The governor is removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol, but Southern politicians are still careful not to offend the folks who are proud of their Confederate heritage.
(06-22-2015, updated 07-14-2018) Southern politicians are falling over themselves in their haste to leap over the fence or off the fence, so they’re on the record as having been on the right side of history. Only just in time, but hey, at this point, who’s counting hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries?
And yet, most of the politicians who are now claiming that the confederate flag should be removed from the South Carolina state capitol grounds are bending over backwards not to insult the many lovers of said flag.
Yes, they say, for this young man the flag was a symbol of racial hatred, but for most folks here it’s just a symbol of their heritage, their history and they’re proud of their heritage. The Civil War was a significant event and it should not be forgotten. And so they keep flying the confederate flag.
Think about this for a minute.
The confederates were fighting to leave the United States because they were not able to keep their states’ rights within the USA. And by states’ rights, they meant the right to keep slavery. They are so proud of this period in history that a century and a half later they still identify with the confederate flag? But they’re not racist?
Imagine if Germans insisted on still flying the swastika, from the gables of houses, from the capitol, everywhere in Germany. Imagine them claiming that they are definitely not Nazis; it’s just that the Nazi years were a significant part of German history. Their parents fought for Germany during World War Two. Their parents were guards in concentration camps and they are proud of that heritage. But they’re not Nazis and they’re not antisemitic.
Who in their right mind would believe that? Who in their right mind would think for even a second that that would fool anyone? It would be crystal clear that the re-education of the Germans had been completely ineffective. So either the lovers of the confederate flag are rabid racists who want to keep the idea of a slave-owning South alive, or they’re incredibly uneducated, on this subject, anyway.
Maybe the removal of the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol should be accompanied by some serious re-education.
Unless I’m wrong. If everyone in the South–well, everyone except the unapologetic white supremacists–is now for the first time really seriously acknowledging that the confederate flag is a symbol of racism, then the next step is that the flag disappears completely–again, except on the property of openly white supremacists.
We’ll see. This is a first, very careful baby step, and as such it’s exciting.
(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: “The Confederate Flag: The Beginning of the End?”, 06-22-2015)
- Header image: altered public domain image