I hate that so many government entities have fallen all over each other in their haste to pretend that the Confederate battle flag never existed. It’s one thing when segments of the general population have a thoroughly negative reaction to the symbol. After another horribly disturbed young mass murderer poses with the flag, what can you expect?
Knee jerk reaction on the basis of emotion and with little regard to rational thought is not something we should value in our government officials, though. And yet now, in the heat of the moment, we have state and local politicians in the South scouring every logo, seal and symbol in a desperate effort to find and eradicate the slightest trace of stars and bars. I don’t like it.
Hundreds of thousands of decent young men with no stake at all in the slavery issue followed that banner out of loyalty and devotion to their homeland–deep rooted American traits that, in years to come, the country depended on for it’s very survival, and still does. As an aside, I think it would be interesting to find out what percentage of our military ranks are filled with people from former Confederate states.
The topic is complicated far beyond that fact, though–too complicated for a simple blog post–but I will say that the sorry state of education in this country has a lot to do with it. Too many people react to historical events as though they were subject to today’s legal standards, cultural conditions, moral sensibilities, Tweets and Facebook posts.
Let’s face it, the Stars and Bars has been demonized for quite a while now. Why? Well, that’s a deep subject. Go back just a little bit farther, though, (Before Obama) and the symbol wasn’t as evil. You didn’t see sponsors running from the Dukes of Hazard or Smokey and the Bandit like their hair was on fire.
Forget going into a bar. In the America I remember, a guy could go to damn Disney World wearing a rebel flag T-shirt and nobody would give him a second look. Okay, maybe somebody thinks, “stupid redneck,” in which case that person and the guy wearing the T-shirt are both satisfied with themselves and go on their merry way. (Doesn’t apply if somebody actually said the words.)
A black person might look at the flag on the guy’s shirt and think, “If that had to be part of my heritage, I’m lucky that it happened in America, where the concept of freedom became so ingrained that it eventually overwhelmed the injustices the past…where we have opportunities today that we couldn’t even have dreamed about a mere 50 years ago…where that same unique concept of freedom fueled unheard-of prosperity that in some way or another touched even the most disadvantaged.
Okay, so the guy didn’t stop and think about all that, but it was there for the pondering. More than likely, he would have had more important things to think about and would have walked on, unoffended, perhaps considering the T-shirt and its wearer merely part of the diverse scenery. Let’s all try to find our way back to that America. It was a much nicer place to live.
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