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.”
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!
Your Yankee Vandal