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Making a Distinction


By Matthew J. Mcdonald

WE AGREE with Grunwald's assertion that this is more than an issue of offending sensibilities. This is an issue of right and wrong. Symbols have meaning for what they represent, not just for how people react to them.

But we disagree with Grunwald's equating of the Confederate flag and the swastika. Unlike the swastika, united Germany's current red, black and gold flag stands for pride in Germany. The swastika represents nothing but the Third Reich and its policies of racism, world domination and genocide. Townsend should take it down.

What the Confederate flag represents is more ambiguous. Though it reminds us of slavery, it also stands for pride in the South. That is why Virginia Governor Doug Wilder embraced it during his successful campaign to become the nation's first post-Reconstruction Black governor. And that is why we disagree with the staff's failure to make a distinction between the Confederate flag and the swastika. While we dislike the Confederate flag and disapprove of its display, we cannot pretend that the two symbols can or should be equated.

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