DAILYKENN.com -- He wants to start a "discussion".
(Ever notice the media refers to leftist haters and agitators as "activists"? But conservatives are referred to as "extremists".)
From al.com ▼
Taking his combined Nazi-Confederate flag burning demonstration to NASCAR country, Pennsylvania activist Gene Stilp continued his push for awareness by burning the two symbols, which he says represent similar ideals.
"I think we made our point in very good fashion," Stilp said of his recent demonstration outside of the Dover International Speedway in Delaware, site of the NASCAR XFINITY Series "Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200."
Declaring that his job is to educate people about correlation between the hatred, racism and bigotry the Nazi and Confederate flags represent, Stilp said he has received a lot of encouragement from his supporters. He added that he has influenced a few people about the controversial Confederate flag's symbolism since starting his cause.
Stilp previously burned another of the makeshift flags Sept. 22 at the Columbia County Courthouse in Bloomsburg. His most recent efforts at a NASCAR event garnered attention from ESPN and USA Today.
NASCAR fans typically express conservative viewpoints and the sports association has had a sordid history with the Confederate flag. In 2015, officials to asked fans not to display the symbol at NASCAR races, though there is no ban on the flag.
At one point during the demonstration, Dover police approached Stilp to inform him that he didn't have a permit to burn anything. Rather than stop the protest, police provided Stilp with the necessary paperwork, something Charles Facka, an organizer with Stilp, caught on camera.
"They watched our backs," Facka said, noting that he was moved by how police and NASCAR officials helped ensure things ran smoothly. "They said, 'We're here to protect your First Amendment rights.' That made me proud as an American."
After burning the flag, Stilp kneeled to show solidarity with NFL players. Reflecting back on his own demonstration and the bigger political discussion, Stilp said he hopes the conversation moves away from the "unfortunate turn" it has taken focusing on the national anthem and U.S. flag. He pointed to the original ideas Colin Kaepernick sat and kneeled for in protest, while saying he still sees police brutality and other issues of race that need to be addressed.
Stilp noted that he plans to burn yet another homemade Nazi-Confederate flag at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama this weekend, and will continue demonstrations at county courthouses in Pennsylvania. He said he's never been to Alabama, but is told the reception will be different than what was received in Dover. Still, Stilp says he is going with an open mind and hopes to influence some change in the South.
"I wanted to open up the discussion up to broader discussion," Stilp said. "I think at this point I'm doing that. I think we'll have to wait and see exactly what the outcome is going to be but we're on the right track."
Police help activist burning Nazi-Confederate flag at NASCAR race with permit
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