Stars and Bars

I’m tardy to the party but can we talk about this? I don’t have any FB friends who have changed their profile pics to the Confederate flag but one degree of separation away — just one. It’s a madhouse.

I’ve read some offensive things over the past few days but what can you do. BUT, intellectual laziness, historical revisionism and willful, assertive, cynical ignorance just push my buttons. It’s amazing how many proud Americans, proud southerners, don’t even know.

“Our new government is founded… its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”

– Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Speech

Now you know. Do you care, though? Should you?

Chances are that you never think about any deeper meaning within the diorama of symbolism that is the calling card of the South. Even the intended meanings and acts fade with the years. Never forget, though. For those who can’t imagine how anyone would project any kind of racial meaning on to a piece of cloth, if you’re a reader, check out this article. It’s thorough.

The Confederate Cause in the Words of Its Leaders – The Atlantic

TLDR? I can dig it. Here you go.

Image 2015-06-30 22.29.36Image 2015-06-30 22.30.37Image 2015-06-30 22.30.54Image 2015-06-30 22.31.05Image 2015-06-30 22.31.14

FREE SPEECH

Having said all of that, no one is talking about banning flags. You can fly the Confederate flag or any of its permutations for whatever reasons you want. Like this guy is going to do.

Image 2015-06-30 22.26.10

That’s the spirit! Vehicle window shades, bumper stickers, T-shirts, hats, belt buckles, beach towels, whatever. That’s your prerogative. However, it should not be flown on government property.

Good on all of these states and businesses disassociating themselves from the Confederate flag. Truthfully, if you’re wondering, I’ve always been highly aware of confederate flags and such. Black people generally are. I grew up outside of Baltimore. I live in Virginia now. There’s Robert E. Lee stuff everywhere down here. Does it ruin my day or send me into a kind of archetypal PTSD breakdown? Nope.

It doesn’t reflect the beliefs or ethos of the people. It’s a “famous historical figure” kind of thing and not a celebration of slavery or white supremacy, right. Hell. It doesn’t even read as “Southern pride” around these congested white collar suburban parts. Just outside of the suburbs the lines start to blur, though. Confederate flags are the wallpaper to living below the Mason Dixon line. But I have to ask myself…

  • Are there any streets named after Goebels in Germany?
  • SS High School?
  • Red Skull Memorial Bridge?
  • Or if Congress created Kristallnacht Days to coincide with Hanukkah, how would that go over?

When people fly Nazi flags is it okay if they say it’s because they’re proud of their German ancestors who fought for their country and had nothing to do with hate, anti-Semitism, imperialism, or Fascism?

Because that’s the analogous wallpaper to our daily lives.

South Carolina started flying the Confederate battle flag again in 1961 (or was it ’62) as an eff you to the advancing Civil Rights movement.

DISTRACTION

Is this a distraction? Kind of. It’s a symbolic victory but that doesn’t negate the meaning. It was a symbolic victory when it was hoisted in the 60s. It opens an important discussion and shines a light on beliefs and sentiments that can only flourish in segregated company.

I don’t want to forget the reason we’re talking about this right now, though. Nine people were murdered because a white supremacist found a safe haven and supportive environment where he could effectively radicalize himself on the internet.

It’s a distraction if it doesn’t draw attention to the perfidious proselytizing of these online White Supremacy sites and the organizations or networks behind them. The Ku Klux Klan should straight up be classified as a terrorist organization because of its violent, murderous, terrorist past. If your rhetoric is violent you get the microscope turned in your direction.

Aryan Nations throws its support behind Dylann Roof
The notorious hate group has applauded the Charleston massacre and encouraged others to follow Roof’s example

“I, for one, am very glad to see young people like Dylann Roof acting like men instead of the old 60’s era hippies stoned on weed and interracial love,” Gulett posted on his web site.

“We had better see much more of this type of activism if we ever expect to see our America return to it’s [sic] rightful place in the world and our children grow up in a clean safe healthy enviroment [sic],” Gulett wrote.

Other racists individually have offered support or praise for Roof in comments posted on a forum hosted by Stormfront, the world’s largest hate site.

But also let’s not forget #CharlestonStrong. That’s what I’m talking about, people. That’s it. Stand up for what’s good and right and stand together. You’re the antidote for hate.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/CharlestonUnityChain

PRIDE

I’ll echo this sentiment. Be proud of being Southern. There’s a congenial earthiness and inventive authenticity. Ingenuity. There’s a hospitable culture and a strong connection to the land: farming, hunting, recreation, survival, flourishing. I envy that tradition of being self sufficient and knowing your way around the outdoors and passing it on for generations. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit and the sense that making things with your hands is a gift and a skill. And the music. The food. The eye catching and breathtaking scenery. The honky tonk badonkadonks.

Be proud of who you are and the resilience of your family and ancestors. Be proud that you’re willing to face the trauma and scars of your past.

But not of the racist heritage that is intertwined with it all. Because it’s deep in there. Untangle that mess. It must be tricky to be proud of the warriors in your family tree but not the cause. I mean, some of you relate to the cause, too. That’s a different discussion.

 

Being a part of an evil economic system and social framework does not require one to be evil. Most people lived simple lives day to day. Many were uneducated. Many were poor. In a sea of white supremacy and fear. Little cogs in a big economy.

You don’t have to be evil to be a part of an evil system or a system that is propped up on injustice and inequity. Being in and benefiting from an oppressive system does not require consent or effort on any individuals part. It just requires complacency. Or apathy.

It’s important to distinguish between the heritage and the hate. When I see the flag I can’t tell the difference. I mean, I’ll take you at your word but if you want to claim that thing — with all of its intended meaning — you’ve got your work cut out.

MARCH ON

The Ku Klux Klan is holding a pro-Confederate flag, pro white supremacy rally in South Carolina. Show them what you’re about.

Ku Klux will rally at S.C. statehouse for Confederate flag

I hope the anti-Klan rally-ers stay cool and let the white supremacists make fools of themselves. Be creative and constructive in your defiance. Good luck.

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