This is going to be an interesting case headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans think Texas license plates should carry a design that includes the Confederate flag. Millions of Texans are on their side. Millions of other Texans — as yours truly — think the design is offensive in the extreme.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles has denied the design, citing a state law that says it can deny a specialty plate “if the design might be offensive to any member of the public.” Former Gov. Rick Perry opposed the design, citing its offensiveness to millions of Texans.
Cut-and-dried, yes? Hardly.
The Sons of the Confederacy think a denial deprives the organization of freedom of speech.
Here’s how the Texas Tribune reported the sequence of events: “The group challenged the DMV’s decision in federal court, but a district judge upheld the state’s decision to restrict what it determined to be offensive content. The Sons of Confederate Veterans appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s decision. The court said the DMV had unlawfully discriminated against the Confederate group’s beliefs that the flag was a symbol of Southern heritage in favor of those who were offended by it.”
Southern heritage? I suppose it does represent one element of Southern heritage. That segment happens to include a Civil War that killed 600,000 Americans, a war that was fought over the South’s contention that states had the right to do certain things — such as sanction slavery.
The Confederate flag in the 150-plus years since the end of the Civil War has become a symbol of hate groups who fly the flag proudly whenever they’re protesting issues, such as granting all Americans — including African-American — the right to vote.
The symbol is offensive and should not adorn motor vehicle license plates.
I just hope the Supreme Court sees it that way, too.