ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - While the American flag will be a common site this weekend, the Confederate Battle Flag is part of a growing debate. Is it a sign of heritage, or hate? From TV shows to monuments, here's a look at the latest controversies developing this week:
TV Land has pulled all 'Dukes of Hazard' reruns. The network did not confirm that it pulled the show because of the 1969 dodge charger called the 'General Lee,' -- that car, as you may remember, features the confederate flag on its roof. Golfer Bubba Watson now owns that car. He says he's painting an American flag over the confederate symbol.
In Mississippi the state flag is taking a hit. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is pressuring the Mississippi governor to remove the confederate flag battle emblem from the flag. The SCLC's newest leader says since Alabama has removed the flags from its capitol, Mississippi could make a similar public display.
And speaking of Alabama -- Birmingham officials have voted in favor of removing a confederate monument. It honors confederate soldiers and sailors. City officials also want current chapters of the Daughters of the Confederacy to shoulder the cost of its removal. The Daughters of the Confederacy put it up in 1905. If they can't cover the cost, taxpayers will have to.
Here at WHNT News 19, we trust, respect and value the candor and objectivity of our political analyst, Jess Brown of Athens State University. For years, he's helped walked us through the puzzling and enraging local political process. He's been with us for years through debates, disappointments and dramatic political maneuvers.
But recently we learned something new about our good friend Jess Brown. He has 8 either great-great or great-great-great grandfathers who wore the Confederate gray -- two of whom were killed in that 'non-civil' civil war. Despite that lineage, Brown says he understands the ever-evolving flag debate.
"But I do not understand the madness," Brown says. "Somebody told me today that there is some group out there now that wants to put pressure on the movie networks and the movie theaters to no longer air 'Gone With The Wind,' he scoffed.
Fiddledeedee! Now that one really got my attention. You mean the work widely heralded as one of the greatest accomplishments in modern American film is now coming under fire, too?
Brown poses the question, 'When does all this flag madness stop?'
"If you move Robert E. Lee's statue from a publicly owned piece of ground to a privately owned piece of ground, I don't see how in any way that appreciably increases or decreases the likelihood that a lunatic with a gun will shoot people with a racial motivation."
Sounds like one of the most reasonable arguments we've heard yet.