New York Times: As Trump Rises, So Do Some Hands Waving Confederate Battle Flags
Let me give you my qualifications to speak about the Confederate Battle flag;
- I am white southern male that owns a pickup truck and I have lived my entire life in the south. For some that would be enough, but here’s more.
- My ancestors fought, died, lost limbs and eyes for the Confederacy. Not one or two but many fathers and sons on both sides of my lineage, enough to stunt a generation.
- My ancestors suffered immense economic harm because of the civil war.
- I can find no proof or documentation that any of my ancestors were slave owners so they fought and sacrificed for a different reason.
I will make this real simple because it really is very simple, once upon a time, a long, long time ago the Confederate Flag was a symbol of our Southern heritage, because honestly that is all Southerns were left with. But during the 1950’s and 60’s a few Southern states decided one beat down by the Union wasn’t enough. They didn’t like the way the federal government was sticking their nose in their business, the segregation business (watch the movie Mississippi Burning). So this symbol, this insignia flown outside of homes and on government buildings to remind us, Southerns, of the sacrifices our ancestors made in a losing effort, became a symbol not of pride but hate, and racism.
Now there are still some who contend that it is an emblem of their heritage. But these people stand in stark contrast to those individuals and groups who have hijacked this symbol and use it for their anthem of hate. Sadly this mindset has been passed down from grandfathers, to fathers, to a 21-year-old kid that killed nine African-Americans in the basement of their Church during a prayer service in Charleston, SC.
I am sorry for those few people who genuinely respect and honor the history of the Confederate Battle flag but that honor has been drained. When I see it flying on the side of homes or as a bumper sticker on the back of someone’s vehicle it no longer provides me with warm feelings about who I am or what my culture sacrificed. I think of hate, intolerance, racism, segregation and I think about the people who have been affected by hate, intolerance, racism, and segregation.
For me, a white Southern male, the Confederate Battle flag has gone the way of Hitler’s swastika. It is a harsh reality but one that I accept and one that I am afraid there is no turning back from. The imagery of this symbol now has a sixty plus year history of bigotry and hate which is no longer simply confined to the Southern states. As the New York Times article pointed out, the flag appeared at Trump rally’s in far away places like Colorado and Michigan. States, that at least in the history books that I have read, weren’t part of the confederacy, or in my Southern vernacular, “didn’t have a dawg in the fight”. So why was it there? Why would someone bring a Confederate flag to a Trump rally in Michigan? I will let you decide what the message was.