Since I don’t get much traffic, I’m hoping no one will find this and be offended for no other reason than to be offended.
I have been thinking a lot about the whole Confederate Battle Flag kerfuffle. I understand the history of the flag. I understand that after the war, it pretty much fell out of use for 100 years. I understand it became popular in the 1960s as a symbol of rebellion against the American Civil Rights movement.
I see the masses rushing to condemn the flag now, because of the actions of Dylann Roof, a crazy-assed murderer. The thing about the knee-jerk reaction of banning the flag is that if Dylann Roof had waved a flag with the McDonald’s golden arches on it, would we be banning that flag? Of course not, because that is ridiculous.
But the flag of the Lost Cause has a lot of romanticism attached to it, in addition to it having been the flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. Even though the war was lost in the south, people are proud of their ancestors who participated in that war. There is a feeling that their ancestors fought for what they thought was right. I don’t understand that thinking, because the southern states very clearly stated in their Articles of Secession that they wanted to preserve the institution of slavery… But, I am digressing from my original point.
The flag fell out of use after the war. For almost 100 years, it was the flag of the lost cause and nothing more. The two sides managed to reconcile and become one nation again, the Union which Abraham Lincoln wanted to preserve. But there was tension simmering under the surface and you can take a college course that covers just a few moments in time during the 1960s and still not learn all there is to learn about the Civil Rights Movement. This is when the contemporary use of the flag became popular. It has been around for my entire life and more, and enough people are used to seeing it that they think it has been proudly flying over rebel households for 150 years. It hasn’t.
While I think most people associated the flag with a sort of ambiguous concept of “the south” I don’t know of anyone who thought the flag represented slavery or dominion of whites over all others. That sort of thinking is better symbolized by the Nazi flag.
My biggest frustration with this whole thing is not stores pulling the flag from their inventory, or states determining that it represents negative state sponsored speech. My frustration is that if this is such a horrible flag, with so much negativity attached to it, why didn’t anyone between 1960 and two weeks ago make any comment about removing it?