After hours of filibuster by amendments , the South Carolina House of Representatives finally joined their Senate counterparts by voting to remove the Confederate flag from it’s lofty position in the state capital.
South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley signed the bill into law today. Just so we’re clear, the bill will not make it illegal for South Carolina residents to fly the flag in front of their homes, it only allows the removal of the flag from its official place of honor in front of the capital building.
Supporters of the Confederate flag say that it’s about heritage, not hatred. Understandable. We all have heritage.
It would be reasonable to fly the Japanese flag in the state capitals of California, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arkansas. After all, Japanese Americans were “relocated” to internment camps in those states and not honoring their heritage can be viewed as adding insult to injury.
German folks have every right to honor the heritage of their fore bearers, but, fortunately the flying of swastikas, even on private property is outlawed in their country.
It may not be the case that the Confederate flag represents racism to all who wear or fly it, but I’ve never met anyone wrapped in that particular banner who seemed tolerant of minorities, especially those of the darker-skinned variety.
The Civil War ended in 1865, but it was 100 years later that South Carolinians suddenly decided that they needed to honor their heritage by flying the Confederate flag over the state capital. If it seems coincidental to you that this occurred during the fight for civil rights for black people, you may be subscribed to the wrong blog.
We understand that things move along a bit more slowly in the South than they do up here in the North. Three states, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi celebrate Robert E. Lee Day when the rest of the nation is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
In case you’re wondering if Robert E. Lee is some unknown civil rights worker, he is not. He was the Confederate general who said that America was built on the “great truth” that the “negro is not equal to the white man,” and whose armies kidnapped and sold free black Americans whenever they had the opportunity.
Those would be the very same soldiers that Redneck Nation says they’re honoring by flying that flag. That is their heritage.
In fairness, southerners have a different perspective than we Yankees. For one thing, they refer to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression.
Abraham Lincoln ran on and was elected on a promise of freeing the slaves. A month after he was elected in 1860, South Carolina seceded from the United States. Almost immediately, they laid siege to Fort Sumter, an outpost of American soldiers in what, up until South Carolina’s secession was within the borders of the United States of America.
That siege became an all out bombardment and the rebels took over the fort in April of 1861, the official beginning of the Civil War.
If you’re looking for a modern day comparison, think of the Iranians taking over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Or the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
In both cases, the attackers blamed the U.S. as the aggressor.
In any case, we can agree to disagree about who started the war. The real question though is what the war was about and it was entirely about slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery and the South wanted to become its own nation to preserve slavery.
Those brave soldiers of the South were intent on overthrowing the U.S. government and preserving slavery. That is their heritage, that is who the flag honors.
In our contemporary culture, the Confederate flag is often flown in place of the swastika by white supremacist groups. I don’t think there’s any mistaking their meaning.
It would be very naive of us to think the Confederate flag license plate on Dylann Roof’s car is the same, innocuous representation as the one painted on the roof of General Lee, The Duke Brothers’ car in the Dukes of Hazzard.
We can not conflate the image on a car’s roof with the image on Roof’s car. Besides, that side lost. What kind of idiots want to fly the flag of the loser?
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