flag and its values ​​- but rather, in our current political climate, he or she feels entitled and proud to upset and frighten an entire community with little consequence.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a lot of progress and much-needed action on equal opportunities, with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining more attention and more local communities rallying to raise issues of police brutality against African Americans and minorities. deletion. It is imperative that, as distinct communities, we continue to come together, speak out and make our voices heard. Let us recognize that systemic racism and hatred will continue to exist, even in surprising parts of the northeast of the country, and do everything humanly possible to promote equality and bring about significant incremental changes within our political system. archaic in order to ensure fair and equal treatment for all – regardless of race.

I am grateful that my 8 month old daughter, far too young to understand the greater impact of this individual’s actions, does not remember this experience. And I hope that with a young generation filled with motivated and selfless voters, we can transform a subset of a hate culture that feels capable of acting shamelessly with hatred, terror and ignorance.

Adam Gerber lives in Cheshire.

About John A. Provost

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