All of God’s children have the right to freedom from fear and intimidation

To the Editor:

The position of the Rensselaerville Town Board regarding the acquiescence to the resident regarding the display of the Confederate flag is troubling at best.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is a Black professor at Princeton University. He has written a book called “Begin Again,”” which highlights his own experiences as well as those of James Baldwin. The subtitle is James Baldwin’s “America and Its Urgent Lessons For Our Own.”

Mr. Glaude traces the civil rights movement from the Civil War, through Reconstruction, the Jim Crow laws, as well as the Civil Rights movements in the 1960s through ’80s. In each stage, the Black community has had to “begin again” to build and maintain gains often at the loss of their own lives or existence. You might ask: What this has to do with Rensselaerville?

The discussion over the presentation of the Confederate flag shifted into a discussion of the First Amendment. Let’s be clear, the Confederate flag represents a tribute to racism featuring lynchings, rapes, imprisonments, economic disenfranchisement, placement of racist statuary to traitors, as well as the maintenance of a caste system not only in the South but here in the North. 

Ms. [April] Roggio’s request for the town board to take some kind of action is appropriate. The Confederate flag represents racism as well as a traitorous action in the 1860s that cost 600,000 lives and untold amounts of physical misery. 

Mr. [Jason] Rauf, a board member, indicated in the Altamont Enterprise article that he is not a racist but he knows of some “very good” people who fly these flags. Sorry, Mr.  Rauf. These are not very good people.

You sound like [Donald] Trump at Charlottesville when he indicated that there were “very good people on both sides.” Sorry, that dog simply doesn’t hunt.

Mr. [Supervisor John] Dolce and Mr. [Councilman Anthony] Guadagno are indicated as saying that it is within a person’s right to fly this flag. Then we must conclude that it must be also within a person’s right to fly a Nazi swastika or hang a noose with a Jim Crow character dangling. 

Marion Cooke, another board member, condemned Ms. Roggio for linking the Confederate flag and politics. We disagree with this position of Ms. Cooke. The Confederate flag has always been a representation of “white power.” 

The Rensselaerville Town Board needs to take the lead in minimizing the Confederate flag presence as Ms. Roggio suggested. Ms. Roggio indicated quite appropriately that the town board is there to lead and not just sign checks. 

Why not propose to Mr. [Lane] Stannard that he hang his banner on the back side of the residence in a less public location. That way he can enjoy it and others would not be disturbed by its presence. It is time for the leaders of Rensselaerville to “Begin Again” and take the lead, as should communities all over this county, to affirm that all of God’s children have the right to have freedoms from fear and intimidation.

The flag in question needs to be removed from its current public position and relocated to a far less visible setting.

John B. Haluska

Sherry D. Haluska


More Letters to the Editor

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.