letter to the editor

Racism is not a Maine tradition

Mon, 08/24/2020 - 3:30pm

Dear Editor:

I look with disappointment at the Confederate flag near our post office in East Boothbay. What visitors must think, seeing this reviled symbol, used for 150 years to remind people of color they are not considered equal, so prominently displayed. Any American of African descent would think they are not welcome here.

What is the intent of the flag flyer? Are they saying ‘I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore’? Then fly that flag. Do they support a politician or party? Then fly those flags. Are they tired of getting kicked around? Then fly ‘Don’t Tread On Me’.

Maine’s tradition is against racism, not for it.

80,000 Mainers fought in the Civil War to end slavery.

General Oliver Otis Howard, Medal of Honor recipient, was a war hero, then head of the Freedman’s Bureau, integrating former slaves into their equal roles in American life. He then founded Howard University, serving as its president for five years.

Hannibal Hamlin served as Lincoln’s vice president. Hannibal’s son Hiram led the 80th United States Colored Troops in battle, and later became a general.

Maine’s tradition is for the preservation of the Union, not division and secession.

Joshua Chamberlain, Medal of Honor recipient, defended Little Round Top at Gettysburg — general, governor and Bowdoin College president.

Maine produced 30 Civil War generals. Imagine if they could rejoin us for just a day, and regale us with tales of bravery and survival? Then, imagine their confusion and anger looking up at that confederate flag.

I strongly support the rights of all Americans to freely express their opinions, and to support their chosen political parties and candidates. These are the things that make America great.

I do not support expressions and acts of racism and hatred. These are the things that make America weak and vulnerable

I encourage the flyer of the confederate flag to reconsider and take it down. I will help you to hoist a different flag, and hopefully a beer or two afterward.

Matt Hurley

East Boothbay