Letter: Political and divisive flags don’t belong in Warren

Posted 8/5/20

To the editor:

The letter in the Times last week from Gen. Richard Valente deserves support.  I seldom agree with General Valente politically. He’s to the right; I tend to stand left of …

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Letter: Political and divisive flags don’t belong in Warren

Posted

To the editor:

The letter in the Times last week from Gen. Richard Valente deserves support.  I seldom agree with General Valente politically. He’s to the right; I tend to stand left of center. But I respect him and pay respect to his views.  Now, I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with the good General.

The town council’s ill-informed decision to fly the Black Lives Matter flag on public property in front of Town Hall has proven to be both political and divisive, as General Valente rightly pointed out.

Black Lives Matter/Rhode Island has formed a political action committee (PAC) that is accepting donations in support of “progressive” candidates (moderates and conservatives need not apply). You cannot get more political than forming your own PAC. The Town of Warren should not be flying the flags of political action committees – left, right or center.

The BLM flag has also created divisions in this town that we haven’t seen in at least 50 years. Our conservative friends and neighbors are not racist when they see the BLM flag as an affront to our well-trained, highly-respected and professional police department. They are not racist when they say they do not want to defund the police. They are not racist when they see the BLM movement as a product of the left. (I thought it ridiculous that conservatives claimed the BLM movement was leftist  – until I saw the request for donations in support of candidates on the far left.)

A few years ago a group of volunteer firemen became enamored with the conservative Tea Party movement and hoisted its flag at fire headquarters. They were told to take down a flag of the right; that political flags cannot be flown on town property.  Because of the council’s endorsement of a flag of the left, I would think those firemen now have the Constitutional right to demand the Tea Party flag be flown at Town Hall for a month, and for a month every year thereafter –just as the council voted  to do with the BLM flag.

Bottom line is this: Political and divisive flags don’t belong at Town Hall.

This past Monday I had my weekly breakfast with two friends, both hard-line Trumpsters. They begin each breakfast by calling me a communist. My reply is to call them fascists. We have a laugh, then sit down over eggs to discuss the week’s events.

We often end surprising ourselves by finding we agree on more than we disagree. They are, for example, aware of and against voter suppression; they see no problem with mail-in ballots. We also agreed the police should not be de-funded, although we agree resources should be reallocated into better prevention and investigation, rather than saddling the police with mundane traffic duties.

The BLM protestors chant: “Fight the Right.”  Maybe we should agree to fight for what’s right. We might find we have more in common that way.

Dave McCarthy

Milwaukee Avenue

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Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.