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Vices & Virtues – About those flags in the old Baggett Building…


Mankind has exercised the freedom to speak its own point of view long before it was defined as a “right”. Against such things there should be no hindrance nor threat, but an understanding that equal and unalienable responses from people like me should follow—who also have the freedom to express opinions.

Chances are, if you missed the huge 3×5 ft. Confederate battle flags and other supremacist propaganda pieces in the window of the old Baggett electric building, then you’ve probably not been through town in a while, or you’re simply choosing not to see it. Last time I made a fuss about hate speech and “rebel flags” being flown on display here, I heard more than the expected recommendation from folks to just “look the other way,” or just try not to cause a fuss. It seems a lot of people were indeed embarrassed that such ignorance was being associated with what’s been called “Mayberry”, but not to the extent that something should be done to diminish its presence, just as long as we don’t mention it on Facebook.

I’ve been led to believe that the person responsible for the Baggett flags was also behind the ones on the Bypass. Despite the timing and location of the displays, the message is still the same. Problem is—for anyone who is offended by those flags or any of the hateful, if not unintelligible scribblings being plastered behind a window of what was once a respectable business— it’s all protected by our Constitutional rights to freedom of speech, even moreso when it’s all posted on private property.

The man who’s so determined to exercise his right to be an ass must also be determined to purchase a new, very large pane of glass once somebody tosses a brick through it. I know of fewer outcomes that his passionate “opinions” will lead to—certainly not a revolution in Camden, at least not the one that he is after.

Perhaps he wants us to applaud him for making such a bold statement, as if his right to be a racist is something that should be showcased and supported. People like this all the time believe their freedom to be racist is at stake, as if somebody could take that away from you. They can’t. If you choose to keep it, thats the one thing everyone will remember about you long after you’re dead and gone.

Seems like a lot of trouble to me. Surely there are more heroic, if not productive things you could be known for. Most people break their backs at a respectable occupation, or devote their time to a worthy cause, or stand up for things that are good for humanity. Not this guy; he’s different, but in what ways we still don’t know. There’s nothing very revolutionary or unique about his stance, it’s a bit antiquated, if you ask me. As for the building itself, there are no signs that our most famous racist intends to do anything productive with it, other than use it as a means to spread hate behind a glass window, in the heart of downtown Camden, just like a coward.

So far, nobody in town seems to know anything about him, just that he’s “not from here.” That may be true, but the messages he’s been posting downtown and along our bypass speak volumes about who and what Camden truly is to any passerbys who may not know any different. We have people coming here to enjoy our restaurants and shops on a daily basis who come from different parts of the state. Some of them have no ties here at all and nothing to judge the caliber of people who reside here, other than what’s been posted on stark displays in its most populated areas. Such a thing ought to be enough to make anyone thinking about moving here, to look elsewhere, someplace where the town doesn’t tolerate the eye-sores.

But again, it’s all protected by the constitution. Large cities and shop-owners within them have to put up with the crazies that live on their blocks, who also make signs, and stink up the place. But seldom are large cities held solely responsible for the mess that it’s citizens put out there; small towns are different. Something about this propaganda being staged alongside all the hard work that’s been done to improve the place doesn’t sit right with me. We’re too small an area to have THAT as something that’s just tolerated—especially in this day and age for our Country.

I hope that whatever this man’s message is, that it runs its course and serves its purpose. Maybe then, it could just as cowardly duck back into a dark corner somewhere. Or at least put itself into conversation with those who could give him a direct response; it may not be the message he’s looking for but I guarantee you it will be just as passionate.

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