OUR VIEW: Hateful flag should still be allowed

We were disappointed to see booths selling Confederate flag merchandise at the Lorain County Fair.

“If this shirt offends you,” stated the back of one piece of apparel, “you need a history lesson.”

Here is a history lesson: The Confederate cause was slavery. Don’t take our word for it. Listen to the words of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America.

He told the Mississippi legislature in making his case for secession in 1858, prior to the Civil War, that slave labor “removes from us all that controversy between the laborer and the capitalist, which has filled Europe with starving millions and made their poorhouses an onerous charge” and “that among us, white men have an equality resulting from a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race.”

In its writ of secession in 1860, the South Carolina general assembly also made it explicitly clear that it considered President Lincoln an enemy “whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.”

Mississippi’s legislature, in declaring its secession from the Union, said, “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest in the world.”

When Texas joined the Confederacy, its leaders wrote that “in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free….”

This might be heritage, but it is a heritage of hate.

Do not mistake our disappointment, however, for a desire to see such speech censored. America’s nobility is rooted in the openness with which we treat speech. This is especially true in regard to speech we do not like.

Neither are we impressed with county Democrats’ withdrawal from the fair. They shut down their booth in protest of the Confederate flag’s appearance — a move that did not accomplish much other than further entrenchment among the camps.