Confederate Flags – Symbols of Hate or Heritage?

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Stop the insanity!

Taking down a flag, or a monument, or stomping out a cultural identity is wrong. Isn’t it?

I’m sure that Native Americans could weigh in on that statement. Or for that matter African Americans?

Lets face it, Dylann Roof is NUTS! That’s pretty obvious, let’s call it what it is.  Roof claims that his attitude changed during the Travon Martin insanity.

Roof claims that he kept hearing about it, he got curious and after looking it all up on the internet he decided that a race war was necessary.

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Okay, so why aren’t we banning the internet, or the news media? Obviously roof is a special kind of nuts to boot. What kind of psychopath can sit in a room participating in prayer then kill the people he was worshiping with?

All that aside, would we be banning the American Flag or the Gadsden, or the flag of the Union if he’d been photographed holding one of them?

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I agree that the Confederate flag should be removed from various statehouses and government buildings.

In point of fact I thought the Confederate flag HAD been removed from those facilities decades ago. It’s well past time. I was surprised that any state buildings were still flying it. States like Mississippi will have a bit more trouble not flying the Confederate flag but only until they redesign their state flag

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I don’t however agree that the Confederate flag be stricken from all sales outlets, or erased from history. Yet that seems to be exactly what is happening. I really have a problem when monuments to southern leaders, are being defaced, and confederate flags are forbidden in games, or over confederate burial sites.

Being raised in the South I remember seeing the Confederate flag but it wasn’t all over the place. It was mostly a point of heritage, pride in the South, more like a celebration of southern culture. Which as many people who’ve visited the South discover, is pleasantly different from other areas of the country.

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I was at an event last night where I met a California Native who’d just returned from their first visit to the deep south. They were gushing about how polite people were. They were impressed that even the panhandlers were nice and didn’t curse at passersby who didn’t put money in their collection hat. Yeah, it’s become common in LA that panhandlers get nasty if you don’t give them money. Go Figure!

The point is, when someone visits the South they’re often amazed at how different the reality of the place is from their preconceived notions. Sure the South has problems, and stupid people, and even crazy people. But it also has charm, grace, and history.

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As a southerner I have zero patience for those who bash the South having never been there.  I may live in California, but my heart is still southern, when folks start painting the South with that broad brush saying things like; “Everyone in the South are bigots. Well, you know how ignorant they are down there.” I tend to get a bit spun up.

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I’ve visited confederate sites all over the South, does that make me a bigot, a hater, a racist, or a potential murderer of a bible study group?

NOPE! It makes me a person who visited those sites and who saw battlefields where hundreds, or thousands of men died. These are places of sorrow. Not because the South lost, but because of the waste, and the bitterness that precipitated the civil war.

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Contrary to popular belief it wasn’t ONLY about slavery. There were other components; like states rights, federal over-reach, business, and commerce. Slavery was a part of it but not the only part.

As a southerner visiting these sites it’s painfully obvious that secession was ultimately wrong because that action led inevitably to war. I’m really offended when someone says, “The South Lost, get over it.”

I’m offended mainly because you don’t need to tell a southerner the outcome of the civil war, anymore than you need to tell a black person they’re black or a jew what happened at Auschwitz.

Southerners know that confederate money isn’t going to come back in vogue, the South isn’t going to “Rise Again” and slavery was wrong. We know these things through the lens of history. In fact most of us aren’t looking behind and living in the past, we’re looking forward and trying to forge a future.

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The KKK is… or was, dying. I suspect that in less than a generation it wouldn’t have been able to sustain itself because first of all it’s outlawed, and second it hadn’t been gaining converts. That all may change now.

This change might not be due to renewed racism, but due to folks who believe they’re “our betters” once again telling southerners what they are, (racist, evil, stupid, bigots), and then trying to tell southerners how to live and think while continuing the “stupid southerners, racist southerners” chant.

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I can’t get over the Orwellian direction our country has apparently taken. Are we really wanting to “Memory Hole” anything and everything  that we don’t like? If we do and become a “Society of the NOW” won’t we be opening ourselves to repeating the mistakes of the past?

As a Southerner I can tell you, in my life and the lives of most of my peers the confederate flag exists in our psyche in its proper context.

It is not a rallying cry for racism. It’s a symbol of a place in common, a point of origin that is different from every other place in the country.

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A unique place where thunderstorms, red clay, water skiing, boats of all shapes & sizes, and fireflies dancing on a warm evening breeze, live forever in our memories. We come from a place where being polite is important and where we call Steel Magnolias, “Mom”.

Taking the flag out of our sight will not change those who are racists, nor will it change substantially the character of the South and is therefore an empty gesture.

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However, since so many people are all about erasing the Confederate battle flag I propose one of  these two flags as the new flag of Southern Heritage. These flags are clean, inoffensive, and exemplify the new realities of our “Brave Society”.

Just a thought…