It’s finally over for the most blatant and wildly popular symbol of racism our country has ever known: the confederate flag. After the exposure of a single collection of racist fibers flying over the South Carolina State House lawn in the wake of the senseless killing of nine people for the color of their skin, the party of 98 percent white people has finally given in.
For days after the shootings in Charleston, Republicans tried their hardest to protect the flag of slavery and hate. They had no choice; the people they choose to pander to these days are rural, uneducated racists. They love their confederate flag, and they will go to any length to defend it.
It’s about heritage, not slavery.
The number one excuse of racist white trash for wanting to fly their symbol of oppression is that it’s a sign of “southern heritage.” What a load of crap. The flag you’ve adopted as your symbol isn’t the flag of the confederacy, as so many right-wingers who think they’re historians like to point out; it’s a Virginian battle flag that was adopted by the KKK and other white supremacists years after the war was over. Of course, those “historians” think that because the “starts and bars” was never an official flag of the confederacy that somehow it doesn’t stand for racism.
It doesn’t stand for anything but racism.
The Civil War was about states’ rights, not slavery.
Yes, yes it was about states’ rights — states’ rights to own slaves. Or is there another issue that was being discussed at the time? While it is true that Lincoln wasn’t an abolitionist and that the Emancipation Proclamation isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, he was morally opposed to slavery, as were just about all residents in the north. That does not, however, change the fact that the states that seceded and formed the confederacy did so to protect their right to own slaves.
We’re sorry that you seceded from the Union, attacked Fort Sumter and got your asses kicked, but it’s time to get over it now.
Nobody from the South ever said it was about slavery.
Conservatives have been falling all over themselves to come up with reasons why the Civil War was about civic pride and invading forces. They love to point out that only one in five southerners actually owned a slave and that the soldiers of the confederacy had no idea that slavery was an issue.
History tells the real story.
These states made it exceedingly clear why they were seceding from the Union. The states that seceded did so out of fear of losing their slaves when Abraham Lincoln was elected President:
Still think it was about states’ rights and anything other than slavery? Here’s a nice quote from confederate President Jefferson Davis:
A proclamation, dated on January 1, 1863, signed and issued by the President of the United States, orders and declares all slaves within ten of the States of the Confederacy to be free, except such as are found in certain districts now occupied in part by the armed forces of the enemy. We may well leave it to the instinct of that common humanity, which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our fellow-men of all countries, to pass judgment on a measure by which several millions of human beings of an inferior race — peaceful, contented laborers in their sphere — are doomed to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a general assassination of their masters by the insidious recommendation ‘to abstain from violence, unless in necessary self-defense.’
Vice President Alexander Stevens also issued a statement, this one on the day the war began:
Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material — the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory. The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.
No, there was no racism within the confederacy at all. It was all about “northern aggression.”
Republicans have protected the “legacy” of the confederacy and its “heroes” for far too long.
There is no legacy. The confederacy was an insurgent movement of traitors. It was crushed. The constitutionality of slavery was cleared up with the 13th Amendment. That hasn’t mattered in Southern states like South Carolina, where a memorial to a lost war on the grounds of the State House includes a confederate flag, protected by law to the extent that it can’t be lowered or removed even by executive order of the governor. Mississippi’s state flag still has the confederate stars and bars in the upper corner. Across the south, museums and shrines to treason dot the landscape, serving as a constant reminder that black people will always be considered inferior there.
At long last the battle is won; the “rebel” flag is coming down all across the country.
Republicans are putting on a great show. Knowing they can’t possibly stand behind the history of hate that comes with the confederate flag, they’re now lining up to denounce it. Lindsay Graham, who just days ago defended the flag, now says it has no place on the state house lawn in South Carolina. Governor Nikki Hale, criticized for crying over Charleston while the flag Dylann Roof cherished flew over her state house has called for its removal. Mississippi, the last state to outlaw slavery and still considered a bastion of racism, may be removing the stars and bars from its state flag, if House Speaker Phillip Gun has anything to say about it.
Mitt Romney has called for all confederate flags to be placed in museums where they belong. Walmart and Sears have announced they’re going to stop selling them. While it may be a political move by Republicans to do damage control after one of their own perpetrated such horrible crimes, it’s still a win for equality.
It’s a bad day to be a flag that represents the greed, insecurities, hate and fear of generations of bigots.
For all those Civil War buffs who think this is some kind of travesty because Americans fought and died under that flag, remember that Americans once fought and died under the Union Jack as well, yet we don’t fly that over Bunker Hill.
One last time: Get over it.
Featured image via YouTube