Car controversy on display in Watson
WATSON - What has become a Livingston Parish Independence Day tradition has a flare of controversy this year.
As each of the following years, memorabilia from the 1980's show "The Dukes of Hazzard" will be on display, including replicas of cars from the show. And it is the cars that are drawing added attention this year since the event happens as the country debates the Confederate Flag.
The show's iconic "General Lee" has the flag painted on the top of its roof.
The owner of one car on display this weekend said the conversation about the symbol will not force him to repaint his car. Paul Anderson said the flag on his car's roof does not symbolizes hatred and added he is tired of the fight all together.
"I got plenty of black friends I cherish very well. I just don't see it that way," Anderson said. "The flag issue is so yesterday's news."
The discussion started when Dylann Roof, 21, killed nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Since then, politicians and civil rights activists have been asking for the flag to be removed from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol and other public places in other states. Stores, including Walmart, pulled merchandise with the symbol from its shelves. Among the items were General Lee toy cars.
TV Land also announced it is pulling the scheduled reruns of "The Dukes of Hazzard" because of the car.
Anderson blames the people using the flag to inflict pain onto other people.
"There are some individuals out there that use it as that. Like that boy posing in front of the confederate flag that ended up doing that terrible thing at that church," Anderson said. "I don't hate anybody. Jesus Christ taught us to love everybody, for whatever color they are for whatever race, you're supposed to love."
Church leaders of the congregation targeted by Roof have asked for Confederate Flags to be removed across the country. Also this week, NASCAR asked its fans to refrain from displaying the flag at its events.
Organizers of the show in Livingston Parish said they have not heard of any threats to protest the celebration.
Thursday, Bubba Watson, the third-ranked golfer in the world and owner of one of the official General Lee cars from the show, tweeted his plans to paint over the Confederate Flag on his car.