So, a bunch of people who could scrape together enough money to buy assault rifles and other firearms showed up at Gettysburg battlefield on July 4th because they swallowed the bait on an internet hoax about flag burning at the battlefield. Lots came on gigantic Harleys and many shouldered weapons more suitable for modern warfare than for what happened at Gettysburg so many years ago. Some of them waved Confederate flags, a lost symbol if ever there was one.
What was interesting to me about this gathering was that they were determined to show up to intimidate people, imaginary people as it turned out, who were to have a flag burning to protest whatever they wanted to protest. It’s allowed, the burning of the flag, under lots of federal courts orders about freedom of expression.
These people didn’t respect that.
What they managed to do was surround a guy in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt and intimidate him to the point at which cops had to escort him from the park, just for his safety. You tell me that was noble behavior. I say bullshit to that. Go home and grow up. To me, that means they were disrespecting the Gettysburg dead in their countless thousands. I have been to that place more times than I can count and I always came away with the same feeling, that the greatest threat to our freedoms died right there at Pickett’s charge, the genuine high point of the confederacy. After that, Robert E. Lee was defeated so soundly he was forced to surrender.
The civil war was over. At least we thought it was over at the time. Reconstruction and the shenanigans of scalawags and an abundance of other parasites kept things going. The founding and feeding of the Klu Klux Klan helped, too. It apparently just would not end.
Except that it did. Completely. We are not that nation any more. We stand up to protect people who want to protest. I think it was great that lots of them showed up at Gettysburg on July 4th to make a statement. I think it was terrible that they brought firearms and hinted they were willing to use them to defend, to defend what? An old image of a mythical south where happy slaves toiled away on humane plantations? Women in fluffy dresses down in Georgia having parties for their friends. Black servants up at the big house bringing cool drinks to powerful locals.
That was all bullshit then and the memory of it is bullshit now. There was no nobility to slavery. It was simply a mortal sin that should condemn its advocates to hell. It certainly was nothing anyone should celebrate in any way. Coming out to flex what muscle you can muster in a bid to stop freedom of expression, even an imaginary freedom of expression that didn’t happen, is sinful, too, in this democracy. Freedom of speech is important on all sides. Ghastly behavior is not protected.
Exactly one liberal guy showed up to make a statement. Here’s what The Washington Post reported about him:
A man had entered the cemetery wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt. The man, Trent Somes, later told The Post he was visiting the grave of an ancestor, not protesting. A seminarian and associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Hanover, Pa., Somes said a crowd of about 50 people surrounded him and aggressively questioned him about his shirt.
“I didn’t do anything to them,” he said.
Police arrived and encouraged Somes to leave for his own safety. So much for their respect for the First Amendment.
Go pound your weapons into ploughshares and till the soil. I can guarantee you that all around Gettysburg, it has been well fertilized and something a lot less hateful will grow.