We don’t pretend to know the ultimate value of anything. We do know that some people were “offended” and not just grand standing for the cameras when they stated that they were intimidated and offended. Some people live their lives to be in front of the camera, and offense is an acting term. That is the nature of some people.
The Caddo Parish Commissioners, sensing the mood of a large number of constituents, took the proactive steps to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the courthouse and replace it with an American flag. These commissioners, ass well as many other citizens, work to make life the least bit brighter each day by deeds and actions and often never receive the benefit of a “thank you” from anything they do. Actions they take or anything they write often falls like the tree in the forest. Many people require prolonged repetitive exposure to good deeds and actions before they appreciate what others out there do to benefit their lives.
Probably only a small number of people were personally offended by the flag that flew over the memorial. However, if a single black man, woman or child stood before that flag, read the scroll or spent the time to gaze upon the figure pointing at the words cut in the stone and were really threatened by the intent of the people who raised that flag, it was one too many. The tone of discussions in Shreveport on race, religion or any one of a number of topics can cause great hurt often with a single word. That’s the way it is, many levels of tolerance and bigotry.
Many of us are secure in our place in society. We understand our accomplishments and shortcomings. We chose our battles carefully and probably count our friends rather accurately. When we are asked was it worth the time and effort of the commission, we must say yes. We want to believe that in their wisdom they understood the long-term needs of citizens. We want to believe that the leadership of the commission is not just well grounded but strong in values of universal justice.
What we do know of most politicians and public workers often gives us reason to question their motives. But in this case, we want to believe the commissioners, as well as the commission leaders, understood the needs for a courthouse. “History” was not a good enough reason to keep the flag flying. A Confederate flag flying in a museum, at a history exhibit, at a re-enactment is certainly appropriate. A memorial in a cemetery is expected, that’s where we honor the fallen.
When we go to the Caddo courthouse, a place for finding facts and justice, we expect to find respect for the law as defined in the Constitution of the United States, the State of Louisiana and Caddo Parish. And since those are the laws that govern the business conducted, we expect to find flags of these entities, with the United States flag flying supreme. We would not expect that the laws of the Confederacy, nor traditions unique to that time to be controlling factor in the courthouse. Some have used the existence of that flag to justify their racist actions. Perhaps now we can get beyond that.
So, yes it was worth the time and effort, because for too many years the principle of “Confederate Values” has carried weight in people’s minds when they walked past that flag and memorial. Some used it to reinforce in their minds that they were superior because of the color of their skin. Others felt threatened by its presence. We now know that more people, particularly those entrusted with the courthouse, feel the same way.