ELGIN, Ill. – An Illinois school board member is defending comments she make on social media describing the American flag as “nothing more than toilet paper” and supporting NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.
School District U46 board member Traci O’Neal Ellis took to Facebook recently to denounce the American flag as “nothing more than toilet paper” in response to President Donald Trump’s call for NFL teams to fire players who disrespect the country by taking a knee during the national anthem, the Elgin Courier-News reports.
“I’m proud to stand with the sons of bitches on the field today. And I promise you I would #TakeAKnee at school board meetings if my doing so would not be disruptive to KIDS and a distraction to the work we need to do for THEM,” Ellis wrote, according to Illinois Family.
“But (Trump’s) remarks are nothing more than continued white nationalism at its finest,” she wrote. “That flag means nothing more than toilet paper to me.”
Ellis’ comments were forwarded by a concerned citizen to the only conservative member of the school board, Jeanette Ward, who re-posted the message with a few thoughts of her own.
“The was sent to me by a very concerned constituent,” Ward wrote. “A U-46 BOE colleague of mine has stated that our country’s flag means ‘nothing more than toilet paper’. I disagree in the strongest possible terms. Many patriotic Americans have shed their blood to defend the ideas and ideals America represents.
“To call it ‘nothing more than toilet paper’ is absolutely despicable and disgusting,” she wrote.
Ward reiterated her disgust to the Courier-News.
“I was taken aback that she would say that, even though it is consistent with things she’s said in the past,” Ward told the news site. “To say it’s nothing more than toilet paper, I’m appalled.”
But instead of simply apologizing for the crude comments, Ellis doubled down, attacked Ward, and alleged her comments have nothing to do with respect for military veterans, many of whom lost their lives for her freedom.
Ellis contends her family history is rife with examples of racism. And though she’s an attorney and sitting school board member, she alleges there’s no “justice and liberty” for black Americans.
“The flag and the anthem are symbols in this country of freedom and ‘justice and liberty’ for all,” Ellis posted to Facebook. “Yet that is a blatant lie for black folks.”
Ellis contends she has “many family members and friends who now serve or have served in the United States military, and they have my deepest respect.
“But let’s be clear,” she wrote, “I can love and respect them without loving a false symbol of hope.”
Ellis then went on to attack Ward personally, as well as anyone else who disagrees with her.
“Jeanette Ward is the most absurd hypocrite I have ever had the personal misfortune to know and have to yield any of my personal time to. She dares to claim free speech to castigate U-46 kids and deny the humanity of our LFBTQIA students. She constantly WHINES about lack of tolerance to diversity of thought and CRIES like a 2 year old that her freedom of speech is being impinged on when anyone dares to disagree with her.
“Yet she has the unmitigated gall to try to take me to task when I express MY OPINION on the flag on my personal Facebook page,” she continued. “Hey Jeanette (and anybody else offended by what I said), that’s not how free speech and liberty and the flag you love so much works.”
She wasn’t done. Ellis’ 842-word screed goes on to make the odd claim that the rights and freedoms enjoyed by white Americans don’t extend to her because she’s a black woman, despite the fact that her Facebook posts themselves proves otherwise.
“Finally, the fact that so many of you are coming UNHINGED over my post actually proves my point,” Ellis continued. “The freedoms you enjoy and the flag you profess to love so much do not extend to me as a black woman. They are not my birthright. Yet I demand them anyway, and that demand includes the right not to feel patriotism towards a piece of cloth and a pledge of allegiance to a country that does not love me back. Forced allegiance is not patriotism. It is fascism. And I will not bow to that.”
Ward told the Courier-News she expects many folks in the community will attend the next school board meeting to confront Ellis about her hatred for America, but pointed out that the best opportunity to remove her influence in the district will come in 2019.
“The remedy for that is elections,” Ward said. “If people are not happy about this, the remedy is the elections in 2019, if she chooses to run again.”