[Vision2020] The other side of tolerance
moscowcares at moscow.com
Mon Jun 6 02:59:10 PDT 2016
Courtesy of the opinion section of today's (June 6, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
The other side of tolerance
MHS senior speaks out about his rebel-flagged Datsun
Rex Sheets expected some questions when he took his 77 Datsun 620 flatbed pickup to Moscow High School's "Show and Shine" car show and barbecue May 12.
"I was prepared to answer them," he said.
The 18-year-old and some friends had recently completed painting the truck's bed with what is known as the Rebel Flag - the battle flag of Northern Virginia's army during the Civil War - in protest to a letter sent to school districts across the country by the Obama Administration directing them to allow students to use restrooms that reflect their gender identity.
According to the letter, schools that did not obey risked lawsuits and the loss of federal funding.
"That was overstepping his boundaries. It should be up to the states to decide that. That should have been a decision left on a ballot," Sheets said. "I didn't paint it because I hate people and don't have Southern heritage."
What he did not expect was the well-hidden uproar that followed.
expected questions," he said. "I didn't think everybody would be like, 'Rex is a racist piece of poop.' "
Sheets said he was surprised people would think that of him, as he has spent a good deal of time with different races, both at school and at home, where he and his family raise animals for sale.
Sheets said aside from MHS Principal Erik Perryman asking him to move his truck to the back of the lot, he didn't hear anything else about the painting on his truck bed.
"No one said a word to me," Sheets said. "I didn't even hear that teachers were talking about it until the end of the day when my friends came up to me and were like, 'Rex I had to defend you all day, every class, every teacher.' "
The next school day, Sheets said he was ready to defend himself.
"After I heard everybody was talking about it, I was ready for the next day when I had government. I was ready to defend it, but the teacher didn't really give us a chance to talk about it," he said.
Sheets said teachers had made the decision to move past it.
"People just put it down as hate," Sheets said.
Sheets said if he was given a chance to explain, he would have told listeners the flag doesn't mean hatred or racism to him.
"The rebel flag means smaller federal government with more power to the states and people," he said. "A lot of people think the civil war was fought over slavery, but it was actually fought over tariffs that really caused hardships in the South. The South was agricultural, and the North was industrial. The South was selling overseas, and the North wasn't. They put into place a 48 percent tariff, and that was when the Civil War started. There was a little bit more than racism going on there."
Sheets said he was surprised not to get the same consideration as others for his belief in small government.
"All of these people preaching understanding a little bit of hypocrisy right there," he said. "I don't think I lack empathy. Empathy is seeing from someone else's pair of shoes. Mine are 10 and a half if you want to give them a try."
News for little Rex Sheets: The U.S. Civil War, the darkest portion of our history, was fought over slavery, NOT global marketing.
The major instigating factor that contributed to the birth of our Civil War was the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (whether or not to admit Missouri into the Union as a free-state or slave state).
If little Rex truly wanted to depict a flag symbolizing his desire for "smaller federal government with more power to the states and people" on his vehicle, why didn't he opt for . . . a more appropriate . . . more popular . . . more acceptable symbol. Like this one . . .
Or would that have been asking too much understanding from little Rex's loafers?
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
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