To the Editor:

We learned through social media this week that a house in our town was prominently displaying a Confederate battle flag. In the wake of Aug. 12’s car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia that killed Heather Heyer, who was protesting the white supremacy and neo-Nazi rally held there, we question the motive of such an act given the intolerance and racism the Confederate flag has come to symbolize. We, too, would like to speak out. We wish to express our view that Darien should be a community with zero tolerance for hate. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent; whether you’re brown, black, or white; whether you’re Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, or of any other faith, we ask you to support us in recognizing our common humanity.
William and Holly Russell
Rob and Liz Werner
Cynthia and Tony Princi
Jon and Shannon Silsby
Maribeth and Art Sears
Allisson and Floris Van Dijkum
Shyamla Menon
Min Selkowitz
Caroline Luz

The Darien Times reached out to the alleged homeowner, who has asked to remain anonymous, and confirmed it was his home displaying the flag, and that the flag had been taken down. His response is below:

The purpose of hanging a Confederate flag was not to sympathize or show support Neo-Nazi /KKK /White supremacist/pro-slavery movements. It was an exercise of freedom of speech, and reflects how unhappy I find it that there is a small minority in this country that wants to ignore history. To quote of the brightest minds we have had in our government, Condoleeza Rice said on May 8 of this year: “When you start wiping out your history — sanitizing your history — to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.”
If I wanted to hang a flag that symbolizes hatred and intolerance, I would have put up a flag of ISIS or “Black Lives Matter.” I don’t recall Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressing outrage over statues and historical symbls during the Civil Rights movement.

I succeeded in that I “offended” someone by legally displaying something on my home.  I find it sad that there is actually a person who has enough time on his/her hands to write to the editor.  Maybe that is time better spent volunteering — Person to Person, religious organizations, Meals on Wheels, the Darien Senior Center, etc. can all use help I am sure.

I say to that person, worry about what goes on in your own home.  If you don’t like it, don’t look at it.

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  • Gracie Fulljames

    To preserve history? Nonsense. Why does he/she have it to begin with? Free speech is one thing, but it does have provisions (such as not yelling fire in a crowded theater)…but this is just as bad, in my opinion. The flag does not belong in New England, for one thing as it is not any part of our history. It is hurtful to those whose ancestors fought to end slavery. It is hurtful to those whose ancestors WERE slaves. It will only incite anger and division.

    • Frank

      Yelling fire in a theater is in fact perfectly fine if 1, its in the script or 2, there is a fire so please stop with that tired line. Its not ok to yell fire in a theater because its against the rules of the proprietor to yell anything in a theater.

  • Chris Eisenberg

    “It was an exercise of freedom of speech, and reflects how unhappy I findn it that there is a small minority in this country that wants to ignore nhistory.”nnWhy doesn’t he just hang a swastika and be done with it? Also, someone might want to introduce him to this awesome new invention called books. They often have history in them.

  • Calanoma

    A free society can often have some rough edges. Snowflakes must have thin skin. There is nothing illegal about displaying a Confederate flag.

    • Fred

      Exactly!nnYour last sentence is right on point.

      • Larry

        Freedom of speech works both ways, you can’t just claim it, then try to silence others when they they try to exercise there right in rebuttal. You can say whatever you want with free speech, but it does not protect you from any consequences it may bring.nnI think the bigger problem with this is the guy displaying the flag conveyed his message in a very pour and not-well-thought-out way. I’m sure most reasonable people are also agenst white washing history of anything offensive like Slavery, The Holocaust, Jim Crow Laws, The Trail of Tears, ect, but just plopping up a flag does not convey that message well.n I personally think you have an obligation to make sure your message is conveyed in the best way possible, and if a lot of people complain because it was not the solution is not to just tell them to ‘look the other way’ or you can just be a Snowflake and fall into an echo chamber and complain how the other side is a dumb meanie.

        • Fred

          You are absolutely correct. Freedom of speech does work both ways. I happen to detest BLM. If I saw someone wearing their apparell, I’d keep walking.nnI’d never even dream of displaying a Rebel flag or anything that could cause a problem at my job; my personal views get checked at the door as well. I do my job and then I go home.nnNow, when I’m on my private property, I don’t owe anyone an explanation for anything. Those who seek one may get a hostile reaction and told the police will be on their way; depends on what kind of mood I’m in that day. Let’s say I actually choose to entertain them. My experience with the left is they get violent when you don’t agree with their agenda.nnThe only people I feel I owe my existence to are President Truman and the entire greatest generation. If those J A P S werent bombed, I wouldn’t be here today. nnJapan is one of our best friends now, that wasn’t the case in 1945.

          • Larry

            Lemme fix a quote “My experience with EXTREMISTS is they get violent when you don’t agree with their agenda.” From SJWs to the Alt-Right or whoever else.nnI just think, by poorly conveying your message you are just causing trouble with people who would otherwise agree with you, and that’s just unconstructive and adds to the problem. No one is willing to hear your side out if you act aggressively, it gets nothing done. nNo one ever had a change of heart of were brought to a place of understanding from someone shouting at them.nnAt the end of the day, is your objective to try to actually come to some conclusion and solve whatever problem is going on? The only way some solution will come is through civil understanding, sure some people are just not rational on both sides but I think you realy have to do your part to try to make sure things don’t just devolve into chaos like they have lately.

          • Fred

            You obviously have had different experiences with people than I. nnNo fixing of the quote necessary, it’s not broken. nnI don’t feel the need to justify myself to anyone. Just like if I see someone wearing a BLM shirt I’ll keep walking. I will actually appreciate the fact they’re wearing, it- now I know who I won’t associate with.

          • mungemach

            You don’t feel the need to justify, but you do feel the need to comment repeatedly, like a troll, as if you have something to prove. And you wave that Confederate flag like someone who has to over compensate for a pathetic endowment,

          • Fred

            I’ll keep commenting just because I feel like it. nnAnd it’s a bonus to get to see the left have a hissy fit and try to infringe on my right to do so.nn#Confederateflagsmatter

          • Fred

            Tell you what, I’ll take down my Confederate flag. I’m just going to add a few stipulations-nn1. The day I can walk through Hartford and Bridgeport and not get shot. nnn2. When all men pull up their pants and follow this- PANTS UP DON’T LOOT! nn3. As soon as I find Hoffa

        • Fred

          I’ve also worn t shirts honoring murdered police officers from around the country. I’ve received my share of dirty looks. nnI’m shocked no one has started a physical confrontation. That’s what cop haters do. nnWhen people pay for my clothes and after I find Hoffa, only then will I listen to them.

  • Stephen G Mistretta

    interesting that this man equates BLM with ISIS….yes of course he is a racist just won’t admit it

    • Frank

      BLM is in fact a racist organization but not on par with ISIS, that would be ANTIFA that is in line with ISIS.

      • Pro-Lif3

        BLM is about as racist as the Republican Party.

  • Art Mazeau

    Are you freaking people to stupid or too close minded to understand that you do not hold the key of power over the right of free speech? Or are you “Offended” that a person that you now consider crass and overbearing has violated the safe space known as “Darien”? Which ever it is, get over it, and get used to it because there are so many more than that one soul in Darien that feels as he does!

  • Randy

    If only the people of this town would get this upset over the actual violence being perpetrated by the likes of ANTIFA and BLM. THAT is what is unacceptable in a civil society.

    • Fred

      Best post of the day

    • Pro-Lif3

      It was a neo-Confederate that killed hat poor girl in Charlottesville and ran over 12 others.

      • Randy

        Yup, ANTIFA and BLM went down, started a fight, and finally got one crazy person to lash back, and it cost a woman her life. Nothing to be proud of.nnMeanwhile, San Jose, Chicago, Berkley, MSU, the G20, and the shooting of congressman Scalise. All premeditated acts of violence, and attempted murder.

  • Fred

    Excellent response by the homeowner. nnPrivate property is just that- private. nnThe last two sentences of his response were priceless.

  • Fred

    I would have added this:nn”It’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”nnRonald Reagan

  • A. Hult

    If it’s legal to hang a confederate flag and we don’t want to see one in our town, we need to go through the process of changing the laws. Yes, it takes a little more effort than a letter to the editor, but shaming someone just leads to violence (“backing one into a corner”) and brings attention to something that most of us would never have seen in the first place. Living by laws is what prevents violence/war.

  • Sonia

    Statues have nothing to do with history. Read a damn book if you want to see history preserved. If we were burning history books or ignoring the civil war and the events that led up to it then these people would have some solid arguments. But that’s not happening so they don’t. End of story. These are the snowflakes. Life is hard, the new world we live in is a global economy and it’s challenging but dreaming of yesteryear doesn’t make your life easier.

  • jonni2

    So, once we get rid of all the statues and symbols of the civil war, I guess there we be no more racism….lol!

    • Pro-Lif3

      Doubtful. I like seeing them removed just to see neo-confederate white supremacists whine like petulant babies. Makes my day!

  • John Glen

    Have walked by the home in question on multiple occasions, a small flag, it hung there for a very long time prior to feel good bandwagoners suddenly deciding that banning dissenting opinions was more important than the rest of the world’s problems.

    • Pro-Lif3

      Where in America has that flag of traitors been banned from private property?

      • John Glen

        Pressuring, black mailing and oppressing your literal neighbors amounts to just as much. Don’t act coy

  • Nancy

    Black Live Matter flag symbolizes hatred and intolerance?? You got that backward. And if MLK didn’t protest statues (and maybe he did that I am unaware of), he definitely had bigger fish to fry at the time, i.e. trying to make sure that African Americans could vote in their own country! We don’t forget history when we remove statues, we just aren’t glorifying regrettable pieces of our past.

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