I wish to express my concerns over the Fourth of July parade, which featured a Confederate battle flag (symbol). I ask all our elected leaders to take this behavior seriously, speak out against it consistently, frequently and forcefully, and do everything you can to model principles that have made our Republican democracy work these 230 years so that every SCV citizen recognizes that you expect all of us to treat others the way we want to be treated.
You all know the last phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance, “with liberty and justice for all.” This is taken directly from the preamble of the Constitution. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, …..and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Liberty means freedom, absence of restraint, not to be regulated, free will. Justice means fairness, equality, opportunity, etc. I’m sure you recognize that trying to balance these two founding principles has been what we have been fighting over throughout our history. When Ben Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Convention a woman asked him, “What kind of a government do we have, sir?”
Franklin replied, “A republic if we can keep it.” That is because when there is too much liberty, justice is trampled, and when too much justice, liberty is stifled.
The message of the Confederate battle flag is that many people should not have equal rights of liberty and justice, specifically Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, Atheists, LBGTQ’s, women, etc. That flag was carried into battle in insurrection against the government of the United States of America during the Civil War.
As elected officials you have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of our country. “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As elected officials, I ask you to condemn the presence of that battle flag in a parade celebrating the founding of our country on the anniversary of that founding. To those elected officials who participated in that parade, I ask you to condemn the use of that flag quickly, loudly and consistently. Failure to do so gives tacit approval to the Confederate rebellion and to rebellion against our government, which means you are violating your oath of office.
This is why I am imploring you all to speak out consistently, frequently and forcefully against this behavior. My justice cannot step on your freedom and your freedom cannot stifle my justice.