People are really going with the “it’s not hate, it’s heritage” defense, eh? Welcome to 2015 where that bull crap doesn’t fool people anymore.
Here we go…
I got in a…let’s call it a discussion Monday night with someone who stated that he believed that unless you lived in South Carolina you are not allowed to have an opinion on whether or not they fly the Confederate flag over their state capital. Don’t live in South Carolina? Shut your whore mouth because you’re not allowed to have opinions. It probably goes without saying that this came from a young white male. Shocking, I know.
In times like these, I always come back to Edmund Burke. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I could sit back and kick up my feet. I could easily spend my time reading junk food books that don’t make me think too much. I could never again think about a confederate flag blowing in a Carolina breeze hundreds of miles from where I call home. After all, it doesn’t pertain to me – a white girl from Detroit who has never even been to Charleston. I mean, why should I care, right?
The problem with “hey it doesn’t affect me” is that South Carolina is part of the country we all want to be proud of. BBC and other international news organizations broadcast this hate to the world. How is that viewed? Not as “oh this small portion of the US is flying a flag that stands for hate, inequality, and is pro-slavery.”
It’s “oh look, the so-called Land of the Free is still allowing hate, racism and prejudice to fly over their capital buildings.” It represents all of us. No caveats, no arguing semantics.
I’m told it’s about state’s rights. I’m told it’s not a federal government problem. I’m told it’s tyranny if an elected official holding a federal office verbalizes his or her disappointment that the flag still flies. It’s a dictatorial move, I’m told. Saying “hey woah, we fought and won to end everything this flag stands for and tens of thousands of men died in that war” is not tyranny or the federal government acting like it’s a dictatorship. That’s a huge reach. A huge leap, really.
We have a federal government. We have federal laws. We are supposed to be united or something, right?
“But the Civil War wasn’t JUST about slavery, you know! It was about taxation and states’ rights and some other stuff that was definitely not about owning black people!” At least that’s what I’m told. Maybe we should look to the very people involved in the start of the war and see what they have to say.
From South Carolina’s December 1860 declaration of causes of secession, complaining that (“A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that ‘Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,’ and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction…”
I mean, I’m sure South Carolina didn’t really care about slavery, they were probably lying in the declaration. But what about the north? They just didn’t want to lose the land!
“Lincoln’s Second Inaugural (“One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it…”).
So there’s that.
I was told “Did everybody who fought in the civil war own slaves? Did everybody who fought in the civil war like or support slavery? No, they were revolting because they believed states had the right make their own laws. We are 50 independent states, governed by 50 independent set of laws. The federal government is not designed to control the states, it is designed to oversee the states by protecting the constitutional rights of the states and the people within said states. Did the north go to war to end slavery? No, they went to war to hold the union together. If you know your history, you know many of those in the north had slaves of their own.”
Did everyone that fought in Iraq or Afghanistan lose someone in 9/11? It’s completely absurd to act as if enlisted soldiers ever really have a choice of who they fight or what they fight for. That tends to be a privilege only allowed for the wealthy. And yes, I’m sure southern schools have a little different way of teaching about slavery and the Civil War (like Germany does with World War II) but to act like it was states’ rights only has been disproven for centuries and by South Carolina’s own cause for secession. Things like preemption, federalism, and national supremacy are principles of the Constitutions for a reason. It’s “We the people” not “We the individual states.” We live, work, dream and vote in a federalist system, not a confederation of loosely grouped together states. States have important roles in shaping federal policy but they’re not the highest-ranking body. Devolution will likely never be a popular idea or one that’s put into effect no matter how much you want to pretend otherwise. Just isn’t gonna happen.
But still, I was told “Again, you want the United States federal government to step in and force South Carolina to remove a “flag”… A flag that has been flown for over 150 years. A flag that, believe it or not, is protected by the First Amendment. And you want them to do this because it could possibly offend a small population of people. Is this right?”
A flag that represents nothing other than slavery and hatred? Sure. Except it’s not the federal government, it’s the South Carolina governor and many many other SC state elected officials so the whole ‘the federal government is sticking its nose in’ point seems to be moot.
Are elected representatives from other states offering their opinion? Yep.
Are large portions of the entire country offering their opinion? Yep.
Are citizens of other countries sickened over it still flying here? Yep.
Is it WAY MORE than just “could possible offend a small population of people?” A THOUSAND TIMES YES.
If you’re of the believe that the people offended by a confederate flag being flown in the US, specifically over a state’s capital building, is some small fringe group, you’re beyond mistaken.
I was told “Bill Clinton used a confederate flag to run. If that doesn’t hurt your feelings then nothing will.”
Since I was ten when Clinton was elected, I didn’t have real strong political views at the time. It doesn’t “hurt my feelings” because it’s not about my feelings. Just to drive the point home: It’s not about my feelings.
Was it wrong that he used it? Absolutely. Not arguing otherwise. I mean, a white guy from the south using the confederate flag to bolster votes? I’m SURE Bill Clinton was the first and last, right? If you think that a population’s opinions haven’t changed in 2.5 decades, you might want to rethink that. And believe me, while Bill Clinton has done amazing things for the social welfare of all people, there are not many liberals that are looking to him as the voice of moral superiority.
Being privileged isn’t about working hard or not working at all. In this case, it’s about being able to be all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about a symbol of hate because it doesn’t personally offend you.
I’m told “We have bigger problems. Don’t worry about it.”
That’s right, because people are not smart enough to possible deal with two (or hell, twenty) problems at the same time, right? Let’s forget that it’s a symbol of a pro-slavery stance. As John Oliver said this week, we know absolutely nothing substantial will be done about the causes behind the shooting so people focus on the symbol of that oppression – the “stars and bars” flying about a state capital that can’t even be brought to half-mast when the American flag can be. It’s literally locked into place.
I’m told by men (in my own family!) to get off my soap box.
I’m not going to silence my voice because you don’t like it. It’s not the 1950s. Also? It’s not a soap box to voice an opinion.
I’m told not everyone has to see the world like me.
Never said they had to. That was an assumption made by others. I’ve said it a hundred times: a different set of opinions is fine. Your own set of “facts” and rewriting history to fit a personal narrative is not.
Then there’s this bullshit:
The fact that it’s not “culture” is the entire point. It’s the flag representing the losing side of a war flown in the country that beat it. I love the southeast – the real culture. The southern hospitality, the music, the architecture, the Spanish moss in Savannah, the music of Nashville and Memphis, the love that pours onto the streets of New Orleans, and the fact that basically no driving laws are enforced in Florida (lol). That’s the culture that you should be proud of, those are the types of things you should want people to think of when they think of the south. Not confederate flags, slavery, and racism. Not backwoods Klan members and hate crimes. Aim higher.
I get it. It’s easier to pretend it’s not there, right? It’s easier than facing the truth, having to deal with our own roles in an oppressive system, and recognizing and accepting the privilege some of have in within that system.
The subject of people stomping on the American flag was brought up and someone pointed it out that it was only an issue for the original poster when black people did it. He wasn’t wrong. There were only “How dare they?!?” postings when African Americans were videotaped doing it. His response?
“I don’t remember any particular color of people doing that, I just remember unpatriotic people doing that.”
People are still playing the “I don’t see color” card. WHAT? There’s nothing more full of lies for ANYONE EVER than to say “I don’t see color. I don’t pay attention to color.”
I was told that’s an ignorant thing to say. How is it ignorant? No one walking this planet is colorblind to race. To say that it’s not something that exists to you* is complete bullshit.
We all see race. How we react to it is the true measure of a person. If you see a confederate flag and you don’t see the hate and racism attached to it, it’s simply because you don’t want to see it.
You. Don’t. Want to.
It’s a daily reminder that people once thought it was ok to enslave a race, to kidnap, beat, buy, sell, rape, and kill other human beings simply because of the melanin levels in their skin.
Put it in a museum. But do so as a warning to future generations what was allowed under the rule of so-called good men. Then teach those people what it means to stand up and raise a voice against evil and all its symbols.
Bring your bullshit excuses. I’ll wait here.