Skip to comments.Confederate Flag represents both heritage and hate
Posted on 03/05/2008 6:38:02 PM PST by Rebeleye
Does the Confederate battle flag represent heritage or hatred? The answer is yes. It represents a heritage that included hatred.
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The American Civil War is unique in that the federal government sought to restore rather than destroy the rebels. The winners chose to honor the losers. Its true that plenty of exploitation went on following the Civil War, including political corruption and carpetbaggers who came down from the North to prey on the disaffected Southerners and snap up failing estates. Still, the Union pursued an overarching theme of reconciliation. Men who raised arms against their country were granted a presidential pardon. Even the generals, who resigned their position with the Union army in order to fight against it, were pardoned in full.
The United States immortalizes soldiers who fought on both sides of the conflict, erecting monuments in honor of both Confederate and Union victories. As such, the Confederacy has been venerated rather than condemned in American history.
Its no surprise that many Georgians still cling to the image of a noble Confederacy. Georgia is the home of die-hards. We value independence. We mistrust Big Government. We are proud and we are stubborn, and we consider it an honor when someone tells us so.
We are also a family-oriented people, bound to revere the blood that once spilled on the grass, yet still flows through our own veins. It is natural that we want to honor and defend our Confederate ancestors who probably never even owned slaves, and fought valiantly for what they believed was right.
As Lincoln famously stated when dedicating the battlefield at Gettysburg, It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. And we do. Thousands of acres of fields and monuments, numerous museums, battalions of re-enactors, along with dozens of country tunes, ghost stories, and an entire genre of literature ensure that we will never forget.
But is it altogether fitting and proper to continue flying the Confederate flag and indeed, not just any Confederate flag but the actual battle flag over public buildings in Georgia today? Can white Georgians claim the right to keep waving that emblem in the face of other Georgians who experienced attacks and demonstrations, feared lynching, and faced every kind of discrimination?
Perhaps we can, legally but that does not mean we should. I applaud the City of Ringgold for taking a stand back in 2005 when the city council voted 3-2 to remove the flag. I applaud the city again today for standing firm against pressure and even lawsuits from radical extremists.
As for historical accuracy, the city has done its homework and determined that the blue and white flag of Gen. Patrick Cleburne was the flag flown at the depot during the Civil War. At the Battle of Ringgold Gap, no flag was flying; it was an ambush.
If historical authenticity is the goal, the city already has the right flag flying. But what if the goal is something else? Consider the battle over Georgias state flag, for example.
Those who pine for the real Georgia flag are not aiming for historical accuracy. The flag of 1956 had never before been a Georgia state flag. In fact, no previous Georgia flag featured the Confederate battle cross. The flag of 1956 was introduced as an act of resistance against Civil Rights progress especially Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregated education unlawful. Adding the Confederate battle cross to the Georgia state flag was clearly a slap in the face of black Georgians, and many still feel its sting.
Ironically, the United Daughters of the Confederacy spoke against the adoption of the 1956 flag, warning that it would cause strife. They upheld the then-current Georgia flag as a more pure commemoration of the Confederacy. In fact, the pre-1956 flag was almost a replica of the stars and bars flown as the first national flag of the Confederacy. The Perdue flag that we fly today is also based closely on that Confederate flag.
If Georgians ever want a historically accurate flag that does not stir up racial tensions, one is available. The original Georgia flag depicted the state seal on a field of deep blue no stars, no bars, and no battle emblems.
Does the Confederate battle flag represent heritage or hatred? The answer is yes. It represents a heritage that included hatred. Humans were bought and sold like livestock and our culture declared that such practices were condoned or even mandated by God. Hatred also reigned during the 50s (and before and after) when crosses were burned and bombs were detonated in Catoosa County. Hatred still clings to the Southern culture today. Hatred is not always passionate and fiery. It may manifest in simple disregard. Hatred may say, This is my right, and I dont care who it hurts.
For some people, waving that rebel flag is a way to curse the present times when they must compete alongside people of color in the job market. Their romanticism of the Old South knows no bounds. Its as if these people watched Gone with the Wind and believed that life was really like that. They imagine debutante parties on big plantations, black slaves who loved their bonds and were considered part of the masters family well, the cotton-picking part of the family anyway.
Perhaps these would-be Confederates imagine that if the North had not intervened, they would be standing on a balcony with a woman in a big hoop skirt while a black person stood by silently fanning them, like a human appliance. Of course, this reality existed only for a few. The truth is that there were as many poor white people in Georgia as there were black slaves.
If these Sons of Confederates want to get back the Good Ole Days, they ought to climb into their overalls and start picking cotton. Thats what most of our Southern ancestors did. They worked the land, they scraped by, and they were lucky if they had a pair of shoes on their feet. In many ways, their life was not much different than the black slaves who worked the fields of the rich. But at least they were free.
The rest of us are happy to honor dead Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line once in a while and with historical perspective. We can appreciate the ideals behind the struggle and the bravery of those involved without condoning the more sinister agendas that propelled both sides into battle. We know the history, and we have no desire to turn back the clock.
For those who insist on flying the Confederate flag just fly it on your own property. Fly the Bonnie Blue secession flag bearing a single star. Fly the battle flag with St. Andrews cross. Fly the 1956 segregation flag. Fly a swastika if you prefer. But do not pretend that your actions dont hurt or anger some of your neighbors, and embarrass the rest of us.
Jeannie may be contacted at email@example.com, or you can leave a public comment on her blog at JeannieBabbTaylor.com..
So does the seal of the Democrat Party.
It represents independence and the rebel. That is all.
The Stars and Stripes flew over slavery for 80 years before the Rebel Flag was ever conceived. Shall we get rid of that, too?
The War of Northern Aggression
How about all those British Flags seen around the USA. We had two wars with those people.
Ban the Union Jack
Who let the boobs out? This is about the 5th anti-confederate flag screed that’s been published in the last week. What gives?
British flags represent the corruption of King George, the softness of the NorthEast liberal academe that has crept down from where the Brits and their supporters were chased after the American Revolution.......
Rather, the War of the Rebellion to Further the Promulgation of Slavery.
FTA: “The winners honored the losers.”
Like hell they did! Yankee occupation was horrendous. They treated Southerners like sh!t.
Revisionism is such a pathetic weakness of cowards, and revisionist history is ample proof of that.
Actually, the British were chased from the North while they continued in the South. The last battle was in Virginia (Yorktown) after the last campaign from South Carolina to Virginia. The Northern Continental army was led by Washington from New Jersey down to Virginia to bottle up the British (with the crucial help of the French Fleet).
So young fellow, get a clue.
How many of those are alive today? Not many, I'd imagine.
Perhaps this little contretemps is about something else. Such as the full-scale attack on Southern heritage and traditional values everywhere by liberal twits like the writer quoted abovewhich began well before the (unconstitutional) Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954.
Hey Bud, I have a clue. You get one. After the war, British sympathizers that couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of not being subjects of the King were forced into Canada, kapich? Your history has some expanding to do.
NOBODY has been better at the historical revisionist game than Southern historians, who have successfully pushed the ahistorical myth that the Civil War "had nothing to do about slavery."