I Don’t Get the Confederate Flag

Sometimes when I sit down so late at night I don’t now what to write about. My day’s been a blur and I can’t pull one idea to expand upon. At those times I turn to the news and looks for something interesting. I usually find something.

The Confederate flag. It’s been steeped in a lot of controversy lately, and frankly I don’t understand. A lot of Southern states use the flag or a portion of the flag in the state symbols. South Carolina is currently being boycotted because of it. Today 1,500 people marched on the Alabama state capitol in support of the Confederate flag. They want it returned to its “rightful position” atop the capitol building.

For me the Confederate flag has always been a symbol for hatred. It reminds me of rednecks, prejudice, and those who support slavery. I remember it emblazoned on the hood of the Dodge Charger in the ‘Dukes of Hazard’–and I never quite knew why. I vividly remember it in the back window of a beat up pick-up driven by the two white antagonists in the movie A Time To Kill. Unfortunately, those two men sum up my view of the Confederate flag. If you haven’t seen the movie, in the opening stages they beat and rape an eight year old girl, use her for target practice, and leave her for dead.

Now granted that’s quite a stereotype. Don’t think I’m saying anyone who is in favor of the Confederate flag is a rapist. I know that’s not true. But those are the images that come to my mind when I see the stars and bars. I can’t deny that. What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to uphold that image. Some claim it’s a symbol of their heritage. I can understand that, but I can’t help but ask why you would want to glorify such a fallen part of your heritage. If you were lifting it up to serve as a reminder of wicked times, a deterrent of sorts, I could see the logic. But I don’t think that’s how people see the Confederate flag. It’s never flown with feelings of grief and sorrow. It’s always flown with feelings of intense and rabid pride.

Why would you want to proudly glorify a heritage of slavery? Maybe I don’t understand the issues. Maybe I don’t understand the Civil War. I have always been amazed at the war that pitted brother against brother. I’ve never completely understood why that war took place. The South wanted slavery, the North didn’t. The North attempted to force the South to emancipate, they ceded from the Union and formed their own country (perhaps I’m simplifying too much, sorry, I’m not a history major). But rather than let the South go their own way and have their fun, Lincoln did something else. He went to war to force the South to be part of our country. You don’t want to be part of this country, but guess what? I’m going to make you. You have to be. I’ve never really understood that. After so many years have passed it makes sense. We needed a united country. But to my modern mind it doesn’t make sense. If someone disagrees with you that strongly you let them go. But apparently not.

But what I don’t understand is why anyone would look back on those years and what the Confederacy stood for and what to glorify that. Maybe I don’t understand the Confederacy. Maybe I need to do some research. But it seems to me they were looking out for their livelihood–which was based on slavery. Why glorify that?

In my mind the Confederate flag is a symbol of bigotry and hatred. It’s synonymous with the Nazi swastika. As a country trying and failing to overcome racial intolerance, I think we need to leave some things behind.

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