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Time to bury the Confederate flag

By
January 22, 2008

I’m surprised Mike Huckabee didn’t show up in Jena, LA, Monday to goose-step along with a group of fellow white supremacists in a rally attended mostly by media.

The rally that wasn’t seemed tailor made for Huckabee, who faltering Presidential run is turning into the campaign that wasn’t.

Huckabee proved he can pander to hate and racism in pure Republican style last week when he jumped into the debate over whether or not the Confederate battle flag should fly at the state house in South Carolina.

His defense of the right to fly the symbol of prejudice was a lame, last-minute attempt to bring out the hate vote. It didn’t work. Huckabee lost South Carolina to John McCain.

So Huckabee did an about face and spent Martin Luther King Day in a church in Atlanta, acting like he really gives a damn about civil rights.

Which left his fellow hate mongers in Jena to march pretty much alone.

Reports The Associated Press:

A crowd mostly made up of members of the media listened as four white separatists demanded white rights, severe prosecution of six black teens accused of beating a white school mate and an end to the Martin Luther King holiday.

But the speeches didn’t last long.

The “Jena Justice Day” planned Monday by the white supremacist Nationalist Movement ended about two hours earlier than organizers had planned, with most participants leaving long before that.

Now before you get all hot and bothered and start yelling that this is just another Yankee tirade against the proud old South I have to say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I’m a son of the South — born and raised in Dixie.

I live in a Blue Ridge Mountain community where the stars and bars flies in front of single wides along many country lanes and covers the back windows of too many pickup trucks. Virginia State Troopers wear a blue and gray uniform modeled after a Confederate officers garb and they drive patrol cars pained blue and gray.

Like most sons of the South I can find a few relatives who fought against what is routinely called “the war of northern aggression” or simply “the recent unpleasantness.”

When my Illinois-born wife came to Virginia, she looked around at all our battlefield parks and memorials and asked: “My God, how many monuments would you have if you had actually won the war?”

Many Southerners wear their Confederate heritage on their sleeves and their flagpoles and their trucks.

Not this one.

The American flag flies at our house. When I see video footage of the protest in Jena, where a modified version of the Confederate stars and bars was waved as a symbol of racism and white supremacy, I want to puke.

Like it or not, the Confederate battle flag has been co-opted by the hate mongers as something to wave proudly when they march to showcase their prejudice. Too often, I’ve seen the stars and bars waved with a swastika sewn into the middle.

It’s time to put the Confederate battle flag and other such symbols into a museum as part of a display of a war that should never have had to be fought and to remember a period of shame for this nation that must never be forgotten.

26 Responses to Time to bury the Confederate flag

  1. radiofreedixie

    January 23, 2008 at 7:32 am

    the best reply to this slanderer and da ja vue all over again comes from the old testament.”and balaam’s ass spoke.”
    radiofreedixie

  2. VaSteve

    January 23, 2008 at 1:29 am

    You would think that a “son of the South” and an expert on the Confederate flag would actually know the name of the flag. Stars and Bars? No. It’s called the Southern Cross.Next time try to use the correct name so you won’t look so ignorant.

  3. peccavi

    January 23, 2008 at 2:05 am

    “And do you think it’s any accident that those same southern states are the ones filled to the brim with born-again fundamentalist Christians (like Baptists, for example)who think George Bush is a great guy and have absolutely no problem whatsoever with invading Middle Eastern countries which did us no harm whatsoever, all in the name of Israel, the Old Testament and the (purely fabricated) “rapture?” Or, to put it more bluntly, the people that think Blacks and Arabs are lowlife and should be slaves to Whites and Jews?”

    this whole post smacks of a serious prejudice against these people (assuming, incorrectly, that we can lump them all together) and i’ve found southerners and baptists to be very hospitable.
    fundamentalist arabs on the otherhand, it seems, are the picture of tolerance

    ยป

    Socially liberal, fiscally conservative… constitutionalist, libertarian…
    empower & encourage people to take care of themselves.
    the solution isn’t always to throw more $ at the proplem.

  4. poptn

    January 23, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Sorry Doug, but you have been contaminated by your liberal Illinois wife. You have forsaken your Southern heritage.

    Please tell me why I should forsake my gg grandfather and two ggg uncles that fought for state rights!? None of these heroes owned slaves and enlisted for the defence of Dixie. Should they be dishonour by me because a few hate mongers disparage our banners as you are our Southern heritage, or the PC’ers that are destroying the lives of the majority, how bout the race-baiters that fatten their wallets causing the real race problem …. Not this Southron! I don’t need or want instructions on what I honour by some liberal South hater!

    The Confederate Battle Flag With The “St Andrews Cross” was not the only Confederate Battle Flag, but She was the most known and used late in that great war. She is the most, hated, debated, misrepresented and beloved of all Confederate symbols. She has been tarnished by groups as the, naacp “by way of slander”, kkk, aryan nation, skinheads, neo nazi, white supremacy clowns…Just to name a few. She was not a national flag, nor was She a politician’s flag, and most defiantly not a flag of hate!…”She was a soldier’s flag” a banner of courage, honour and a call to duty. She was a rallying point for battling warriors. Many died to keep Her safe and out of enemy hands, this Flag was stained with the blood of our Southron patriots. Last, and most important…SHE WAS AN AMERICAN FLAG!!

    As Southron, we owe it to ourselves and noble ancestry to protect Her and hold her in reverence. We must stand up to “Those People” that slander Her, for that slander is slander toward us and our past. We must never let our past be removed from our future… and you sir slander your Southron people!!!

    Tommy Aaron
    Chattanooga, Tennessee

  5. unreconstructed1

    January 23, 2008 at 9:40 am

    If any of you would bother to look further into these rallies, and such, you would see that the Confederate Battle flag ( which is the Southern cross, and not the stars and Bars… learn about the history you disrespect) is not alone in its misuse by such groups. Many, if not all of these hate groups also proudly wave the stars ans stripes at their various meetins, rallies etc. by saying that the flag of my forefathers should be buried due to its use by these groups, are you also suggesting a similar fate for “old Glory”? If so, prepare for the backlash that would come from such a suggestion, and if not, then you are a hypocrite.
    and by the way, Segregation was not isolated in the South, it was an institution that flourished over many parts of the U.S.
    I am the heir of Confederate veterans,and a true Son of the South, as many of you profess to be. The only difference is, I am not sheep. I do not spit in the face of my forefathers, simply because the media, or federal education tells me that I should. The Confederate States was not an act of treason, if it were, then at least SOMEONE would have been convicted of such, and yet none ever were. the rants on this message board from Yankees and scalawags alike sickens me. If you despise the south so much, then by all means leave it, and never look back.

  6. BrockTownsend

    January 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

    (Posted for Hamp, SWR who wasn’t able to post for some reason. BT)

    “If my Great Great Grandfather and his fellow soldiers from the 10th Texas Cavalry were here today, the idiots waving the Battle Flag in Jena would be dispatched with extreme prejudice, and you Sir along with them. Isn’t it fun putting matters of history into context?”

    Hamp, Texan

  7. keith

    January 22, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Just like the flag of the United States, the Confederate battle flag is just a piece of cloth. But, like the American flag, it’s how it’s being used (and what it stands for in people’s minds) that matters.

    And, although I grew up in the North, my family and I traveled extensively back and forth between New Hampshire and Florida during my youth. As a child, I, too, remember seeing (and using) the separate drinking fountains and toilets for “whites” and “colored”. Likewise, I still have a picture indelibly affixed in my mind of the “Motel Colored” signs we used to pass. I also recall asking my parents a simple question about it all….”Why”?

    Fortunately, the blatantly far-right, fundamentalist Presidential campaigns of Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Fred Thompson are both now on “life support” and will soon “tank”. And, with each new generation, as a nation, we are starting…starting…to move beyond such bigotry, hatred and white supremacy.

    There is no more proof of that fact than the Presidential candidacies of BOTH Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. The fact that they are even serious contenders is evidence that the vast majority of us are starting to leave whatever prejudices we may still have at the door when it comes time to cast our votes.

    On the other hand, I’m concerned that all the “illegal immigration” talk now being whipped up by the likes of Messrs. Huckabee, Fred Thompson (and others) are simply an attempt to change the intended target of people’s bigotry and racism from people of color to people who just happen to speak Spanish. Likewise, is not Mr. Bush’s talk about the “war on terror” just another example of pandering to people’s Islamophobia?

    Thankfully, such racism and bigotry, too, seem to now be falling on ever-more-deaf (spelled: “educated and enlightened”) ears.

    But, sadly, we ain’t there yet….

  8. old_curmudgeon

    January 22, 2008 at 10:00 am

    As then symbolism of what the Stars and Bars used to stand for has been usurped by those who do not understand the history of the South the symbolism of what the Stars and Stripes used to stand for by those supposedly native born for purposes of which no American can (or should) be proud of. In both cases the symbolism has been stained, denegrated, usurped, and degraded such that those who understand are shamed of what it has been now made to represent. When I traveled the world (in a past life) I could always spot the American (tourist or military) with their loud attire or loud mouth but generally speaking they (we) were respected and treated in accordance with our behavior, generally. I was spat upon once for wearing the uniform by a pretty young lady in San Francisco International airport in March of 1973. Once was enough. I do not travel outside the US anymore. The republicans rail against those who they think advocate isolationism in world affairs but they have themselves created a situation where we are being isolated by the rest of the world. I sometimes, when I dwell upon it too long, shake with the anger of what they have done to us. I shake with shame for what we have allowed them to do to us and what they do to the rest of the world in our name. And them I go away and don’t think about it for awhile.

    p.s. As Sinclair Lewis said, (and I hope I quote correctly), “when facism comes it will be draped in a flag and carrying a cross…” Time to look around and open our eyes, I think.

    But FWIW, that’s just this old curmudgeon’s opinion. Have a nice day, y’all.

  9. ekaton

    January 22, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    “I sometimes, when I dwell upon it too long, shake with the anger of what they have done to us. I shake with shame for what we have allowed them to do to us and what they do to the rest of the world in our name.”

    Not to mention the fact that its costing us at least $750 BILLION DOLLAS a year for the military budget and for the two wars currently underway. Most of this is borrowed money that must be repaid with interest.

    The military, even in “peacetime”, which is not often, is bloated beyond all belief. Military contractors from largest to smallest rip us off bigtime. Whenever I hear there is no more money for “entitlements” like Social Security and Medicare and possibly a single-payer national health care system I become enraged. $750 billion for war, but no money for social security or health care. BOLLOCKS!! as they say in England. BOLLOCKS.

    OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!

    — Kent Shaw

  10. Sandra Price

    January 22, 2008 at 10:45 am

    This division of hatred is even found in the west. I spent my summers in several Idaho lake regions and have heard from my friends and relatives that these regions are now filled with skin heads. Even Montana and Utah are filled with bands of unAmerican racists.

    I wonder if the academics in our public schools have planted the seeds of racism. I don’t know as my kids along with me attended private schools which were bi-racial and loaded with Jewish kids. I know my kids and they learned all about equality in America and when they left the dorms at Berkeley rented apartments in Oakland where they were often the only white faces.

    We have the Social Conservatives doing their damnest to divide Americans into groups of hatred. They turned me off of the Republican Party.

    Now it seems that the Democrats are guilty of the same division. The news analyists tell us how the whites voted and how the blacks voted and how certain candidates should cater to one or the other. I’m accustomed to the GOP doing this; but the Democrats?

  11. Thomas Bonsell

    January 22, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Another view about flag.

    I take slightly different view of what the Confederate flag represents. It was not part of the South before the Civil War, therefore it didn’t represent slavery or racism. It wasn’t part of the South after the Civil War, therefore it didn’t represent Jim Crow laws, segregation or hate and prejudice.

    The Confederate flag only represented that time in history when the South was waging treason and subversion against the United States. It is best to remember the Confederate flag as a symbol of treason. Even though it has now been adopted to represent white supremacy, it still is all about treason.

  12. yarply

    January 22, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    States have the right to withdraw from The Union. Individual states “joined” the US and have the right to withdraw. From MANY states (individual countries) became one country through agreement. States joined the Union under (contractual) agreement. If the party (Union) joined too, no longer lives up to, or exceeds the agreement, the contract,, as all contracts may, may then be made void. States joined the Union by treaty (contract). If you join a country club by signing a contract and the country club does not abide by the terms, you may withdraw from the club. Same principle.

    Do states have a right of secession? In his recently published book, “The Real Lincoln,” Thomas DiLorenzo marshals abundant unambiguous evidence that virtually every political leader of the time and earlier believed that states had a right of secession.

    Let’s look at a few quotations. Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address said, “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left to combat it.” Fifteen years later, after the New England Federalists attempted to secede, Jefferson said, “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation … to a continuance in the union …. I have no hesitation in saying, ‘Let us separate.'”

    At Virginia’s ratification convention, the delegates said, “The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” In Federalist Paper 39, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, cleared up what “the people” meant, saying the proposed Constitution would be subject to ratification by the people, “not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.” In a word, states were sovereign; the federal government was a creation, an agent, a servant of the states.

    Evidently the idea of self determination is a dying principle.

    http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=1543

  13. keith

    January 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Kent, I’m as frustrated over these issues as you are.

    But you also have to remember that feeding all this (mostly borrowed) tax money to the “military industrial complex” in the USA keeps hundreds of thousands of jobs from going overseas (they can’t export them for security reasons).

    It also keeps those hundreds of thousands of workers EMPLOYED and off the welfare rolls…which is where they’d most likely be if it weren’t working in the military (or for the defense contractors that support it).

    That’s because such skills are usually not-transferable to the private sector. That is, when was the last time some company built an air launched cruise missile for eventual sale at Macy’s?

    It is also critically important to remember when we are talking about ending Mr. Bush’s totally illegal, so-called “preemptive” war strategy that the average Congresspersons’s idea of “government waste” is a dollar spent in someone else’s district.

    Sadly, in FAR too many ways, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become little more than multi-billion dollar “jobs programs” to help keep US workers employed and the unemployment rate down.

    Unfortunately, STOPPING those wars anytime soon is going to toss a whole lot MORE people out of work right here in the USA because the idea of FEEDING that portion of our economy with tax dollars has now become so throughly and hopelessly entrenched.

  14. Bwana

    January 23, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Yea, lets keep murdering folks so the unemployment rate stays down.

  15. peccavi

    January 22, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    just because a symbol has been co-opted by some people to be used as a symbol of racism, and some take offense doesn’t mean that you can discount the fact that it is a differant symbol for others who take pride in it. the cross is a symbol the clan uses as often, should we remove all crosses too?

    Socially liberal, fiscally conservative… constitutionalist, libertarian…
    empower & encourage people to take care of themselves.
    the solution isn’t always to throw more $ at the proplem.

  16. yarply

    January 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Unfortunately, The Battle Flag of the Confederacy has, as many symbols have been, been labeled. Especially by the many who wish to equate with something a bad image. Some,, maybe many have forgotten or never have known, what the Civil War was actually originally about. States rights, individual whites freedom and money issues (taxes). That was the reason many states seceded from the country of The United States. That was the whole reason for the beginning of the war. States had gotten fed up with the FEDS, and wanted to retain their liberty and run their own states as was their right,, and not to be dominated by a federal government, telling them and over seeing what they do, as they do now. As is with most things, The Civil War was mostly about money and who runs whose life. States rights were and are in a way equated to individual liberty. The each man is a King principle.

    The Federal government wanted each state to be under its thumb as a duplicate of itself and once achieved the individual comes under the thumb of the state, which is under the thumb of the Fed.

    The states did not say, The North wants us to free the slaves so we are going to secede. No, the whole issue of abolishing slavery was inserted into the issue to confuse the populace and make the “north” seem righteous.
    Again the Fed did not say we are freeing the slaves and then a civil war broke out.

    Don’t get me wrong, slavery was a bad thing which had and would have ended eventually as it did in England and other European countries. But was a war which killed over 600,000 people really about that from the beginning?
    Was the Confederate Battle Flag about Racism?
    No, The battle flag was really about an idea or a symbol, of a spirit of battling, for states rights and individual freedom, which unfortunately at the time did not include the blacks in this country.
    What it means now is an issue which changes from which perspective you look at it and what it means to each individual person. An ignorant racist may look at it and say white power, but an informed and educated man may look at it and think something quite different.

  17. Bwana

    January 23, 2008 at 12:18 am

    One of the Carolinas was taxed more than all of the norhtern states combined.

  18. 33rdSt

    January 28, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    The facts, my good sir, do not support your assertions nor your conclusions. The war began when South Carolinians fired on Fort Sumter. South Carolinians stated their view of the “problem” in their Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession. (copies many places but here is one link: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/csa/scarsec.htm

    That document goes into great detail to enumerate the threat to the institution of slavery that South Carolinians collectively see in the acts of other states. They site in particulare the third clause of Article IV, Section 2. concerning fugitive servicemen and laborers. They harangue about the fact that many northern states have chosen to abolish slavery and that the Mason Dixon line has been established as a general line of demarcation between those that do and those that do not allow slavery within their borders.

    This exercise of states rights is imbued with great power to threaten the rights of southern states to continue to allow slavery. Yet every effort in the national legislature and in the state legislatures up to that point to make abolition a national objective had been defeated; abolishing slavery in Massachusetts did NOT include an insistence that slaves in Alabama likewise be freed.

    Even Mr. Lincoln in his campaign for the presidency was explicit that no state that then permitted slavery should be forced to end that practice by the national government. (If you are in want of sources on this point, see Doris Kearns Goodwin’s marvelous book, “Team of Rivals”.)

    South Carolina wanted states rights to mean it could keep its slaves but apparently wanted to bar northern states from freeing theirs through national intervention in order to protect their own perception of the future of slavery. A most disingenuous ploy and a fairly clear example that “states rights” was a motto that really meant “what we want, not what they want”.

    For this assertion, many on both sides died a needless death. There was no honor here, other than the bravery of those who died for their flag.

    The CSA battle flag then became a rallying symbol for generations who sought to impose de facto slavery where the actual practice was banned by the 13th amendment. For this history, it is seen by many as a threat to the freedom and safety of those whose ancestors were lynched, raped, burned out, and otherwise forced to endure untold horrors solely because their ancestors were forced to sail to America to serve the colonies. (None of my ancestors, fortunately.)

    I know a few who honor the flag out of love for the “real” south, the south of Robert E. Lee, a great gentleman and a great American despite his participation in the rebel army. The vast majority, however, have adopted the flag to give historical credence to prejudice and hatred. Hang it in your den or living room if you must but let’s put it out of public view, along with the swastikas and other symbols of hatred.

  19. bryan mcclellan

    January 22, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you Yarply for more ammunition in our fight to re-float our Liberty Ship!

  20. Paolo

    January 22, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Yarply is right! Doug is wrong!

    The South was right that the individual states had every right to secede from the Union. Lincoln was an evil, racist, opportunistic politician.

    I somewhat agree with Doug, however, in choosing not to display the Stars and Bars, on the pragmatic reason that it will automatically be misinterpreted as a symbol of support for racism. This does not, however, mean that secession is dead as a political principle. In purely pragmatic terms, it is best to use a different symbol to demonstrate support for the very honorable and non-racist concept of secession. Maybe the original “Don’t Tread on Me” flag is the best symbol.

    Mike Huckabee is, of course, an opportunistic politician. I wouldn’t believe a word he says.

    I stand by the idea, however, that the South (or any individual state) has the right to secede from the union. To argue against this is to argue that the states had no right to secede from Britain. Secession is a very important option that must be left to the states as a bulwark against central government tyranny.

  21. bryan mcclellan

    January 23, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Lets hear it for the Gadsden flag,I have one on my door,a fitting statement for these times!www.gadsden.info/flag.html

  22. DejaVuAllOver

    January 22, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    And do you think it’s any accident that those same southern states are the ones filled to the brim with born-again fundamentalist Christians (like Baptists, for example)who think George Bush is a great guy and have absolutely no problem whatsoever with invading Middle Eastern countries which did us no harm whatsoever, all in the name of Israel, the Old Testament and the (purely fabricated) “rapture?” Or, to put it more bluntly, the people that think Blacks and Arabs are lowlife and should be slaves to Whites and Jews?

  23. yarply

    January 23, 2008 at 12:33 am

    I guess its our burden to bear such stuff.

  24. almandine

    January 23, 2008 at 12:08 am

    That’s a crafty little edit !!!

  25. Warren

    January 23, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Thanks for being yourself again.

    There are several good comments that have come from this rant. Certainly all of us reject racism, and to the extent that some see the Confederate flag as its symbol, we sympathize.

    To other people that flag is not so much a symbol of racism but more is a symbol of rebellion against an intolerable, overbearing federal government. We can sympathize with that as well.

    It’s all about which symbols represent what for who.

    Yin and Yang.

  26. bryan mcclellan

    January 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    One who chooses to paint is apt to be sloppy when using an overly large brush,NO?