Let Your Freak Flag Fly

confedPiggly Wiggly
(Theme song to The Dukes Of Hazzard)

Just’a good ol’ boys
Never meanin’ no harm
Spendin’ all their summer days
With a pig in the barn

Makin’ their way
The only way they know how
By tryin’ to milk a bull
Just’a same as a cow

I’m a visionary. Decades ago I thought the Confederate Flag was as queer as a three dollar bill. It just took a while for this notion to become trendy enough for y’all to take it down.

I have a few words to say on the subject. As you can probably reckon from the subtle opening, I’m here to treat the topic with all the reverence that it deserves. I’m also going to try to avoid repeating all the same tired arguments we’ve heard from both sides of the issue.

A national Gallup poll this month found that 32% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans view the flag as a symbol of “Southern pride” rather than one of “racism.” Let that stick in your craw for a bit.

At the same time, 64% of whites favored the “Southern pride” view while only 19% of blacks felt the same way. Ya think?

Seldom are numbers so astonishingly black and white.

Can someone like the Confederate Flag while possessing not a shred of racism? Yes, I think that’s possible. As long as one’s parents and culture were not racist then it’s probably akin to my love of Fruit Loops since that’s what mom fed me as soon as I was old enough for real food. It’s what I grew up with so I love it.

But, and I think this is a pretty big but, things like racism tend to be generational. Parents shove their own beliefs into their offspring. Usually this is deliberate but even if not it still takes place through the magical process of osmosis. Great-great-great-granpappy was racist and great-great-granpappy was racist and great-granpappy was racist and granpappy was racist and pappy was racist and little baby pappy spawn is pre-racist. We can calculate the odds of the next generation also being racist. It can be awful hard to get above your raisin’.

So yes, I think it’s possible to feel the flag is your “heritage” (whatever the hell that means) and not be a racist. But I think it’s extremely hard to separate out the original intent of the flag itself. If it’s a “symbol” than what is it supposed to mean? For that we must look to William Tappan Thompson, one of the people who helped design the second Confederate national flag. These are his words:

“As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause. … Such a flag…would soon take rank among the proudest ensigns of the nations, and be hailed by the civilized world as the white mans flag. … As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism. Another merit in the new flag is, that it bears no resemblance to the now infamous banner of the Yankee vandals.”

Source: Wikipedia – William Tappan Thompson

My humble question: If you want to celebrate your heritage, why would you choose this particular symbol? Why not choose something else, like a beignet if you hail from the Great State of Louisiana? Because, delicious.

In America we are, thankfully, protected by our Constitutional rights of free speech. Usually this means we have the right to be assholes. I can call you “ugly” if I want. If you want to let your freak flag fly, you have the right. Interestingly, this is different than Germany which actually outlaws “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations” such as “Nazi symbolism.” Maybe that would be a better way? Who can say?

Some people, especially, it seems, on the losing side, seem to be wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to the Civil War. By the way, I saw on the local news that high school graduates are unable to explain the causes of the conflict. It was war. What a horrible thing to look back on with fondness. Those who debate the true meaning of why it happened have a dog in the race. I still remember my dad’s spittle flying in my face as he educated me. “It wasn’t about slavery,” he screamed. “It was about states’ rights.” (You have to use your imagination to capture the true flavor of that moment.) Sorry, that’s splitting hairs in the name of bias. I call bullshiats.

In summation, let me say this. I’m a born and raised native Oregonian and, for some damn reason, proud of it. As if I had any say regarding the location of my birth. As such, I’m “Northerner” through and through, although I prefer the term “West Coast Boy.” I’ve lived my entire life within 26 miles of I-5. That’s as west coast as you can get. And, as such, I’m a yellow-bellied libtard and have political leanings to match. I’ve never even been to the South. So my thoughts on things like Confederate Flags and Civil Wars probably won’t amount to a bucket of dead spit to some. I’m okay with that.

At the end of the day all I can do is call ’em like I see ’em. Yee haw!

Sincerely,

Your Yankee Vandal

11 responses

  1. I’m all for it coming down, and I’ve been against that flag ever since I was old enough to form a real opinion. I think that flag should only be displayed in museums. That said, I think pulling The Dukes of Hazzard from TVLand was a bit much. The pulling of that show reminded me of the book burnings of the past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading. I feel guilty when someone genuinely nice stops by. I am shamed. 🙂

      I don’t think the show was racist even if it included a symbol I consider to be offensive. I think it was puerile and offensive on other levels, too. But I think I agree with you. I’ve never seen the show so I’m not much on the caring about it’s fate. If people want to watch that’s their choice.

      Reacting emotionally to things like this is part of who we are.

      Like

  2. I’ve lived in the South all my life (Alabama,) and it was good to hear a West Coast native’s take on the flag and the whole Southern thing. Love your Southernisms! Don’t we have the best accent ever?

    I’ve never flown the Confederate flag and have never felt a connection to it. Some I know were a little upset about it but are already over it. I personally make a choice not to knowingly offend others. And yes I grew up with friends that watched Dukes of Hazzard but I didn’t like the show. We didn’t watch it at my house.

    I can hardly stand it that you’ve never been to the south. Come on down. We’ll treat you to the best vittles you’ve ever tasted and you’ll experience hospitality at its finest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Some of y’all ain’t never been down South too much…”

      Sing it, Elvis! 🙂

      Here in Portland we have tons of southern food and I love it. Another southern thing which I deeply admire is the tradition of respect for women and putting them on a pedestal. That might not be equal (says the feminist in me) but that just seems right.

      I’ve heard stories from friends who moved to small southern towns and when meeting people for the first time got asked, “Which church do you go to?” That would be an unacceptable amount of culture shock for me.

      I think ya kindly for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate it, ma’am.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Southern food is soooo good. But seriously which church do you go to?

        Some Southerners would assume that every one goes to church. But not all Southerners make that assumption and not all Southerners

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry about that. Wasn’t finished with that last reply but hit send anyway. That’s what I get for doing this on my phone.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Anyway what I was saying is that not all Southerners go to church either. But most of us sure are nice!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. If everyone was like you this world would be a much better place.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Awww well now you’ve done gone and embarrassed me. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It was interesting to read the quote from William Tappan Thompson about the motivation behind the flag. I haven’t seen that brought up in any of the debates about this issue.

    The German law of banning the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations” is definitely something to think about. I don’t think anyone would have a problem outlawing things like gang signs but how would you really categorize something as an unconstitutional organization? Every losing side of every war would essentially fall into this column I would think, and yet they would all have the right to fight for what they believe in.

    Thanks for the brain-poking post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Personally, I’m a big fan of rainbows (and unicorns, but that’s not relevant here). Like any rainbow fanatic, I was thrilled to see so many flags available so I bought a great big one and put it in front of my house. I even got a little rainbow sticker for my car. One day a co-worker told me that a group has taken up the rainbow as the symbol of their cause! Wha?!?

    I like big X’s and stars too, but I knew enough about history to stay away from the confederate flag. I didn’t want to be confused as someone who supports racism or owns Lynyrd Skynyrd albums.

    As for the Dukes of Hazard, I never watched it in the first place, but I believe in every cable viewer’s right to watch bad TV reruns from the 70’s. On the other side of the coin, I believe in every cable network’s right to pull shows which might cause them a spec of negative attention. I hear TV Land is replacing the Dukes with The Cosby Show.

    Liked by 1 person

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