Treating the Confederate Flag as a hated enemy because some low life racists have misused it conflicts with Dr. Martin Luther King's teaching that we should love our enemies. Instead of trying to ban the flag, black leaders should be embracing it so they can turn it into a symbol of racial harmony. Turning the Confederate Flag into a symbol of racial harmony would rob racists of an opportunity to misuse a popular southern symbol to further their goals.
Using the Confederate Flag as a scapegoat for racism would conceal
the real nature of American racism today and in 1860. Racism
then and now has always been an American problem not a southern
Banning the Confederate Flag because of the recent murders by a
coward in Charleston,
South Carolina, would reward the pariah by making him a major
historical figure. History books would mention him as
the man responsible for eliminating the Confederate Flag. His
name might even appear in the future on shows like
"Jeopardy". [As Paul Harvey used to say: "He would want
me to mention his name."]
We might consider him a pariah, but to others of his ilk he will be
a hero. He will have shown them that the easiest
way to get what Andy
Warhol calls "their 15 minutes of fame" is to commit a heinous
Normal people don't understand that some people would rather be
regarded as a pariah than a nobody. Some people satisfy their
desire for attention through vandalism like breaking out windows in
buildings or cars. Others use spray paint on buildings or public
works. Unfortunately, a few use arson or murder to get
Bullies are a significant problem in our society. The
worst thing you can do if you are worried about a bully is let him
know how he can get to you. The bully boys in the
white sheets are already jumping on the Confederate Flag issue to
convince white southerners to support the Kooky Krazy Klutzers.
I'm the great grandson of a Union Army veteran so I don't really
understand the attitude southerners have toward the Confederate
Flag. I wonder if it is related to a military tradition which
began when the caisson carrying a dead soldier from the
battlefield during the Napoleonic
wars was covered with his national flag. When my dad
died we received an American flag from the government honoring his
service in World War II. When I die my family will receive a
flag honoring my service in Vietnam.
Many of the Confederate soldiers were fathers. Others were
uncles of individuals who might not have been born yet.
Southerners may feel the way they do about the Confederate Flag as a
way of remembering family members who died to protect their
relatives and neighbors. Many of the Confederate soldiers
likely shared the attitude of Virginian Rufus Peck: "I
hadn't a single regret. I felt I had answered the country's call and
discharged my duty, but all the time I was fighting for what my
state thought best and against my own convictions."
Many of the "Johnny Rebs" were black men who had no way of knowing
that the war would eliminate slavery.
Confederate soldiers were not the bad guys in the Civil War.
The bad guys were the politicians on both sides who couldn't work
out a compromise on controversial issues like slavery and tariffs.
I'll deal more with the issue of racism and the Civil War in a
future post. Those who think the south had a monopoly on
racism in 1860 need to recognize that it was members of the Colorado
Militia flying the American flag, not Confederate soldiers, who
murdered peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho women and children at Sand
Creek on November 29, 1864.