Hello everyone! I'm glad to see there is still so much interest in this topic after my semi-retirement from it. I just wanted to briefly (as in, I intend to leave again afterwards, the text is quite long) make a few clarifications on some of my points so that they don't prove to be a distraction going forward.
First of all I would like to apologize to everyone who feels insulted, offended or otherwise has had their feelings hurt by me raising this issue or by any of my subsequent commentary. I hope we can all understand that when discussing sensitive issues like this, it's hard to do so without giving some offense, but (with the exception of my more confrontational opening post) I have done my best to carry on this discussion with respect and sensitivity. If I have failed to do so at any point the onus of that is rests entirely on me. Once this topic has run its course, I hope that we can all move on with no hard feelings on the matter. If you feel that it is too late for that, then I accept your frustrations and anger in their entirity and will not begrudge you for having those feelings.
Next I would like to clarify my stance on what should be done with these symbols. While I said that I personally would like to have the event changed and/or the symbols removed so that I can play the game without having to see them, I would not want the event changed and/or symbols removed unless there was a substantial segment of the community that supported such an alteration. To do so would be an act of idealogical and iconographic imperialism that would be a feat of great hypocricy, not to mention being in opposition to my personal values.
Part of the reason why I'm trying to put some distance between myself and this thread is that I feel that my objections to this event have dominated the conversation for too long and I would like to step aside to give others who share some of my sentiments a chance to make their own voices heard. My objective, since the reopening of this thread, has always been to inspire others to speak. If that doesn't happen, then I have clearly overestimated the reach of my message in this community and cannot in good conscience continue to bother all of you in the pursuit of my own comfort.
When I ask "could we not have done this differently" or some variation there of, it's not a rhetorical question, it's me trying to find viable alternatives to see if there are any accpetable compromises. Would a "Freedom Day," an Independence Day in all but name and specific imagery be acceptable? If not and it specificly had to be the actual Independence Day, would different symbols be accpetable?
Instead of the current US flag, would not the Betty Ross flag of the original thirteen colonies, an image more closely linked with the history of this holiday, suffice? Or that yellow flag with the snake? "Don't Tead On Me" is a message that resonates with the spirit of this celebration and is a more universally applicable rejection of oppression. The Flag of the Union from the Civil War period, though I suspect it would be more contraversial domesticly, represents an opposition to slavery which was lacking in the immediate aftermath of US independence and could be seen as completing the ideals associated with this holiday. Instead of Uncle Sam, could we not have had an attire inspired by the Minutemen or the Founding Fathers?
If there is truly no room for compromise and the event that we have now has to be presented exactly as is on this year and all others, could we not have an option to hide the lobby decorations (which I don't have a problem with, but am including here for completeness' sake) or the outfits and accessories without having to blacklist people?
I hope I can make it clear that I am not trying to force my will on anyone. I would simply like to enjoy this game with peace of mind. If that is impossible, I can just stop playing for the duration of this event, or longer, if I so choose, but I hope that you can come to see it as a reasonable course of action to voice my objections to the event and request (not demand) a change, even if you don't agree with my feelings.
With that, I return to my self-imposed exile to watch from afar as things develop here. Thank you once again everyone for participating in the discussion and hopefully reading my posts. Farewell!