Flag Stupidity

Flag Stupidity June 29, 2015

We Americans have trouble with prudence.  When we have a good idea, we go bananas until it becomes a bad idea.  Taking down the Confederate flag from state houses was a good idea, for the very simple reason that it implies state endorsement of a nation that was founded for the express purpose of maintaining slavery.  So good on Nikki Haley.

Then the reactions started.  Speaking for the Id of the Party of Crazy, Ann Coulter blew her racist dog whistle and labeled Haley (who was born here, but in dark skin, so we all know what *that* means) an “immigrant”.  Happily, most of the GOP didn’t buy that and the flag came down and other GOP folks are bucking the very significant minority of crazies in their party to do the obviously right thing and put the flag in museums where it belongs.  A step toward long-overdue cleansing of memory is accomplished.

But then, Leftist crazy kicks in too, as well as corporate cowardice.  Suddenly, taking the CSA battle flag off state building and making clear that the legacy of race hatred that was the raison d’etre of the Confederacy is not approved by the state is not enough. Memory must not merely be cleansed.  It must be erased.  And so, the silliness begins.  Civil War games cannot use Confederate flags to denote Army positions.  The Gettysburg Memorial Museums can’t have Confederate flag stuff anymore.  Pretty soon, history books will read that the Union Army fought the largest battle in the western hemisphere against…. another army at Gettysburg.

And that’s not all.  In a frenzy of righteousness, some on the Left are demanding we burn the American flag too since bad things have been done under its banner and slavery was originally allowed under the Constitution.

This is the problem with the Utopian Revolutionary.  He hates his fathers and cannot grasp the historical processes by which his ancestors labored to give him his pure and pristine vision of the New Order.  He kicks down the ladder of history by which he climbed to the perch whereon he now looks down in contempt on all who came before him.

Here’s the deal:  Yes, the Constitution made slavery lawful.  It also eventually made it unlawful.  And that’s the little distinction between it and the Confederacy.  It was not written with the primary goal of preserving slavery, but of securing liberty.  No.  Really:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In contrast, as Alexander Stephens, the CSA Veep explained

The *purpose* of the CSA and the primary reason for their launch of the war was to preserve slavery, not to secure liberty.

God knoweth I don’t think the USA is perfect.  But its founding principles, however imperfectly enacted and lived out, were honorable.  It’s silly to talk about destroying the US flag because our ancestors were not saints.  They tried hard to do the right thing and failed–like us.

Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping? Use them after your own honor and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. 

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  • I was born in Georgia and spent most of my life there. I have ancestors who moved to Georgia from Virginia when both were still British colonies. I have ancestors who owned slaves and ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. With all that said, I have to say that I agree 100% with this post.
    The Confederate flag does not deserve a place of honor in any government building. I also agree that removing the flag from Civil War games and Museums is a bit over the top.
    I am sick to death of Southerners defending the flag – saying it’s not about slavery. That’s bovine excrement and we all know it.
    I am especially upset with any Republican who defends the Confederate flag. Aren’t they supposed to be the Party of Abraham Lincoln?

  • Dave G.

    Taking the flag down from the statehouse was fine with me. I could see it being up, but I can understand why we should take it down. After all, there weren’t many Union Jacks flying in state houses after the Revolution. But my concern was, of course, just what happened. Censorship and banning things is becoming the favorite go-to solution here in the states. Label something hate, and off it goes. And a growing number of highly educated Americans are becoming content with that.

    And lest we think it will stop at the United States flag, let’s not forget about a decade or so ago when the movie The Passion of the Christ was released. For months, we heard that the Gospels were, themselves, an anti-Semitic tract, and that to many here and around the world, the Cross is a sign of oppression and hatred. More than one person who came to the microphones agreed. So setting aside the small group of crazies that any particular side will have, I’m looking at the growing trend. And that trend is that if something is labeled hate by the right people, then a growing number of Americans seem content to have it eliminated.

    And the funniest part? This is almost entirely a gift from the movement that once said if we didn’t accept daytime talk shows showing how to make homemade porn movies opposite Sesame Street, then before you know it, jack booted thugs would be kicking down our doors and dragging us into the night for watching Family Ties. Apparently a change in perspectives.

    • Joseph

      After the biker gang shootout in Texas, the authorities stretched the boundaries making gang symbols images illegal. Precedence is everything folks. Banning sh*t may sound like a good idea when you’re all worked up over something that’s clearly wrong, but think of the implications granting a government institution the power to decide which symbols should be banned because they might offend someone… then think of the symbols used by one particular institution that has always been in the dead center of their crosshairs for a while now. All they need is to find someone that the Cross *offends*. They’ve got the precedence.

      • kenofken

        It’s not about banning display of symbols by individuals in the case of the flag. It’s about what the government displays on public property. The Cross has already been banned in that context as an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

        • Dave G.

          It’s about banning display of symbols by individuals. Or at least that appears to be the end goal. In our little neck of the woods, we have Freedom from Religion folks trying to force a fellow to remove three crosses he has on his property since his property is across the street from a public school. If he doesn’t comply, they’re threatening lawsuits. Of course they most likely won’t win. At least now. But then if you asked me two years ago if companies would remove Confederate flag symbols from Civil War games or museums would remove it from their displays, I would have laughed for twenty minutes. Just like a hundred years ago most would probably guffaw at the idea that anything resembling a Christian symbol would be banned from public property. The old ‘trust us, if you just give us an inch, we promise we’ll never ask for a mile’ is getting less believable with each passing mile that is demanded.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    In an initial plebiscite held the same day Mississippi seceded, the people of Tennessee voted 80% against secession. The Cotton South, where slavery was vital to the economy, went out on the mere suspicion that the Republicans would abolish slavery and reduce them to abject poverty and ruin. But the Upper South waited on developments and did not secede until Lincoln called for troops to suppress the rebellion. Even then, a fair proportion of Tennessee’s legislators were against it and when the second plebiscite was held, votes for secession tracked east to west across the state: from hillbilly country which was staunchly pro-Union (and tried to secede from Tennessee) across the farms of Middle Tennessee, to the long row crops of Western Tennessee, where 3 or 4 of every 5 people were enslaved and enthusiasm for secession ran deep.

    Even so, we have curiosities like General James Gallant Spears, commanding 25th Brigade, 7th Division, US Army of the Ohio, who tried to summarily hang civilian Confederate sympathizers, his ire against secession was so strong, but who was himself a slave-owner who vehemently disagreed with the Emancipation Proclamation. At the same time, there were Southerners who owned no slaves and who had little sympathy for slavery, such as R.E.Lee, but who were quite adamant about defending their homeland — Virginia, in his case — from the invader.

    IOW, whatever motivated the politicians — and we have their own no-doubt reliable words for that — might not apply to everyone in the South. As in any other case in that messy thing called History, there were a variety of motives and purposes, often mixed and seldom pristine. Jefferson C. Davis, president of the secessionists, had in pre-war years tried to run his plantation as a slave-democracy. Go figure.

    • Mike

      Out of curiosity can you cite where you read these thigns. I’ve not read much on Civil War Era America.

    • Sue Korlan

      I was raised in Kentucky where Lincoln’s call for troops was refused and the state declared itself neutral. Some of its legislators tried to get a compromise peace between the parties but couldn’t succeed. So there were other alternatives to secession open to states like Virginia and Tennessee.

    • Neihan

      Thank you.

  • Michaelus

    Well…..if anything we should all be able to agree that calling for 70,000 men to invade Virginia and launching the deadliest war in US history may not have been the best way to deal end a practice that had existed in every State for centuries. This should be the lesson of the Confederacy – stumbling into war is very, very bad and wars effects persist 150+ years after the killing ends.

    On the other hand soundbites are fun and two minute hates are very effect though. The star spangled banner flew over men defending a slave country against a free country so it is only a matter of time until our flag gets banned also.

  • SteveP

    You worked too hard for that one Mark. The easier explanation is: the flag at the beginning of the week was to be contrasted with the flag at the end of the week—you know, the one superimposed on the White House. You fell for the sleight of hand.

  • David Awbrey

    Mark, to blame slavery is a very simplistic argument for the cause of secession. There were many complex issues that had been fomenting for decades between the two regions. Slavery was just one of many and was arguably not even the overriding issue. I would argue that racism was more pronounced in the nort than the south. Lincoln was by no means morally superior on that issue. One only has to read his writings on slavery and blacks in general to get his take on these things. The industrialized nort just didn’t need slaves. That’s all. No moral high ground there. I would argue that R.E. Lee and Jefferson Davis were morally superior in every way. By the way, Grant’s wife didn’t free her slaves til AFTER the war!

    • Dan Berger

      Really, can we let that rest? Dr. Boli covered this very well two years ago.

      • David Awbrey

        Whoops, meant to reply to Dan Berger, not myself.

    • David Awbrey

      Well, that proves absolutely nothing. I would strongly disagree with him. He is a man with an opinion, like everyone else. He does not touch on tariffs which were huge in the cause of the war. If the Confederate government was wrong in secession, then so were the founding fathers in rebelling against the crown. As a matter of fact, these were the sons and grandsons of the fathers with the same principles of their forefathers. They just wanted to govern themselves quietly and peaceably and be left alone. They wanted nothing from the noth, not land, buildings or money. The moral issue of slavery came to the fore about two years into the war, because Lincoln knew the north was losing, and needed moral nail to hang his hat on. It was a political move intended to rally the troops for “The Cause”. Simply put, the war was about keeping the south in the union and the tax revenues that the government accrued from the south.

      • Dan Berger

        They wanted nothing from the noth, not land, buildings or money. The moral issue of slavery came to the fore about two years into the war, because Lincoln knew the north was losing, and needed moral nail to hang his hat on.

        The historical ignorance revealed by these two sentences is pretty high.

        The war was fought because South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter, a federal installation that was not the property of South Carolina. (Don’t tell me about any sort of moral necessity for contiguity, because there were plenty of enclaves of e.g. Prussia dotted through central Europe at the time and nobody minded.) Fort Sumter was the proximate cause of the war; most of the North would have just laughed and shaken their heads if that hadn’t happened. I doubt that Northern states would have recognized secession, but there would not have been a war. At that particular time.

        If you think that the issue of slavery did not “[come] to the fore [until] about two years into the war,” you need to go back and do your homework.
        – The cause that is placed first and foremost in the primary documents of secession is slavery. The fact that Lincoln stated publicly, over and over, that as President he had no authority to interfere with slavery in the states was apparently not enough for the fire-eaters.
        – The South had banned freedom of speech on the subject of slavery for at least a decade, by forbidding the import or publication of abolitionist literature. (To be fair, their position was that such literature was equivalent to yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater.)
        – The South’s primary states’ rights complaint was that Northern states had no right to refuse to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.
        – The South was fighting an irregular war against Northern abolitionists in Kansas and western Missouri from about 1855.
        – The South regularly tarred and feathered (or even lynched) abolitionists, both imports and home-grown, if they got too uppity.

        So don’t give me that B.S. It’s rather low-grade and well past its sell date.

        • David Awbrey

          Well Ken. Talk about suppression of free speech. Mr Lincoln imprisoned northern newspaper editors who were against his unpopular war in stark violation of Habeus Corpus. As a matter of fact, it was so unpopular that Mr. Lincoln was afraid he had no chance at reelection until the northern victory at Gettysburg which allowed him to publish his highly propagandized Gettysburg Address. Speaking of abolitionists, Mr. John Brown was elbow deep in blood himself. As for Lincoln and Fort Sumter, the south tried unsuccessfully for weeks to try to have the federal troops stationed there to remove peacefully and even provided safe conduct for them. It is a little awkward to have a federal garrison right in the middle of territory that has declared itself (legitimately according to the constitution) independent of federal control. Lincoln knew this would be untenable from a southern perspective, and that is why he left them there. He knew that eventually the Confederate government would have to take action, which would give him his excuse for invading the south. Never mind the fact that southern ambassadors were sent to Washington to try to negotiate a peaceful withdrawal of federal troops. The secretary of war would not even give them a hearing, because Lincoln wanted to use this as a pretense for war. The only death at Fort Sumter was a mule! So now let’s invade the south and cause the deaths of between 600,000 and 700,000 young Americans. That mule must have been pretty valuable. Ken, do YOUR homework.

          • Dan Berger

            Mr. Awbry, you keep moving the goalposts. First it was “The war wasn’t about slavery and slavery played no part for two years of the war,” which I have shown to be manifestly untrue even *before* the war started. (Look up when the practice of accepting escaped slaves as “contraband of war” came in: it was 1861.) Now it’s the federal government’s aggressive refusal to evacuate its own property under the impossible legal theory that, since we don’t recognize S.C. as a separate country, why should we leave our own installation? Incidentally, it wasn’t Lincoln who made this decision: it was Buchanan who refused to evacuate and made the first attempt at resupply of the garrison, on January 9.

            Then there’s your irrelevant tu quoque about the suspension of habeas corpus during a war of rebellion – a time when the constitution expressly permits such suspension. (I.9.2)

            You are not terribly convincing, sir.

        • David Awbrey

          Sorry Dan. I called you Ken. I did not notice the change of responders, as I had been in discussion with Ken for the several previous posts.

        • David Awbrey

          By the way Dan. I will tell you about territorial contiguity. It’s pretty important. I doubt you would appreciate me setting up a yard sale in your back yard.

          • Dan Berger

            It is NOW. But at the time it didn’t seem to be a huge problem for folks.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              The firing on Ft. Sumter would seem to indicate your claim is in error…

    • ManyMoreSpices

      I agree wholeheartedly that casting the Union as the forces of Right and Good who got together and said “let us free our fellow man from the tyranny of slavery” is as inaccurate as casting everyone who supported or fought for the Confederacy as someone who personally wanted to whip Toby Kunte Kinte. If that were the case, slavery wouldn’t still have been going on in New Jersey and Delaware during the Civil War. But it’s clear that the impetus for the secession of the Confederacy was that the rich and powerful saw the institution of slavery threatened by growing political power of the northern states.

      As for the flag, my feelings are as follows:

      (i) I’m not bothered by the fact that this was a flag of “rebellion” or “treason” or what-have-you. Exit from the Union wasn’t a settled question then, so the fact that a bunch of states got together and bowed out wasn’t wrong per se.

      (ii) The principal causes for which the Confederacy stood included slavery. Even if it could be conclusively demonstrated to me that secession would have happened without the slavery issue, preservation of slavery was cited by too many Confederate governments that it cannot be considered an ancillary or incidental issue.

      (iii) Those who are in a position to know better should therefore not display the Confederate flag with pride. That definitely includes the government.

      (iv) Those who see the flag as a symbol of heritage or cultural or geographic pride should not be accused – on that basis alone – of being racist or wanting a return to segregation, much less slavery. It’s a symbol that good people should stop using, even if they’re proud of their Alabama heritage and southern traditions. But I will not pillory someone who continues to do so in the honest belief that the flag is not a symbol of racism. They’re incorrect, but not evil.

      • David Awbrey

        If it were about just mainly perpetuating slavery, then all the south had to do was to stay in the union. Slavery was protected by the constitution and Lincoln even stated that he had no power or inclination to change that. No, it was much more complex than that. Most southerners never owned slaves and to say that they were duped into fighting for rich slaveholders is a huge disservice to them. And about racism, it was the NORTH that passed laws against free slaves coming to live in their cities. Jefferson Davis adopted a black child, and Stonewall Jackson taught slaves to read before the war, in disregard of Federal Laws stating that it was illegal to do so! Talk about who was racist!

        • Ken

          You’re aware of the Fugitive Slave Law that forced the North to return slaves to the South? Please don’t try to rewrite history. It is what it is. To try to change it to make us feel better about ourselves is immature.

          • David Awbrey

            Well Ken, I have laid out facts of history. In the end you and everyone else will make of it what they will. “Let everyone be firmly convinced in their own mind”. The fact is, that race relations were better in the south than in the north. BTW, it was the New England ship builders that made huge profits building the ships that transported the slaves and helped to perpetuate the slave trade. Also, the New York draft riots that led to many blacks being lynched because these morally superior gentlemen did not want to go and fight for emancipation. Yes, northern magnanimity at its finest. As an aside, the first state in the union to constitutionally ban further import of slaves was none other than GEORGIA!

            • Guest

              Slavery was hugely profitable for New England. Just ask the trustees at Brown University.

            • Ken

              Georgia banned slavery because slaves were reproducing and there were too many of them. One of the big reasons that they wanted to allow slavery in the West so they could unload the excesses slaves. Slavery wasn’t just a North South issue it was a Global enterprise. Like I said above I understand the complexities of the issue but trying to pretend like the South was morally superior in race relations is the result of the South losing the war and rewriting history to make themselves feel better about losing the war. We can grow up and view all of this objectively. Besides, the flag has been used for a lot of other things that are hurtful enough that it should be glorified on a state building.

              • Dave G.

                A global enterprise? Thank you for stating what so many are shocked to hear. And I’m not sure it’s something that can be spoken about as if it only exists in the past. Of course the South is not the grand exception to the human experience. But hardly unique.

            • jroberts548

              Yankee racism doesn’t absolve the south.

              • David Awbrey

                The south does not need absolved.

                • jroberts548

                  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

                  Our whole damned nation needs to be absolved.

                  edit: Sorry for the vulgar language. But come on.

                  • David Awbrey

                    Well, if you want to include all, as opposed to one segment,(the south), then amen brother. Let the absolution begin. I am just tired of the historical south being villified by half truths, ignorance and sometimes outright dishonesty. By the way, because this misguided person was seen in a picture waving a Confederate battle flag, he has NOTHING to do with the historical Confederacy. It is an abuse of the flag. Just because people abuse things does not negate their legitimacy. I think we are all mature enough and intelligent enough to know that the leaders of the Confederacy would harshly denounce the actions of these deranged individuals, whatever their race. BTW I vehemently am against slavery.

                • jroberts548

                  Come on. You can’t tell me that the south, like the rest of America, hasn’t had significant problems with racism. Are you going to try to defend slavery now? Are you going to defend Jim Crow? Are you going to defend Dylann Roof?

                  • Ken

                    This constant rationalization of people’s sins by finding some other equally bad or worse behavior is tiresome. Yes, the North also had and has racism but that doesn’t change what the South did and has done. What has happened to people taking responsibility for anything? I know this isn’t new but it seems to have taken off recently. I think it’s from political TV. This seems to be the basis for all arguments now.

                    • jroberts548

                      I can almost understand it as a reflex given how frequently northern, especially NY and DC media types characterize the south as uniquely racist or characterize racism as a southern, rather than American problem.

                      But when we’re talking about the confederate flag on the SC statehouse grounds, we are talking about a specifically southern problem. All the racist yankees in the world can’t change that.

                    • David Awbrey

                      Well, we will just have to leave it as honest and decent people can disagree. That’s just the reality of it.

                    • David Awbrey

                      Well, the north had plenty to take responsibility for as well as the south. And it is not somewhat venial northern sin vs mortal southern sin. I am absolutely not afraid to look at the cold hard facts and sins on both sides. But it seems the fashionable thing to do these days to point an angry condescending finger at southern history. That war need not have happened, and my point is that there was much blood on northern hands as well. Now, we will probably never agree on these issues but hey, we are all grown and can handle that.

                • As a southerner I have to call you out on this. Earlier, I called southerners who overlook the issue of slavery as “bovine excrement”. I guess I have to say it clearer…….it’s bullshit.

                  • David Awbrey

                    Mr. Simms, I don’t care what you call it. You have your opinion and because you are a southerner adds nothing. You can call me out all day. It does not change the facts at all. The issue of slavery is not overlooked. It was AN issue but certainly not the only issue. We tend to oversimplify complex issues rather neatly. Does not make our national heroes look so untidy and unsavory that way.

                    • I only point out my Southern heritage so other Southerners can’t claim I’m just Yankee hatemonger. Too many from the South want to overlook the slavery issue because they think it makes their great-great grandfather look bad. The fact that folks from other States had a hand in it doesn’t excuse what the South did. The Confederacy was a great evil.

                    • David Awbrey

                      Why would any of my forefathers look bad? They did not own slaves. They did cherish their independence. You seem to be lacking depth and nuance on the late unpleasantness.

                    • That they did not personally own slaves is beside the point. They fought (and killed) to preserve slavery. At the very least, you have to say they were fools. Not every German soldier in WWII personally gassed Jews, but they supported the system.
                      As an aside, lots of people don’t look at the census slave registry when doing their family tree research. Many don’t know that their ancestors owned slaves.

                    • David Awbrey

                      Fools huh? You demonstrate an amazing ignorance of history and also quite a degree of arrogance. Your last comment is not even worthy of consideration, but is quite telling of the intellect that produced it.

                    • Warning! Hearing the truth can cause major butt hurt!

                    • David Awbrey

                      I don’t believe you would actually recognize the truth if it slapped you in the face. But you seem well acquainted with ignorance. I simply cannot take you seriously. Good evening.

        • jroberts548

          The north was full of racists who were fine with slavery as long as it meant blacks stayed in the south.

          That doesn’t mean that slavery – specifically, a fear of rising abolitionism in the north and, even more urgently, the impact of westward, rather than southward expansion and the free soil movement – wasn’t one of the overriding causes of secession. If you look at what confederates were saying at the start of the war, they were absolutely certain that they were fighting a war for slavery. That the north was equally certain at the start of the war that they weren’t, and that by the end of the war both sides flip-flopped in their understanding of what the war was over doesn’t somehow change the fact that slavery was the chief cause of secession.

          It also doesn’t change the flag’s post-war history, as a symbol of opposition to reconstruction first, then as a symbol for the klan in the 1910s and 20s and as a symbol of support for segregation in the 50s and 60s. Even if we grant, arguendo, that slavery was not a significant cause of secession, the flag’s post-war revival has more to do with the klan and with segregation than anything else. It’s only after the 60s that anyone tried to use it as a symbol of Southern culture generally.

          • Ken

            Well said.

    • Ken

      Sorry but the main cause of the war was whether the Federal Government could tell the states whether or not they could have slaves. The Union was equally divided so things were in an uneasy truce until we expanded west. Once we did that there was the question of whether these states should be free or slave. Congress decided that one would be free then the next could own slaves. The South didn’t like this saying that the states should determine if they are free or not. So the issue is of states rights but the issue behind it was slavery.
      All of this is really irrelevant. In the end, the South decided that they didn’t want to follow the Constitution and waged war on was left of the United States. If some crazy militia group with weapons decided that they didn’t want to be part of the US anymore and went and attacked a military base we would take their flag and hang it anywhere, especially not a gov building.

      • David Awbrey

        Well Ken, you are wrong, the constitution did not prohibit secession, it upheld it. Tell me what you know about the tariff issues that were strangling the south for decades. Besides, there were northern states that had threatened secession previously, especially after the Louisiana Purchase, when they were afraid that this would change the balance of power in congress and loosen their northern control in congress.

        • Ken

          I understand the complexities of the issue. There are endless books and research on the subject. I understand the South’s argument and there is some validity to what they claimed. I understand the legal, economical and constitutional aspects but the bottom line was the question of whether the federal gov could tell the states whether they could own slaves or not. Also, all this glorification of the South only exists because Grant was smart enough to not rub the South’s face in the defeat. Had Grant and the North been more vengeful we wouldn’t have all this glorification of Lee, Davis, and the flag. It was fine for a long time for the South to feel better about themselves but it’s time to move on and accept it for what it really is. BTW I’m a Southerner so we can really move on.

          • David Awbrey

            Ken, it matters not to me that you are a southerner. You do not need to be sorry for the south. They can stand on their own merits without your generous approval. But what I am concerned about is the truth about what really happened. Southerners have no need to feel better about themselves, their honor and courage speaks for itself. I doubt you or me could approach their courage and dedication to what they believed in. Yes, let us move on.

  • James Isabella

    “He kicks down the ladder of history by which he climbed to the perch
    whereon he now looks down in contempt on all who came before him.”

    This is a great line.

  • Guest

    There are enough beams in our eyes on the subject of racism to fill a lumber yard. Boston’s school system took until 1988 to desegregate, for instance.

    • Guest

      See also liberal idol FDR, father of the American concentration camps.

      • Dave G.

        The idea that one color state has racism and the other color state does not is a silly old notion surprisingly believed by some. Racism tends to transcend blue state/red state; north state/south state; United States or other States. And sadly, it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

        • Guest

          It does indeed, but some areas and actors get their history whitewashed in the popular opinion.

          • Dave G.

            Yeah, tell me. Back a little bit ago, some fraternities were caught spewing some old time racist jargon. One of the CNN anchors said “What’s going on in our colleges, I never heard things like that in college!” I thought ‘what college did she go to?” In college, racism abounded. Anti-Semitism, too. And most I heard spouting such things were decidedly left of center. And not all were white. Nor even American. And in my subsequent years, I’ve found nothing to challenge those college observations, or suggest that racism is as simple and easy as the media narrative suggests, so I imagine that historic racism is more complex than popular opinion imagines. Especially since so much popular opinion appears to be fashioned by the media that doesn’t seem to get it right.

            • Guest

              My wife had the opportunity to spend a semester in an English college. Her classmates would sometimes berate he for the history of slavery in the US (which, of course, the British brought here) and how racist we are, then in the next conversation talk about “the chinks” and “the pakis.”

              I have a theory that we just look more racist than the rest of the world because we are so racially mixed as a society that we have had to actually confront and overcome racism rather than just saying the right words in a vacuum.

              • Dave G.

                Of course. I think your theory is closer to truth than just wild guess.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Actually, that’s Andrew Jackson.

  • Anonymous Coward

    I for one can’t believe Mark passed up the opportunity to use a title like “Flagrant stupidity” or some other such pun.

    • ManyMoreSpices

      “The Stars-and-Bars must come down now!” he exclaimed flagrantly.

  • Neihan

    If we’re going to quote Vice President Stephens, why not quote the Northerner’s President Lincoln?

    [ Edit: took out a false quote (thank you, AJGSyc), replaced it with another Based Lincoln quote which is actually his.]

    “I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
    -President Lincoln

    The casus belli of the Northerners was reunification, not the abolition of slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued two years after the start of the war, targeted only the Confederate States. Maybe a lot of Northerners fought for the abolition of slavery, but then a lot of Southerners fought to protect their homelands from enemy invasion.

    You can’t spit on normal people, deride the heroism and bravery of their ancestors, and expect them to not become fiercely loyal to a flag which their ancestors fought and died under. A flag which is hated by the same people who despise and hate the descendants of those ancestors.

    And, after all, if the Stars and Bars can only represent “slavery,” then surely the Stars and Stripes represents the celebration and spreading of degeneracy, the murder of the unborn, oligarchy, tyranny, and imperialism.

    But then, maybe the Stars and Bars doesn’t represent racism or slavery to many of those who love it, and for many of those who love the Stars and Stripes it might not represent degeneracy, child-murder, oligarchy, tyranny or imperialism. I’m guessing we each love our own flags despite, not because of, the wrongs of our separate peoples.

  • Stu

    The flag wasn’t flying over the statehouse. It hasn’t been for years. Tha Confederate Battle Flag flies over a memorial to the War dead.

  • Gunnar Thalweg

    As a Republican, my initial reaction, “Welcome to the party, pal.” Confederate flag is OK when it signifies southern rock. It doesn’t belong on a statehouse.

    And in the D.C. Mall we should not have a Temple of Zeus except with Lincoln in it, and I’m not sure having that statue of Bill Sherman on the White House lawn (off to the side) is not just rubbing it in.

    The GOP had a great opportunity to say just that — well, nice of the Democrats to come around and see their grievous mistake. I mean, why not wave the Bloody Shirt one more time, for old time’s sake.

    • Stu

      But it wasn’t on the statehouse. It was on a war memorial nearby.

      • chezami

        Semantics. It was on state property signifying state approval. Catholics defending it is folly. The conservative anti-charism of discernment marches on.

        • Stu

          Thank you for that thoughtful reply.

          But is it really that easy? Do you simply label my views on this as part of the “conservative anti-charism of discernment” and move on? I would think the purpose of having a blog is to encourage thoughtful conversation but perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps your aim instead is to put forth your views and then take in the cheers from your many fans. I don’t know. But I should add that I am not a “conservative” and I’m not sure how my Faith has any bearing on how I see this.

          Ironically Mark, it appears as though you lack discernment on this. Not because we disagree but because you can’t even fathom that sincere people of goodwill can disagree on something like this. Talk about an “anti-charism.”

          What many people in the present age fail to discern is how people of that era saw things. They don’t put themselves in the shoes of those that lived in that time period. As a southerner with a long family tradition and knowledge of our ancestry and origin (I was told stories of JEB Stuart as a child by my Great-Grandmother), I have pondered greatly what I would have done living in Virginia during the Civil War and my honest answer is “I don’t know.” On one hand, I would like to hope that I would not support slavery but even so, I can see feeling compelled to defend my homeland against armed invaders from another state.

          Even those whose families lived in the North might have felt indifference to the whole slavery issue or preserving the Union and not supported the war. You just don’t know because you didn’t grow up in that era. But yet we are all too willing to judge them now.

          Flying the Confederate Battle Standard over a memorial to Confederate war dead is fitting. While the politicians certainly were motivated by slavery and some other issues, the rank and file soldier was fighting for many other reasons to include defense of their homeland. I don’t know, how would you feel about the Oregon National Guard invading Washington State under orders from the Federal Government? Maybe you wouldn’t care. But in the era when people were more aligned with their states (and we still are down in the South) and only 90 years since the Revolution, you can imagine that the common man might see things differently even if he didn’t support slavery.

          If you can justify removing the Confederate Battle Flag from flying over a memorial to the Confederate soldiers, then take the next logical step and remove the memorials as well. Then change all of the names of the Army posts in the South that bear the names of Confederate Generals. Whitewash it all. Hell, deny it even happened.

          We are now at the point that watching the Dukes of Hazzard is frowned upon because of a flag. I believe in our zeal to lock all bad history away in the closet, we will simply forget it even more. Not really the open society that I would want to live in. To the contrary, I say embrace our history warts and all.

          I mourn all of the dead of that war, both Union and Confederate, as they all were Americans. And so did our ancestors. But they are all dead so what does it matter?

  • ivan_the_mad

    I should think it very improper for a state government to incorporate Confederate emblems into its own emblems, functions, or sites. Whether denominated secession or rebellion, such emblems are inherently, well, emblematic, of the sundering of the union of which the state is a part.

    • Stu

      But on the other hand, it could be seen as acknowledging the higher level of government. Even when the Battle Flag did fly on the capital dome in SC many years ago, it flew under both the Stars and Strips and state flag denoting in my mind the correct hierarchy. Though admittedly, that symbolism was probably lost on many so the compromise to move it to the war memorial was fitting.

  • Stu

    From The Great Reunion of 1913. Veterans on both sides recognizing veterans on both sides. All Americans and no one was offended.