What the Commission decision means
by BRUCE SEAMAN
We were all disappointed in the decision by the County Commission yesterday to approve the Historical Commission’s recommendation and simply move the flag display to a different location.
The Commission’s attitude was fully disclosed as they spent 20 minutes in discussion, the vast majority of which concerned details about the site to relocate the display at McPherson Government Complex, and which flag of the Confederacy should be flown. There was no real mention made of the the experience of the black community with this flag. I believe it was Chairman McClain who allowed that racist groups in the past had appropriated the flag, but that this wasn’t about them. Of course, that neglects the fact that it was flag of racism at its inception, and used continuously for racist purposes for the next 150 years to the present.
Indeed, the attitude of the Commission made it clear that there is only one history to be considered and it is white history. Despite hours of public testimony, black history was treated as if it didn’t exist, and if black folks had a problem with it, then they had the problem.
This reflects how public policy is made as well in matters of concern for the black community; it’s your problem, not mine. It reinforces the reality which exists in Marion County; the community is divided by race, and the community’s elected leadership (and many other leaders) see it as a black problem.
Our community remains divided, now even more deeply and clearly. With the County Commission’s endorsement of public racism, the entire community should be disgusted. Those who are not disgusted should be ashamed.
Bridges Project will be continuing, of course. The hard work that needs to be done has never been more evident. We expect to continue the flag campaign, but we will be using our upcoming meeting on Saturday at 10am at Ocala Police Dept.’s Community Room to discuss a variety of other projects, some of which were suspended while organizing and advancing the flag campaign.