You can find the Confederate flag and references to the Confederate army all over the American south. The stars and bars can be found on state flags and in the names of high school and college athletic teams. Many in the South will tell you that it is not a symbol of hate, but an nod to history.
The flag, however, has been co-opted by white supremacist groups all over the country. Even in Northern states, you can find the symbol at protests, marches and Donald Trump rallies.
It just became a lot harder to fly the flag, though, in the state of New York. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill banning the sale or display of the flag on state property.
The governor said in a statement, “This country faces a pervasive, growing attitude of intolerance and hate — what I have referred to in the body politic as an American cancer.”
Cuomo continued, “By limiting the display and sale of the Confederate flag, Nazi swastika and other symbols of hatred from being displayed or sold on state property, including the state fairgrounds, this bill will help safeguard New Yorkers from the fear-instilling effects of these abhorrent symbols.”
There is, of course, push back on the law. Attorney Floyd Abrams argues, “The First Amendment generally protects the expression of even hateful speech, and a statute banning the sale of materials expressing those views on state-owned land is highly likely to be held unconstitutional.”
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.