I recently, started a heated debate between a few of my favorite (and most intelligent) gentlemen friends.
It began by sharing, on Facebook, something like this: “South Carolina Takes Down Confederate Flag”, adding my teaser ‘What say you?’
I asked right?
One person said he was surprised by my additional response: Ban Away.
He asked ‘Why?’
So here you go…
The Southern Cross is a symbol.
Symbols have power in that they convey ‘meaning’ and ‘intent’ and often ‘pride’.
We all have them/ wear them/ fly them/ stick them on our cars.
They are short ‘code’ for quickly expressing a personal opinion.
I may not agree with your personal point-of-view on a subject but I defend your right to express it.
Fly your freak flag.
God love You.
But this Flag (which is not EVEN the STATE FLAG of South Carolina!) flies over a public space- a space that is supposed to represent all of it’s citizenry in equal measure and without malice.
Let’s break it down:
The Confederacy, in a historical context, believed it had the Right to secede from the larger Union.
They had their reasons: Economic, Diplomatic, Economic.
They attempted to do so, a war was fought, and they were declined succession.
In an attempt to break the Confederate economy (and influenced by the moral outrage of such) the United States government enacted the Emancipation Proclamation which led to the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865.
And yet, and yet…
The Confederate battle flag was still flown over courthouses that newly freed black citizens entered seeking equal justice.
The Confederate battle flag was still flown over the chambers that laws were written in.
The Confederate battle flag was still flapping in the wind.
It’s current supporters argue that it represents their History.
It’s current supporters argue that History will change without the reminder overhead.
It will not.
Your state still built it’s economy on the backs of enslaved humans until 1865.
Your history will remain. No one’s not going to teach it. The school books will still cover the subject. No one’s requiring you to break up the farm in restitution.
Now, for the classic American knee-jerk reaction:
I could not care less what Walmart decides to sell. Their decision to remove all items with this symbol on it is kabuki theatre. It’s a monetary decision to increase customer loyalty- it does not have any REAL meaning.
I could not care less if you choose to fly your grandmother’s girdle off your front porch, or dress-up your pitbull in Confederate Grey for the Memorial Day parade.
I could not care less what you believe, what motivates you.
I can’t do a damn thing about changing your heart, or your intellect, or who your daddy was.
What I DO CARE ABOUT is the fact that this flag is a symbol of bad policy, flawed moral character, abhorrent economic practices and cost the lives of 100s of thousands of people.
And don’t go getting out your pocket Constitution and reading me the wisdom of States Rights.
That’s not what this is.
Do what ever you want on your own damn property, but when I walk into a government space (which by it’s very nature is public), a place that determines the fate of ALL, what’s JUST and what’s NOT- for ALL, I can’t get my head around the logic of waving a symbol that represents the opposite of LIBERTY, and expecting it’s continued presentation to go unchallenged.
Can I just call this for what it WAS?
The Big One Finger salute.
To all of the rest of the Country.
Made by a group of antiquated boots-down grey-haired old white men that are still pissed they lost the War.
A War they started.
We’ve moved on.
Time to join the Union.