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Tennessee mayor lowers town's American flag on day of Biden inauguration, sparks massive criticism. But he's sticking to his guns.


'I was raised that everyone had the right to say what they wanted to, and if someone disagreed with you, then that's the way it is'

Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Tennessee mayor lowered his town's American flag to half-staff in mourning for the country on the day of President Joe Biden's inauguration. He posted about lowering the flag on Facebook.

While many critics accused him of trying to incite anger with the post, the mayor insisted that his post had nothing to do with Biden's inauguration.

What are the details?

Bruceton Mayor Robert T. Keeton III announced Wednesday that the town is grieving for the nation for various reasons.

In the Facebook post, Keeton wrote, "The Town of Bruceton grieves for our Republic and our loss of freedoms. We mourn the victims of the Chinese plague and those that have suffered its depredations. We pray that God delivers and restores us and that we do not fall to the clutches of communism."

Keeton's Facebook post drew a plethora of attention, which forced him on Thursday to clarify the intent of the original posting, which remains active at the time of this reporting.

As highlighted by WSMV-TV, one commenter wrote, "This is one of the most unpatriotic things I have ever seen. As friends and neighbors die from COVID and our nation hurts, you use the town page to air your personal grievances? This is not the way to promote Bruceton as a nice place to live. Shame on you."

Another critic added, "This is a slap in the face of all of our military heroes and leaders who have sacrificed their lives for this country. That's why we lower the flag. Mayor, you're placing the importance of your own personal, childish pouting on the same level with the men and women who have died fighting for you. This is shameless. I'm embarrassed for my friends who live in Bruceton."

"This is a flagrant incitement of anger and disunity on a public platform," another person added. "The mayor is not The Town of Bruceton. Was this statement approved by the city council? It seems like it is pandering to the worst characteristics of human nature. I expect better of my elected representatives."

Keeton fires back

The Jackson Sun reported that Keeton, also a lawyer, said that the post was "just a commentary and prayer for our country."

"I'm an attorney, and I'm seeing our constitutional rights being trampled on virtually every day, and I'm concerned for our republic, even though I've lost people that I know to this Chinese virus," he explained.

The outlet added, "Keeton said he's concerned with what he's seeing in the country starting with social media platforms not allowing certain communication to remain on their sites. Twitter and Facebook recently banned former President Donald Trump from posting on their sites in the final two weeks of his presidency, and Apple and Google removed the social media platform Parler – which had become a site many conservatives were going to once they felt they were being censored on Facebook and Twitter – from being available to download and access through their platforms."

He proclaimed, "That's not right, and the government isn't doing anything about it. And I was raised that everyone had the right to say what they wanted to, and if someone disagreed with you, then that's the way it is."

Keeton added that the lowering of the flag had nothing to do with Biden's inauguration.

“If anyone thinks this was because of the inauguration happening today or anything else, it's not," Keeton insisted. “We had a man in his mid-60s who called up to City Hall from the nursing home that died yesterday from the virus. He was in the nursing home alone and he died alone, and my post was a reaction to that and everything that's happened because of it."

Bruceton had a population of 1,478 in the 2010 census, the Sun reported.

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