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I love history-all of it. 

I'm proud of Texas Confederate heritage and I'm proud that Texas is where the Juneteenth holiday (19 June 1865 was the date Texas slaves were actually freed) originated. As a member of the Texas Senate, I was the sponsor of legislation establishing the Juneteenth Commission for the purpose of placing a monument on the Texas capitol grounds
On Monday the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments on whether  the State of Texas should issue specialty license plates bearing a Confederate Battle flag. The liberty of all Americans is in the balance.
 In 2010, as Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, I sponsored before the Texas Division of Motor Vehicles two specialty plates. One was to honor Buffalo Soldiers  and one was for the Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). I have also sponsored plates for the Texas Daughters of the American Revolution.  I only had one denied, and that was the SCV plate, which was denied  by the Texas DMV Board after a raucous anti Confederate "hatefest"hearing.   The Buffalo Soldier plate was approved.
 It is ironic that approval was granted for the Buffalo soldiers service in a genocidal war against an entire race of people, the American Plains Indians, resulting in their enslavement on reservations. Why is the Buffalo soldier's legacy less controversial than what the politically correct crowd think about Confederate symbolism? One of the reasons that descendants of Native Americans don't raise much objection is that there just aren't very many of them. In other words, our genocidal war was extremely effective! There is no doubt that the Buffalo Soldiers served honorably, and are deserving of honor and recognition. The problem arises when we view their actions (or the actions of Confederate soldiers) through the "enlightened" or "politically correct" (pick one) lens of 21st century America!
Therein lies one of the two salient issues in this debate. Is it right to do a retrospective review using todays standards of all historical characters that have been heretofore revered and honored, and if so, how many would fall woefully short?
Today, Lincoln the white supremacist (read the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 and the amendment Lincoln supported in 1861 to enshrine slavery forever into the US Constitution) is everywhere praised, while Lee the Confederate (who wrote his wife in 1856: "slavery is a moral and political evil") is reviled as a "traitor" in many quarters. A Lincoln specialty plate would sail through approval, while Lee's would be "disapproved" as "offensive."
Finally if someone claims they will be "offended," is that sufficient reason to restrict free speech?  Offended? Bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature to allow those who have a concealed handgun license to carry openly and one of the major objections comes from those who  are offended by the mere sight of a firearm. Is there a constitutional right to go through life unoffended? In my view we have a constitutional right TO be offended because without that freedom the 1st amendment guarantee of free expression is gutted. 
 What does "offend" me is that if the State of Texas gets it way a little more freedom will die that cannot be restored to we the people. A little more freedom, whether you love or hate the Confederate flag will be lost to us ALL!
Jerry Patterson in the immediate past Texas General Land Office Commissioner, a former Texas State Senator, member of SCV, Marine Vietnam vet, retired LtCol USMCR.

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