Lexington, Virginia Cuts Symbolic Ties with Confederacy

There are other ways to show state pride and heritage.

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Last week, I suggested that Gov. Rick Perry's politics incline favorably toward the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

This week brings interesting news on a related front: Lexington, Va.—home of Virginia Military Institute as well as Washington and Lee University—will no longer fly the Stars 'n' Bars on city-owned flagpoles.

Some Virginians, of course, are livid. [Read: Why Romney Could Still Win in the Conservative South]

The Associated Press reports:

Before the rally, ordinance opponents rallied in the city park, then marched to the hearing under a parade of Confederate flags.

"I am a firm believer in the freedom to express our individual rights, which include flying the flag that we decide to fly," said Philip Way, a Civil War re-enactor dressed in a Confederate wool uniform despite the summer temperatures. "That's freedom to me."

Mimi Knight, watching from a wrought iron fence as the flags passed, said she thought the city ordinance seemed too restrictive ...

"These are the things that make Lexington what it is," said Knight, who didn't participate in the rally. "The Confederate flag is part of our heritage."

Granted, I'm not a native Southerner. Still, I don't get this. Robert E. Lee didn't choose slavery over the Union, we're frequently told by sympathizers; he chose Virginia over the Union. Okay, fine. Taking pride in a state as lovely and rich in history as Virginia is a good and defensible thing. [Vote: Has Martin Luther King's Dream Been Realized?]

But Lexington's new ordinance specifically allows the state flag of Virginia to fly alongside the U.S. flag. If it's truly about "heritage, not hate," why isn't that enough?

What need does Virginia have for Dixie?