To the Editor:
Response to "Reader responds to letter" (which appeared in Sept. 29, 2008 issue of The Brazil Times):
Though you are correct that one should not judge others for their beliefs, I feel that you are incorrect in your assessment with respect to one's freedoms when acted upon and they interfere with the rights of another's, especially when their "free speech" is derogatory to another citizen of the U.S., or for that fact, the world.
Suppose a car displayed a sticker that said, "Harmony is a dump and its people are the trash in it." Of course, I neither would do that nor do I think that but see what I mean? That would indicate that one thought that people in Harmony were not just as good as the rest of the population. It would be insulting and hurtful. I only use this as an example. The bumper sticker mentioned in the original letter of Sept. 22 and the Rebel flag both indicate the support of the belief that slavery and subservience of blacks should have remained as it was when that flag officially represented the Confederacy and that the federal government had no right to correct the wrong of it over the objections of southern states. It goes against both what our nation stands for as well as the notion of treating one's neighbor as you would like to be treated.
Now to the judgment issue. Though judgment should be God's prerogative, we are fallible humans, who form opinions from their social environment. For many people who know their history, they see only two kinds of people who would display the rebel flag outside of a museum setting in which history was being preserved. If they aren't being racist deliberately, they are those too ignorant to realize the implications of their actions as by doing so they are hurting and disrespecting a specific portion of the population. When I see a rebel flag displayed in one's yard or on a vehicle, it tells me that they are one or the other. It's that simple. So now maybe that person wasn't deliberately being a racist. Maybe they were just too ignorant to know what they were doing. It's not a crime to be stupid in this country.
And by the way, like many other countries, Iraq is one of our allies (supposedly we are in Iraq to promote democracy and to quell their "civil unrest" now that we've helped to topple their previous government) and there are many Iraqi immigrants living in the U.S., just as many of our families came from Ireland, Germany, China and other countries.
Displaying one's flag from their country of origin, especially one of our allies, I see as completely acceptable and is an example of how wonderfully diverse our American culture is. One can love both their adopted country and the country from which they came.
The confederate or "rebel" flag is one of a dead regime that failed due to its "un-American" value system. Best to leave it in the museums where it is accompanied by the appropriate connotations and not display it as a badge of bigotry and/or ignorance.