Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Confederate Flags On Public Property

Listen to Dixie Bashers talk about displays of Confederate flags and you'll hear things like...
It has no right to fly in front of a courtroom, which is supposed to represent all the people, not just those with Confederate heritage.

The Confederate Battle flag, rightly, is associated with slavery and in our own times with racism. It has no business whatsoever to be flown at a public building.

These buildings and public spaces are for us as a society, not for our niches. I don’t demand, nor would I want to see, the so-called African-American flag, the Cherokee flag, a pentagram-emblazoned banner, a Vodou (sic) banner or the rainbow flag (all of which are meaningful to me in one way or another) displayed in this manner. To demand such would not be right, and neither are the demands of these apologists.

The major problem with this line of reasoning is that it sees Confederate flags as a "niche", or a symbol of a few partisans. It is a complete misunderstanding to classify Confederate flags as representing an exclusive group (Confederate descendants or "those with Confederate heritage," the SCV, or whoever) or organizations that have misused the banners.

Confederate flags can certainly be flown in public places in particular states -- those that were part of the Confederate States of America. In this context the flag doesn't "represent" anybody; it identifies the nation of which a state and its counties and municipalities were a part at one time in their history. It goes without saying that a Confederate flag does not belong in front of, say, the state house of Montana or a courthouse in Oregon, as these were not member states in the Confederacy.

The so-called African-American flag, the Cherokee flag, a pentagram-emblazoned banner, a Vodou (sic) banner or the rainbow flag were never elements of the flag of a sovereign nation that its constituent states recognized and flew. One wonder how hard it is to grasp such a simple but crucial fact.

There is nothing wrong with official buildings, from state capitols to city halls, to courthouses and other official property, displaying a Confederate flag to acknowledge that the Confederacy was once their official national government. Many states fly on public property the flags of other governments they have been a party to during their history. In my town, five such flags represent the historical countries/governments to which Pensacola has belonged. In these applications, the proper Confederate flag would be the third national, the political flag of the CSA.

In public and private parks commemorating Confederate soldiers and cemeteries where they rest, the flag chosen by Confederate veterans themselves to represent them and honor their service and sacrifice, is the rectangular battle flag -- the Southern cross. As it is not a political flag of a historic government, it can and should be flown above Confederate cemeteries and memorials in states inside and outside of the old Confederacy.

Of course, there will be those who refuse to see the difference between the official flag of a nation of which a state once was a part and, say, the rainbow flag. Sad commentary on the state of propagandistic education in the USA.


Photo by C. Ward


  1. You can always tell the "opinion makers" because they speak and write in the third person. For instance, in the statement about the Confederate flag having "...been associated with" slavery and racism, the persons making that statement give absolutely NO proof of their contention. They merely make the statement as if there is no way a rational person could disagree. The statement "assumes" that EVERYONE associates the battle flag with slavery and racism and that not to do so puts one into a category that is beyond the pale - and hence, beyond any requirement that intelligent people should be listening to what you say or reading what you write.

    BUT THIS IS NONSENSE! There is nothing to suggest that EVERYONE sees the Confederate battle flag with any single point of view! Of course, there are those who see it as "racist" but there are as many who see it as a beloved symbol of their heritage and even more who probably haven't a clue about slavery or heritage OR the flag.

    The problem with this particular methodology of dealing with contentious issues is that debate is stifled. All that is acceptable is that which is politically correct and political correctness is the ONLY criteria in use today. Facts, truth, history, reason, intelligence - NONE OF THESE THINGS MATTERS! To speak out against censorship, to decry the assault on free speech and expression and to demand equal time in the public forum (and equal protection under the law) is to marginalize oneself and ones point of view - at least among the "opinion makers."

  2. Out of sight, out of mind. When the CBF again becomes a familar feature of the civic landscape, it will cease to be the bogey-man that the NAACP and Confederophobes have made of it. Mainstreaming the flags will take the emotion out of the equation, and restore the emblems to their natural place as regional symbols and identification with positive cultural values - respect for patriotism, veterans, constitution, family, church, and country.
    David McCallister, Tampa, FL


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