Saturday, July 11, 2015

You Cannot Justify the Confederate Flag Flying on Public Property; but maybe in your own yard.

This year has been eye opening for an old Pacific NW white woman.  I knew racism was alive, but I didn't realize it was doing so well. Police brutality, a church massacre, church burnings, and the revelation that the Confederate flag still flies on public property, not only in the South, but right here in Western Washington! 

There used to be a house along highway 302 that sported a Confederate flag.  It infuriated me when we drove past it on the way to the beach.  I'd tell my husband how I'd like to come in the night and cut down the pole! My constitutionalist husband pointed out that as hateful as it was, the home owner had a perfect right to fly it.  They may not have been the home owner.  After a while the flag went away and appeared at a dilapidated house in Shelton which we still passed on our way to the coast and then even that went away.  I'd like to think that neighbors complained, but I realize that Dave was right.  As heinous as that flag is, individuals have the protection of the constitution to express their political beliefs on their own property.

That said, I cannot believe that the battle flag of traitors who created a nation that went to war with the Union in order to maintain a way of life that had been built on the blood of slaves, is allowed on public property.  Pride? What is there to be proud about? What is there to be nostalgic about? Unfortunately, Gone with the Wind romanticized the South and made us feel sorry for poor Scarlet whose way of life was destroyed, but her steadfast mammy stuck by her because she was such a good slave. That gentle, mannerly way of life was made possible by the enslavement of human beings.

People spend summers recreating Civil War Battles.  I wonder if there are reenacting groups who recreate WWII battles or concentration camps?

Germany has gone to great pains to prevent Nazism from being venerated the way the Confederacy is here.  Their neo-Nazis have glommed onto the Confederate flag as a sign of hate to replace the Swastika they are not supposed to fly.  As Larry Wilmore pointed out on his program, the Confederate flag is a racist back-up flag for an illegal racist flag.  I am of German, albeit a long time ago, extraction and I feel only shame about the Nazis.  The Swastika is a widely agreed on symbol of hate, the same as the Confederate flag.  Why else does the KKK carry the Confederate flag and sometimes the Swastika if this is not so? They are proud; proud of their hate.

On Facebook I've shared quite a lot about the S. Carolina flag coming down and this morning received a message from a FB friend attempting to bully me into stopping.  I was accused of sending him "political mush." Is that like "apple sauce" or "jiggery-pokery?" Clearly he has little idea of how FB works, but I have very nearly unfriended a different and racist friend, but isn't the public square about the exchange of ideas and doesn't our constitution protect freedom of speech?  I did unfriend someone once for being downright nasty so I can sympathize with someone highly offended.  That was before you could hide yourself from particular people. I suggested that this mornings outraged friend hide me, but maybe I should do it for him.  Or maybe not. I do have the courage of my convictions.

I briefly thought that maybe racists ought to be forced to fly the Confederate flag so we "could know them by their limping."  But I might be more surprised than ever by how many would (and may) go up, so maybe it's not a great idea.  I am gobsmacked by how far we haven't come in 150 years, especially the last 60. I take heart from the fact that I've lived to see a Black man in the oval office and may live long enough to see a woman.  I am not without hope, the hope the President has always spoken about.