I want to address an issue providing floggers and floggerettes an excuse for the vicious attacks on the VaFlaggers.
The Matthew Heimbach Furor
The attempt by Brooks D. Simpson, professor of history at Arizona State University, Andy Hall, Kevin Levin, and others to smear the Virginia Flaggers, and particularly Susan Hathaway, with charges of white supremacy, is reprehensible. When you cut through all the crap, see past all the window dressing, get down to the nitty-gritty and focus on just the connection between Heimbach and the Flaggers, here's what you find:
(A) Heimbach attended an event that the Flaggers also attended (a heritage rally) and is seen in several photos with them at the event, which are posted online.I have described these four circumstances as "an incidental, gossamer 'connection' that the floggers are attempting to morph into the anchor chain of the Emma Maersk." And so they are. They are embedding these facts into pages and pages of immaterial commentary, irrelevant images, ugly speculation, and outright untruths. They may (or may not) accurately convey to us information about Matt Heimbach, but they do not alter the facts of an incidental, basically fabricated, "connection" to the Flaggers. These four items simply are not enough to substantiate that Matt Heimbach is a Virginia Flagger. Here's why:
(B) Heimbach posted four (f-o-u-r, 4, four) comments on the Confederate Flagger Facebook page (700+ members), over a period of almost 12 months.
(C) Flagger Tripp Lewis described Matt as a good guy who honored his ancestors.
(D) Heimbach's name was included on a list of people identified as Flaggers who received recognition from the SCV.
1. The event where he was photographed with them was not a Virginia Flaggers event. It was a heritage rally. There were other groups and individuals in attendance. Any of them might have had their picture made with the Flaggers that day. That does not make them a Flagger.What circumstances? Flaggings. What makes one a Flagger is ... flagging.
2. None of Heimbach's four posts in the Confederate Flaggers Facebook group, which stretched out for almost a year, were about flagging or the Virginia Flaggers.
3. Tripp's description of Matt is not an official Virginia Flagger position. It is his personal opinion and in any case, nothing about it celebrates or agrees with white supremacy.
4. Although the floggers have made a big deal out of Heimbach's name on a list of Flaggers recognized by the SCV as some major proof of the Flaggers "embracing" Heimbach, circumstances make it much more likely that his inclusion on the list was simply a mistake.
Matthew Heimback is not a Virginia Flagger.
Since September 2011, the number of times the Flaggers have flagged the VMFA -- >100
Since September 2011, the number of times Matt Heimbach has flagged the VMFA with them -- 0
I find it simply unfathomable why anyone would attempt, with such dedication and glee, to portray good, decent people the way these floggers are trying to portray the Virginia Flaggers -- or, if they're as good as they like to appear, why they'd even want to.
Other disinformation and/or misconceptions to set straight.
1. I am not the webmaster for the Virginia Flaggers.
They do not have a website, so no webmaster is needed. They do have a blog, and I routinely upload content they email me to the blog host (Blogger).
Back in April or so, Susan Hathaway contacted me to ask for information about setting up a blog on Blogger (which hosts all my blogs). I advised her of some things I had learned working with Blogger, and offered my help to set up a blog for the Virginia Flaggers. Knowing how busy she is, I also offered to upload blog posts and monitor comments once the blog went live.
I have uploaded quite a number of blog entries since then, but others have also added content. All the posts I have added are identified with my name.
None of the content originates with me and never has, with the exception of the first post (the Welcome post) and the composition of post titles when posts come to me (via email) without one. Since post titles comprise the blog index, I compose the title based on the content.
2. I am not a spokesperson for the Virginia Flaggers.
Susan Hathaway's statement that she leaves the "heavy hitting" to me was simply a jocular Facebook acknowledgement that (a) she doesn't read blog entries, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc., from critics and attackers and (b) she knows that I not only read them, but defend or counter-attack.
Why Brooks Simpson, presumably an intelligent, educated adult, would attempt to give this frivolity serious significance is mystifying. In fact, why he, Andy Hall, Kevin Levin and their followers would pay any attention at all to Southern heritage groups on Facebook and heritage activists like the Virginia Flaggers is itself a mystery.
My posts at Backsass, all my other blogs and websites, and on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else, are my own. Unless otherwise noted, I am always speaking for myself only. Nobody else.
3. I am not a part of the Virginia Flaggers organization.
I enthusiastically support their mission, and I've offered to assist them in whatever ways I can, but I am not a Virginia Flagger. I live in Florida, about 900 miles from Richmond, and I have limited contact with them. If memory serves, I have had about three short telephone conversations with Susan; other than that, my contact with the group has been via text messages delivered by email and messaging.
* * *A Facebook friend recently suggested to me that since I support the Flaggers, some of the content on my blog(s) could possibly result in attempts by some to damage the Flaggers by association. I dismissed that idea at first, but after seeing what has happened the past few days, I suspect my friend was right.
In his vicious attacks on the Flaggers of late, Brooks Simpson has included numerous references to me. Many of the things he has said are not true (i.e., claims that I am a spokesperson or mouthpiece for the Flaggers, that I am the group's webmaster, that my graphic memes involve racism and hatred that reflects on the Flaggers, etc.) But it does appear that Simpson's attacks on the Flaggers are motivated partly, or exacerbated, by anger at me. Therefore, it behooves me to remove myself as that motivation.
So I'm going to try ... TRY ... to scale back on defense and counter-attack in my writings when they involve critics and attackers targeting the Virginia Flaggers.
I said ... I'll try.