There are a lot of hot button issues in the news these days. Gay marriage, transgenderism, the Greek debt crisis, Donald Trump, and of course the confederate flag. After Dylann Roof killed nine African Americans at a church in Charleston, South Caroline in a tragic attempt to start a race war, the flag became viewed as a symbol of hatred. While many claimed “heritage, not hate,” it’s since been removed from the South Carolina statehouse and many online retailers, and public opinion has shifted against the flag. Since then, many have weighed in on it, including Randy Blythe, Corey Taylor, and former Pantera frontman Philip Anselmo. Anselmo’s answer in particular was of interest, given that Pantera is still selling merch with the flag on it.
His former Pantera bandmate Vinnie Paul, now on the Mayhem Fest with HELLYEAH, was also asked about the flag. Talking to Sticks for Stones, the drummer called it a “knee jerk reaction,” speaking more about peoples’ rights to display the flag and not what it means to a lot of people:
All I’m going to say is it’s a big knee jerk reaction to something that happened. It’s unfortunate that people are like that, they want to point a finger at something you know. Honestly, this country was built on freedom of speech and freedom of expression and when you can no longer do that, then it is no longer based on that you know. It’s a touchy thing you know and that’s really all I’m going to say about it. I just think that it doesn’t follow what the country was built on/what it was based on. To me that blows, but that’s how it is man.
Vinnie’s right, to a degree, and certainly entitled to his opinion. But for him not to address the reason why people are calling for the flag to be banned and taken down is ignoring a fundamental part of the conversation. If he was to address the “something that happened,” and realize that public opinion isn’t necessarily on his side, at least right now, we’d be more inclined to agree with him. That being said, it’s ridiculous that TV Land is pulling Dukes of Hazzard reruns because of the General Lee. But what’s more ridiculous is that TV Land was still running Dukes of Hazzard.