Whether to fly or remove the Confederate flag is a raging debate in the U.S. and The National Herald’s Dan Georgakas and Constantinos Scaros jump into it.
Dan, I love the South. I hope to live there one day, year-round. I think most Southerners are good people – and those who are racists are a small percentage of bad apples.
I also think that a lot – maybe even most – of the people who support the display of the Confederate flag are not racists, either. To them, the flag is no different than, say, the benign gesture of allegiance sports fans exhibit when wearing articles of clothing bearing their favorite teams’ names and logos.
Nonetheless, there is enough baggage about the perception of the Confederate flag to warrant its removal from social acceptability, must like the Swastika (even though that may be overstating the case, as the Swastika, more than the Confederate flag, is inextricably intertwined with Nazi genocide – whereas the Confederate flag symbolizes concepts other than slavery).
I saw a poignant post on social media recently, it went something like this: “Ten years from now, same-sex marriage and use of marijuana will be perfectly acceptable, but America will still hate blacks.”
And while I do not agree that those who hate blacks today, or would in ten years, come close to representing “America,” the point is well taken: racism is an ugly stain that contradicts the concept of human evolution, throughout the world and specifically in the United States.
For that reason, I think more good than harm will come from the banishing of the Confederate flag and so I applaud decisions to remove it from public buildings, and more broadly from Southern culture.
I am concerned, though, that the Politically Correct Police will deny the necessary period of adjustment, as they always do, for Confederate supporters without a racist bone in their bodies.
For instance, fans of Southern rock bands, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, The Outlaws, and Molly Hatchett, all of which have had the confederate flag displayed on their concert t-shirts and other paraphernalia over the years in one way, shape, or form.
Is a person who still has a shirt from, say, a concert 10 years ago and would like to wear it now a pariah? An outcast from society? An evil racist?
What about those who enjoy songs about Dixie? Or who revere some of the presidents of the United States who owned slaves, including two of our iconic Founding Fathers – George Washington and Thomas Jefferson – whose likenesses appear on Mount Rushmore. Shall we rush with hammer and chisel to tear down half of that landmark?
Shall we remove Washington’s face from the dollar bill and the quarter coin? And Jefferson’s from the nickel?
How about those who, in youthful exuberance, had a tattoo of the Confederate flag branded onto their arm or chest, much like an avid Rolling Stones fan might have a tattoo of the famous tongue-and-lip logo associated with that band?
Again, I agree that in weighing all factors, the decision to remove the Confederate flag from American culture is a sound one. But I think it is hardheaded – typical leftist intolerance – to expect that this is to be done overnight, granting absolutely no period of adjustment to those who view that symbol as benignly as, say, a patriotic Hellene views an Evzone.
Dino, two words summarize my thoughts about banishing the battle flag of the Confederacy from the state capitol of South Carolina: good riddance.
As I do not suffer from historical amnesia, I know the flag was hoisted in 1962 as a symbol for defying the new civil rights legislation at hand. No ifs, ands, or buts about that. No ifs, ands, or buts that many Americans, black and white, lost their lives or were beaten senseless trying to bring an end to segregation.
I also know that the Confederacy came into existence to maintain and promote human slavery. The ensuing conflict killed or wounded millions of Americans. Southern apologists suggest the South fought for states’ rights. That’s a half-truth at best.
When federal law protected slavery as in the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court, the South had no problem with federal laws being supreme in every state of the union. The South only evoked states’ rights when the political climate turned against them.
Although most Northerners were not for the immediate abolition of slavery, they could not accept slavery moving out of the South to new Western territories, such as Kansas and Nebraska. They understood a family of free Americans could not compete with agriculture based on slave labor.
Regarding the bravery of the rebels, Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of the victorious Northern armies, put it well in his autobiography when he wrote no soldiers ever fought more gallantly for such an unworthy cause. He also cited the bravery of his own troops.
When people speak of dignified and courtly Confederate Generals and officers, a myth in any case, they usually do not mention that a number of them murdered black Northern soldiers who had surrendered and after the war, many of them were central to the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.
I also know that when Greeks arrived to the United States en masse in the early 1900s, they were frequently attacked by the Klan. AHEPA was partly founded as a response to the actions of the KKK and related groups.
Some organizations who work to honor Southern soldiers who fought in the Civil War argue that African Americans fought for the South. The truth is that the Confederate government prohibited the arming of blacks as dangerous.
Slaves could only be used for menial military tasks. The Union army, in contrast, eventually recruited and fully armed blacks, albeit in segregated units. At the conclusion of the war, hundreds of thousands of blacks were in the union army or waiting to be activated.
We are speaking of governmental, not private, display of the rebel flag. We are speaking of the rebel flag flying alongside the American flag as a relative or coequal.
This regards governmental policy and symbolism. Individuals who want to display confederation flags on private property, at grave sites, or even tattoo them on their foreheads remain free to do so. If Walmart and Amazon do not wish to sell confederate apparel, they, too, are free to do so.
Racism in the United States, North and South, is finally abating. Southerners need to ask themselves if they still want to be identified with their region’s history of slavery and segregation.
All nations have historical deeds and ideas they have come to regret. To excuse them by honoring fallen soldiers doesn’t hide the fact that the Confederate flag is a symbol of the worst aspects of American culture.
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION?