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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Heritage or Hate?


Once again a great deal of controversy has arisen over the public display of the Confederate battle flag – “That damned Red Flag of the Rebellion” and I am not going to try to defend it one way or another because it is a question which I have yet to resolve. All I am going to do is present the facts, as I know them without attempting to claim infallibility.

     §  The Confederate battle flag is not the Confederate National flag yet it does appear on later issues of the Confederate National.

  That being the case, does it not then represent the Confederate government and what it espoused?

  The Ku Klux Klan adopted the Confederate battle flag in the 1950’s during the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement.

  The Klan of the 1860’s claimed their members represented the ghosts of dead Confederates.

  The Klan of the 1860’s terrorized Blacks, scalawags, carpetbaggers, and Northerners. 

  The Klan of 1915 flew the U.S. flag until the 1950’s.

  The “new” Klan terrorized Blacks, Whites, Catholics, Jews, Foreigners, and Communists.

 The 20th Century Klan ran clear through the Bible Belt of the Midwest.

§  During the Civil War, the battle flag represented the enemies of the United States and was treated with as much disrespect as Confederates treated the U. S. flag.

§  The Confederate battle flag today is very closely associated with:
    Slavery

   Rebellion

   Being ignorant

 Being redneck
   
 Being Southern

 Representing an honorable heritage

The concept of it representing “Heritage not Hate” raises a more problematic question.

  What is the Heritage, which it represents?

 Why did men and women support secession?

 What was the “Lost Cause”?

      These questions need to be addressed honestly and historically, not to insult people, not to make them feel bad about their forebears having served in the Confederate army but to answer why they sided with the Confederacy.

What mystical bond, tied the individual to a particular creed or country?

The Confederate battle flag is either vilified or revered.

                    It is not the cause of the debate but it stirs up deep personal questions about why it is so divisive. 
                  
                 §  Some argue that the Confederate battle flag represents the army not the Confederate government.

 Has anyone ever tried to objectively address why the men on both sides joined the armies?

 Has anyone attempted a systematic study of what the veterans said about why they enlisted?

Have we relied too much on the writings of polemicists like Jubal Early and Edward Pollard to explain the causes of the Rebellion?

Maybe if we answered those questions, we would be able to form a more balanced perspective on the battle flag issue.



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