Jumping on the bandwagon today to share my two cents (and that’s about all it’s worth) on the controversial confederate flag debate. It was a sad day when Dylann Roof took the lives of nine people at a church in downtown Charleston. Investigation is underway to determine the possibility of whether the case was a hate crime or an act of domestic terrorism. Quite frankly, does it really matter? The nine victims are still dead. Regardless of whether Roof killed these people because they were a certain social group, or if he did it in an effort to instill fear on a population to advance political or religious objectives, they’re still dead. Does it mean he will be prosecuted differently?
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Governor Haley calls for the Confederate Flag to be removed from the grounds of the state house. Yes, folks, taking down a flag will stop people from shooting each other. Too bad we didn’t know this 50 years ago. Perhaps if we’d taken Old Glory down during battle in Vietnam we could have saved 58,000 lives or more. Oh, and Wal-Mart has decided to stop selling all items promoting the Confederate flag. Way to go, Wal-Mart! Are you hearing this Target? Bet your sales could increase a lot!
I find it upsetting when people jump on the cause without first doing their research. Too many people are associating the Confederate flag with hate and discontent. Why? Because someone told them that’s what it stood for. The flag is used symbolically with rockabilly bands, organizations, including groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, historical societies such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Supporters say the flag represents only a past era of southern sovereignty. Yes, there are some immoral groups using the flag as their symbol. That does not dictate the meaning of the flag.
The diagonal cross, significant of strength and progress, with 13 stars was created was to presage the Confederacy; the government formed in 1861 by southern states that proclaimed their secession from the United States. The Confederacy was dissolved after the Civil War, however, the flag remains. The 13 stars equal the states of the confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Virginia.
The battle flag only grew in its identification with the Confederacy and the South in general, rebelling against a cause. The flag is part of our history. The Civil War. Men died. The Civil War soldiers were driven by political ideology, holding firm beliefs about the importance of liberty, Union, or state rights, or about the need to protect or to destroy slavery. Others fought to defend one’s home and family, or the honor and brotherhood to be preserved when fighting alongside other men. Most historians agree that, no matter what he thought about when he went into the war, the experience of combat affected him profoundly and sometimes affected his reasons for continuing to fight.
In a 2011 research poll 30% of Americans have a “negative reaction” when “they see the Confederate flag displayed – that percentage grows stronger every year because people tend to listen to what they hear instead of researching the heritage of what the flag actually stands for.
In some U.S. states the Confederate flag is given the same protection from burning and desecration as the U.S. flag. It is protected from being publicly mutilated, defiled, or otherwise cast in contempt by the laws of five U.S. states: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.
Taking down the flag is erasing part of American history. It’s wrong.