If you asked us what one thing we’d most like to see in a small-town Fourth of July parade in the West, we would have said, maybe some trick riders or a another marching band. Never would we have chosen a Confederate float.
What we wish most of all is that there was no Confederate float in Bayfield’s parade this year, but that is on a par with wishing that frogs had wings, if only to keep them from bumping their posteriors every time they jumped.
Yet there was a Confederate flag float, like a skunk at a picnic.
How rugged. How individualistic. How limp.
We sympathize with Bayfield residents such as Robin Goldman, who told the Herald she was appalled by it. That is the right response.
But is tolerating this flag, which in 2019 symbolizes so much wickedness, part of the price Goldman must pay for living in a free country with a First Amendment, even in her own hometown?
Unfortunately, it is.
Part of us wants to say Bayfield these days is too idyllic for this provocation, with neighbors baldly insulting neighbors. And America is too big for it.
Wallace Stegner said you cannot be pessimistic about the West. “It is the native home of hope.” When it learns that cooperation, not individualism, is what protects it, “then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery.”
We suppose the shorter version of this is, be nicer to one another. Be considerate. Be kind.
And ditch the Confederate flag.