Monday, December 1, 2008

Confederate flag at Arkansas motel draws criticism

Yee - haa! 
Raising the rebel flag of the Old South in protest of a newly elected liberal president is probably not the smartest move that the owners of the Faubus Motel in Arkansas have done...

By: Associated Press - Texarkana 
Gazette Published: 30/11/2008

HUNTSVILLE, Ark.—The owners of the Faubus Motel in northwest Arkansas say they replaced Old Glory with a Confederate flag outside their business after the election of Barack Obama—but not because the new president is black.

Rather, owners James and Linda Vandiver say they raised the flag because they believe Obama is a Marxist.

“We think socialism is deeply rooted in him, and we’ll see it manifest in all areas,” Linda Vandiver told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “This doesn’t have anything to do with Mr. Obama’s color. We’d like to celebrate the fact that for the first time we have a black president. But we can’t.”

The Huntsville motel was once owned by Orval Faubus, the Arkansas governor who became notorious for his efforts to keep Little Rock Central High School segregated in 1957. The Vandivers bought the motel in 1996.

The Vandivers say the United States has abandoned the principles of its founders by electing Obama. James Vandiver says he was troubled by Obama’s association with William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground. Obama has denounced Ayers’ terrorist actions in the 1970s.

“This is the only way I know to send a message to the people of our country that we are in protest of someone like this being in the position of president,” James Vandiver said.

But to many in the Ozark Mountain town of 2,000 people, the Vandivers’ display is considered racist and offensive.

“I respect the freedom of speech, but this symbol of racism can’t be allowed to represent our community,” resident Steve Maher wrote to the town’s weekly newspaper, the Madison County Record. “If we do nothing, we are silently supporting or at least accepting the symbolism of that flag.” Alderman Terry Long said raising the flag at the Faubus Motel on the night of Obama’s election hurt Huntsville’s reputation. Huntsville already is thought of as a “backwoodsy and redneck type community,” Long said. “Him flying the Rebel flag is just making the situation worse.” The Vandivers said they should be allowed the right to freedom of speech.

“Our statement in raising the flag is ‘Barack Obama is not our president,”’ Linda Vandiver said. “If the Democrats can say that about President Bush, then we can say that about Barack Obama.”

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