I believe the time is ripe for us to step back for a moment from the latest hysteria involving the latest Confederate flag controversy. Yes, what Dylann Roof did was morally repugnant and completely reprehensible, but he didn’t commit mass-murder because a Confederate flag told him to do so. He committed mass-murder because he’s a racist and a white supremacist, filled with hatred and bile and guided by Americans who similarly and sadly share his warped world views. For some, sadly, the Civil War rages on, 150 years later.
The controversy about the Confederate flag is over what the symbol has come to mean and represent – slavery, for instance. But Americans seem to have forgotten that the flag in question, while Confederate, isn’t the Confederate flag. It’s a Confederate flag. Known as the Confederate Battle Flag, it has been hijacked by xenophobes, homophobes, racists, and anti-Semites.
The real Confederate flag – the “Stars and Bars” is the official national flag of the Confederate States of America – looks nothing like the Confederate Battle Flag and has avoided such infamy as its cousin.
I propose a compromise. Let’s not erase the Confederate flag from America’s history, and let’s not continue to give credence to those who would hate and kill for ideals that are no longer relevant or sane. Instead, let’s fly the Stars and Bars at Civil War monuments and over statehouses. Use it at Civil War commemorations. And leave the Confederate Battle Flag where it belongs: in museums, as an artifact of an important chapter in the history of the United States of America.
June 26, 2015