Someone sent me a link to yet another misinformed rant from a pro-racist, anti-Confederate heritage reactionary:
I decided that I would go ahead and write a response to the article, but found that after posting four equally misinformed responses from like-minded Tools that went along with the flawed and faulty premise of the article, the closed-minded coward apparently closed the comments section out of fear that he would be schooled by someone knowledgeable of the issue.
Well since it was his article, the author, one Mr. Paul F. Bradley, has every right to evoke censorship.
However, since this is my uncensored blog, I have every right to offer my personal response to the article, point by point.
Let's begin shall we?
Limit Public Use Of The Confederate Flag (Snort)
As the country has commemorated the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Confederate battle flag has been paraded at events across the country. (Actually there are many different Confederate battle flags -- though I presume Mr. Bradley refers to the Dixie Cross pattern itself rather than say the Missouri Battle Flag, or the Hardee Battle Flag -- oh and FYI that flag and others like it have been paraded at events across the country long before the sesquicentennial of the War Between The States.) In the commemorative context - at battle reenactments, museums, and cemeteries - it seemed appropriate. Beyond that, is there a more divisive and controversial symbol in America? (I can name several off the top of my head: The Obama symbol and other political symbols of candidates both Left and Right -- why campaigning politicians need their own symbols these days like sports logos is beyond me .)
I live in suburban America. (Really? So do I!) The neighborhoods and surrounding landscape are filled with picturesque woods, river vistas, and neatly trimmed houses with retail shopping at major road crossings. Old Glory (the real U.S flag) waves from nearly every other porch. (Old Glory flies from my porch too -- though it does have company. Also I don't dispute the fact that the US flag is Old Glory....but the terms US flag and American flag I don't really consider the same things.)
On a recent run, though, I stopped in my tracks. On one street I counted four Rebel battle flags (two bumper stickers, one hanging in the back window of a pickup truck, and one that snapped menacingly in the late winter winds). (Wow and he saw all of this at once? He must have eagle eyes this one.) This is just outside Philadelphia. (Go Eagles!)
Visually, the Rebel battle flag is captivating. (Captivating, yet menacing according to the schizophrenic mind of the writer.) With its red field, blue stripes, and white stars, it was a 19th-century marketing gem. Red symbolizes power and aggression and psychologically strikes fear, and no doubt that was the hope as this banner was carried into battle by Robert E. Lee's troops. (Not just General Lee's troops. By 1864 the Confederate Army of Tennessee had its own version of the Dixie Cross battle flag.)
To some, this flag is a symbol of Southern heritage. It represents the pride and courage of the Southern soldiers who challenged perceived federal tyranny during the War Between the States. (That and much more: a symbol of a living Southern cultural identity and pride, as well as a memorial symbol of the Southern dead from the War.)
But others are hoisting the flag as the symbol for their à-la-carte (humm, what is on the menu? LOL!) application of federal law. As a counterargument, one only needs to review the rationales that accompanied the states' ordinances of secession and the Confederate Constitution: Slavery trumped states' rights as the cause for the war. (To give the writer credit, at least he didn't bore us all with the litany of cut-and-paste history that usually accompanies articles like this one.)
For countless others, the flag is a symbol of oppression that was resurrected in the decades after it was furled at Appomattox Courthouse. Hate groups, segregationists, and opponents of the civil rights movement, including certain Southern states, appropriated the flag and used it to intimidate. (Humm, yeah, look at how those bigots misused and misappropriated an honorable American symbol to promote their sick, twisted ideology. I can especially see the pain and hurt in that last photo.)
|Opponents of Civil Rights....check.|
|Misuse by Hate Groups....Double Check.|
Some of these states, including Georgia, eventually yielded to public pressure and removed the battle flag from their state banners. (If by "public pressure" Mr. Bradley actually means: removed because of a State Legislature that took matters into their own hands at the complaints of angry "civil rights" groups promoting a pro-racist ideology regarding that flag over the objections of the vast majority of voters in their own districts, then the statement would probably be correct.) Mississippi has not. (Most likely because they allowed their citizens to vote on the matter, and the result was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping it across ethnic lines, but that's a dirty little secret that one.) South Carolina no longer flies the flag from atop its Statehouse but still has it on the grounds.
People have a First Amendment right to fly the flag, (They do indeed.) but common sense and compassion for the pain it causes should dictate otherwise. (And how exactly does indulging ignorance in favor of a wrong-thinking view of that flag promoted by racial bigots apply as "compassion" in any common sense application of logic? Strangely I never get a realistic response for that question, though I ask it time and time again. Certainly taking the time to educate, to teach the full history of that flag is better in the long run than simply handing it over to those who would continue to misuse it without a fight. That is what a REAL educator would do.) As Indiana Jones once said about another article of antiquity, "It belongs in a museum." (And recall the response: "So do you." That and the fact the original battle flags already are in museums just makes people who throw this argument around look even more foolish than they already seem to most learned people.)
Display the flag in museums with uniforms, weaponry, and other period artifacts. Unfurl it at reenactments. But eliminate it from official use. (I was unaware the bumper stickers, porches, and front bumper tags on cars constitutes "official use" in any way. Humm.)
I hope that by the bicentennial of the Civil War, the Rebel battle flag will be a long-tucked-away vestige of our history, an artifact used as a teaching tool. (Ah mercifully this train wreck is over!)
Now here is where those who honor that flag see a much different future than this misinformed fellow from Philly.
After close to 25 years of attacking that flag, the Opposition has failed to completely do away with its public display. Indeed, now it seems as if the tide of history is turning against them. In fifty years, it is my hope (and that of many other defenders of Confederate heritage and Southern identity) that noble banner of the American Southland will be feared by nobody and accepted fully as the cultural symbol that is has become to a great many people, and not just in the American South.
It is my hope that by the bicentennial of the War Between The States, the Dixie Cross banner will be on display prominently and proudly by Southerners of all races and faiths who honor it properly. It is my further hope that in fifty years hence the misuse of it by racist bigots (if any still exist then, and sadly I fear given human nature they might) will be extinct, or otherwise no longer taken seriously by anyone, thanks in no small part to the efforts of noble Southern heritage defenders.
Regardless if you believe that or not, there is one truth that is certain, the public display of that flag today is not going anywhere anytime soon. Those who honor that flag rightly as a symbol of identity and heritage will continue to move forward. There will continue to be public displays of that flag in various contexts in the decades to come, and by an increasing diverse group of Southern-born Americans and Confederate descendants alike.
That is the reality.
I have two bumper stickers. One with a Dixie Cross banner that reads: I am A Proud Descendant Of A Brave Confederate Soldier. The other reads: Coexist.
I would suggest - using a little Southern Fried Common Sense - that the best thing to do would be for those who disapprove of that flag's display to accept that fact and find some way to come to mutually acceptable terms with those who honor that flag for all the right reasons, and ultimately find proper common sense solutions where everyone can coexist and nobody has to be offended, or forced to feel guilty about who they are as a people.