Strike the Dixie Flag
Byline: The Register-Guard
Lane County Circuit Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley has approved a creative response to a nasty incident of racial intimidation that occurred last May in Springfield.
Instead of incarcerating Matthew Booster for chasing a 15-year-old mixed-race victim with a pickup truck, Rooke-Ley on Wednesday accepted an education-oriented plea agreement worked out between the 22-year-old Eugene man and the Lane County District Attorney's office.
It's a good resolution: Booster and society will be better served by time in a classroom, not a jail cell.
Booster's sentence includes three years of probation and a cultural awareness class. In addition, Booster must surrender to police the Dixie flag that flew from his truck as he and three juvenile accomplices pursued their victim.
Booster appeared contrite in the courtroom, but he evidently needs the cultural-awareness instruction he'll be getting. He told the judge he did not regard the flag as having anything to do with racism, but said instead that it expresses his "deep ties with a Southern pride lifestyle."
The flag that flew from Booster's truck was not - as many, probably including Booster, suppose - the flag of the Confederate States of America. It was the battle flag of the Army of Tennessee, the one with a red field and two crossing blue diagonals bearing 13 white stars.
The Confederacy actually had three flags during its brief existence, none of which would be widely recognized today. The Army of Tennessee's battle flag, which became the familiar but mistaken symbol of the Confederacy in later years, is properly called the "rebel" or "Dixie" flag.
A person with a real interest in the Confederacy or its cause in the Civil War might be expected to know that. …