This entry is very thematically and visually harsh. It is political. It might piss you off. I felt uncomfortable while writing it. But I wanted to share my feelings on the Confederate flag issue. I never thought much about the issue at all, but I decided to start thinking about it, and I decided to start thinking about how I might feel about it if I had a different cultural background.
I read a lot about World War II because I believe it is important to Godwin the shit out of every single internet argument I get involved in. So buckle up.
If you were a Jewish person and you went and visited Berlin in the year 2015, you would be pissed off, frightened, and offended if there was a flag flying over the capital that looked like this:
It would scare you because that is the battle flag of a violent, racist nation responsible for death, suffering, and mayhem that ruined or destroyed tens of millions of lives. We view this flag as evil because this flag represents an organized state that systematically inflicted death and suffering upon anyone deemed racially inferior. Imagine how you would feel, as a Jew, seeing that flag flying over Berlin in the year 2015.
So imagine how this guy:
Feels about seeing this flag:
Flying over the capital of South Carolina in the year 2015.
That is the battle flag of a violent, racist nation responsible for death, suffering, and mayhem that ruined or destroyed tens of millions of lives. There is not a factual and logical way to dispute that sentence. The Confederate States of America was an enemy of the United States in war. Hundreds of thousands of American Soldiers died to get rid of this violent, oppressive, murderous country.
The Nazi system exterminated people. The Confederate system enslaved people. I ask you, how much better than death is slavery? The life of a slave was destroyed on the day he was born, and he got to experience his death in slow motion over the course of 16 hour work days, during whippings, while watching his family get separated and sold off to violent aristocrats who believe he was racially inferior… who believed that he did not count as a person. His mind, like his life, was destroyed when he was not offered an education. His path in this world was snuffed out when his aristocratic overlord made it clear he had no future except to pick cotton.
The Confederate States of America (CSA) was the rallying symbol of an army that was the violent defender of the twisted ideal that humans deemed racially inferior should have their lives destroyed for the betterment of a superior race. You may not feel that way about the good ole’ CSA, and I don’t often think of them in those terms, but try to imagine how THIS POOR GUY thought of the Confederates:
That lazy white guy on the left? He had a flag that he loved. He had a flag that embodied his right to stand there flicking his cigar while Kunta Kinte was whipped half to death, probably for some insane reason like he didn’t pick cotton fast enough, or he tried to stop some other aristocratic bag of crap from selling his kids to some monster up river.
Now before I get lynched for this blog, let me say that I do NOT think all southerners were evil or owned slaves. I don’t think all or even most confederate soldiers were evil. Let’s talk about the good.
The confederate flag was waved by a great general who was admired by both sides, and is still admired today by many.
He is often excused his association with the Confederates because of his character and philosophy of war.
Same goes for the other guys.
Rommel, while not an uncontroversial figure (just like Lee), was often mostly excused his association with the Nazis because he was a soldier’s soldier; a noble war-making gentleman who could not be blamed for the country of his birth, a country in which he took great pride. Both men had to overlook a few things in order to wave their flags. Rommel had to overlook things like this:
While Lee was able to fight a war whose purpose was to preserve this:
I think that because the confederate flag was a symbol of hatred and oppression for millions of people, it should be put in a museum, in one of the many dusty rooms that catalog our shared human history of bigotry, greed, war, neglect, and pointless pride in symbols which rarely serve any purpose except to further divide us.
A bunch of innocent people should not have had to have gotten murdered by a racist in the year 2015 for this topic to suddenly start trending on Twitter. You can still listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd, read the Bible, obsess over college football, be politically conservative, and be proud of your unique and often-times lovely heritage without waving a symbol of murder and hate in the faces of your brothers and sisters who have dark skin.