Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Letter to the Pensacola City Council and Mayor Hayward

The West Florida Flaggers will renew activity again soon, this time targeting the City of Pensacola as well as Escambia County.  Mere days after the tragedy in Charleston, SC., Mayor Ashton Hayward, in a fit of kneejerk emotionalism, removed the First National Flag of the Confederacy from the city's Five Flags displays -- and, in hamfisted homage to the idea of five flags, substituting the State of Florida Flag in the displays.

Unfortunately, I have been kept busy by the anti-Confederate tsunami sweeping the South, and by personal illness, but hope and plan to get our flaggings revived ASAP. More information coming about that in upcoming posts.

Meanwhile, here's my email to the mayor and city council, sent yesterday:
To Mayor Hayward
City of Pensacola

cc: The Pensacola City Council --
Andy Terhaar, Larry B. Johnson, P.C. Wu, Sherri F. Myers, Gerald Wingate,     Brian Spencer, Jewel Cannada-Wynn, Charles Bare   

Dear Mayor Hayward,

With your removal of the First National Flag of the Confederacy from the Five Flags displays, you have shown yourself to be an emotional reactionary, not a deliberativel leader. 

Without giving the situation time to stabilize, or finding out what your constituents wanted, you followed the lead of those across the country making callous political use of a tragedy to lie about history in the interest of protecting and promoting destructive contemporary policies. In so doing, you have aided the hysterical sweep across the South to wipe out anything Confederacy related, from flags to retail items to place names to monuments to smartphone apps. There are even calls to dig up graves and remove the remains of Confederate soldiers and officers. Do you approve of that? Your actions helped to bring it about.

And whether you intended to or not, you have painted many of your good, decent constituents who respect their history and heritage with a Dylann-Roof-colored brush. Shame. You ought to know your people better than that, and respect them enough to not mischaracterize them with your assumptions.

Since your precipitous action, tens of thousands of people across the Southern states have rallied in support of Confederate heritage almost daily, to show they will not let their brave Confederate ancestors be lied about, dishonored or forgotten. The rallies and parades continue today.

Significantly, a CNN poll has verified what heritage defenders have known for decades. A huge majority of Americans -- 57 percent -- do not see the Confederate flag as a racist emblem, but a symbol of Southern regional pride -- the same pride Pensacolians showed in their city's history and heritage, until their government attempted to remove it and foist off on them some plastic, artificial, soulless "world class upside city" substitute. It wouldn't surprise me if that 57% figure was higher in Pensacola.

This is nearly identical to a 2000 Gallup poll which found that 59% of Americans say the flag is more a symbol of Southern pride, and reflects similar percentages in polls by Scripps-Howard in Texas and The University of North Carolina's Southern Focus poll. People's regard for their history has not changed despite an ongoing campaign of denigration of the flag by the NAACP and fellow travelers, and the high-handed efforts of their local and state governments.

My major concern at this time is protection of the Confederate Memorial in Lee Square. I want the city's assurance that it will not cave to emotional reactionary demands to destroy or remove the monument. Leave it exactly where it is, and protect it from vandalism and attempts at destruction.

However, I maintain an intense interest in the flag situation. I want to see it revisited. The city's "solution" of putting a state flag in a display of national flags is, frankly, bizarre, reeks of political appeasement and mangles the very significance and purpose of the Five Flags displays. I would like to see the Five Flags restored to what they should be,  including the First National Flag of the Confederacy, the Stars and Bars.

It won't do any good, of course. Politicians across the country have drunk far too deeply of the P.C. koolaid and city hall down on Main Street is no exception.  But stronger talk is on the way.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Rumblings of Resistance in Pensacola

On Monday, June 22, I called the office of Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward to discuss the whether the city had plans regarding the First National flag in the Five Flags displays, and to make certain the Confederate Memorial in Lee Square was protected from removal or destruction.

The receptionist said Hayward was at a mayors' conference, but she could have an aid call me. I said okay and left my number.

No call back the rest of that day. No call back the following day, so I called again on Wednesday and talked to Zack. He was evasive about the fate of the flag, said "they're discussing it now." I knew what that meant, so I registered with him my opinion that it should stay.

Then I asked about the Confederate monument.  He said he knew of no requests or plans to remove it but it seemed unlikely to happen because "it's granite, very heavy, and thirty feet high."

I asked, "So the only thing that protects it from being moved is its height and weight?"

He said he didn't know what policies or ordinances applied to it. So I registered my opinion that it needs to stay right where it is.

The next day, there were media reports that Mayor Hayward had ordered the flag to be lowered and replaced with the Florida flag, but the Five Flags displays were not to all come down. I guess he was remembering what happened a few months ago when the county removed all but the US flag from its Five Flags display at the civic center.

It was an illogical, emotion-based, bandwagon response, since the five flags are supposed to be the flags of nations that Pensacola has historically been a part of. The Florida state flag is not a national flag. Duh.

Since that time, I've followed the Great AntiConfederate Tsunami of 2015 online, both locally, across the South and across the nation. As there are in so many places, there are rumblings of resistance starting up in Pensacola. I have connected with others here, and we will be meeting to discuss how best to rev up the rumbling. Time and place for the meeting have been set, and we will discuss possible plans and responses.

I'll report more here and on Facebook as the situation develops.


Connie Chastain
West Florida Flaggers