?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Metphistopheles Previous Previous Next Next
People who won't listen to Treason.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
People who won't listen to Treason....

We live a good 7-8 hours north of the Mason-Dixon line by car. (If you drive through Pennsylvania on I-81 or 79 in the summertime, figure more like 10.)  There's very little in-migration to this area from points south. And yet I feel I'm surrounded by idiots as this Confederate flag "issue" is debated.

Granted, the audience of one particular (particularly nutjobby) radio station is not a statistically valid sample, but take it for what it's worth when they played Poll The Idiots the other day about it:



Those numbers are likely about the same today, even after several other southern states began the removal process, and many major retailers announced or reaffirmed bans on the sale of the offensive flag.  And yet we have at least one highly-rated radio host going over the top about it, slippery-sloping his way to predictions that well, NEXT we'll have to take down the Stars and Stripes because it flew over slaves and other racism, and we'll need to take those slave-owning presidents off our money.

Bullpucky.

This debate isn't about stomping out every association of a symbol to every bad thing it was ever associated with. It's about taking away governmental legitimacy from a symbol which was bad in its inception and is being used badly now.

For me, at least, here's the clearest way to try to explain it.  Go back to September of 2001. Not 9/11 itself; those sights and sounds and feelings were visceral and horrible. No, try to remember how you were feeling on the 12th, once we knew more about the who behind the what.

I bet you were pissed. I know I was. And damn, I wanted revenge. I wanted a retaliatory strike on Mecca and a mushroom cloud rising over Kabul.  At that point, we didn't even know the extent of the carnage. By the time it was all sorted, the number killed, between the three sites, hit something north of 3,000.

Now, in hindsight, it's easier to compare. The Nazis killed thousands times more than that in single battles, never mind offing hundreds of thousands times more than that of their own Jewish people.  We lost far more in Korea, far more in Vietnam.  The latter war, I grew up with- I saw the pictures on the nightly news- but I never for a moment had that lizard-brain hatred of the Viet Cong that I did for Al-Qaeda on that horrible Day After- and I know exactly why:

Because this time, we were attacked on our own soil.

----

Think about it. For all our military might, we've gotten to play a pretty soft home schedule in our history. I grew up crawling under desks at school and learning to dread air raid sirens, but those were always just paranoia-induced Cold War drills. This country has not had exposure to enemy fire within its borders for more than 150 years, except on two occasions: December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001. Both were sneak air attacks, and neither included advancing troops killing our people under an enemy battle flag.

Guess who were the last ones to do THAT?

So you'll understand if there's a little sensitivity to that symbol being used at all in a cloaked attempt to "honor" or "respect."  Substitute the swastika for the Stars and Bars and you see how ludicrous it is.  And for the first post-war century, there was none of it: that symbol was used mainly to honor the dying generation of Confederate veterans, consigned to cemeteries and the memories left in museums where they belonged. At least it was until we fought another war and our Commander in Chief dared to desegregate the troops in its wake. What happened next?

In 1948, Strom Thurmond’s States’ Rights Party adopted the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia as a symbol of defiance against the federal government. What precisely required such defiance? The president’s powers to enforce civil rights laws in the South, as represented by the Democratic Party’s somewhat progressive platform on civil rights.

Georgia adopted its version of the flag design in 1956 to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling against segregated schools, in Brown v. Board of Education.

The flag first flew over the state capitol in South Carolina in 1962, a year after George Wallace raised it over the grounds of the legislature in Alabama, quite specifically to link more aggressive efforts to integrate the South with the trigger of secession 100 years before — namely, the storming of occupied Fort Sumter by federal troops. Fort Sumter, you might recall, is located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor.

Opposition to civil rights legislation, to integration, to miscegenation, to social equality for black people — these are the major plot points that make up the flag’s recent history. Not Vietnam. Not opposition to Northern culture or values. Not tourism. Not ObamaCare. Not anything else.

So it was treasonous in its inception (it's defined as such in the Constitution- you could look it up), and it was racist in its reincarnation. And yet three-quarters of a cohort of my neighbors think it's just a peachy symbol of patriotism. 

They say there's a curse on the Bills and the Sabres. Maybe we deserve it.

Leave a comment