GREENEVILLE (WJHL) – Monday night the Greene County Commission will considering a resolution to display the Confederate flag along with the American flag at the courthouse as a “historic exhibit”.
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Commissioner James Randolph is the one bringing the resolution before his fellow commissioners.
Just one day before the vote, WJHL found Greene County resident, Donnie Barnett, hard at work organizing a protest against this resolution.
When we met with Barnett he told us he is just a regular guy, who isn’t really used to the spotlight, but recently Barnett’s beliefs about his southern heritage have taken center stage.
“I am from the south, I am a proud southerner,” said Barnett.
Barnett says dozens are expected to join him in a protest against commissioner Randolph’s proposal to fly the confederate flag at the courthouse.
“Not our flag here, just saying it does not represent the citizens of Greene County,” said Barnett.
The resolution, obtained by News Channel 11, states:
“Greene County Commission and the citizens they represent are proud to be Americans, but they are also proud to be Tennesseans and whereas, Greene County is conscious of its Heritage and loyalties; one that transcends the usual ties of national patriotism and state pride. Our citizens retain habits that are strong and memories that are long. Our region and its citizens have been powerfully shaped by its history and are determined to pass that history on to future generations…..and where as, the Confederate flag represents state rights, the south, it represents Dixie land, our culture, and our heritage and should be proudly displayed by our County.”
WJHL spoke to Randolph over the phone last week he says he wants to fly the flag for reasons that are purely historical.
“It has nothing to do with race or anything, its part of American history. Thousands of Confederate soldiers died during the war,” said Randolph.
Barnett told us he disagrees. He says it is one thing to fly the flag on private property, but he doesn’t like the idea of it flying at the county courthouse.
“That means that I stand for something that flag stands for, and you know I don’t stand for that flag,” said Barnett.
In downtown Greeneville, WJHL found people who agreed with Randolph.
“I think its great, it shows a lot of respect,” said Louise Van Hoose.
WJHL also found people who agreed with Barnett.
“We had a war about this, why do we need another one? Do we need another one?” said Janet Lemos.
“I think they should keep it neutral, that they shouldn’t force their flags on everybody,” said Angela Daniels Taylor.
Commissioner Randolph says it doesn’t matter whether people agree with what he thinks.
“If people have a problem with it, its their problem, like I said its just a part of history,” said Randolph.
Barnett says he will stand firm in his beliefs and protest Monday night, making sure his message is heard.
“As good southerners we should try to distance ourselves from that flag, rather than embrace it,” said Barnett.
Commissioners will take this to a vote at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night.