#38 - Symbols - The Confederate flag and others
Currently through out the South there is a controversy on where the Confederate Flag may be flown and what is it a symbol for. In addition what symbols are used for hatred?
In 1957 Georgia redesigned their state flag to include the Confederate flag. Realize this flag universally recognized as the Confederate flag today was hardly used in the war, having been adopted later in the war after a number of other flags were used. In all likelihood given the year the Georgia legislature made this change and based on memories of legislators still alive, this was done as a defiant act toward Washing and the Supreme Court for the desegregation order the previous year.
In 1962 South Carolina hoisted the Confederate flag on the dome of the capitol. The legislators of the time say this was done to celebrate the Civil War (War Between the States) centennial. Everywhere Civil War battles were fought, major re-enactments were staged in the early 1960's. I remember going to the re-enactment of the battle (more of a skirmish) that occurred at the end of the street I grew up on in Vienna Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC). There may have been a little desegregation protest involved, but the reason was the centennial.
So what are the major symbols used today in the various white supremacy groups and by the NAACP and also by the various groups involved in the flag fight?
The confederate flag flew over a nation that existed only 4 years. Slavery was already in the on the edge of death there. There were many other reasons to the war with the largest being economic and who had power, Washington or the states. Prior to this in the early 1800's some northern states tried to secede for the same reasons. The Confederate flag is only one symbol the white supremacy groups have appropriated.
The United States flag flew over slavery and the import of slaves (The CSA did not import slaves as a nation) for 89 years. Lincoln never universally abolished slavery in the United States. He only abolished it in the Confederate States of America (CSA) (the states in rebellion was how the Emancipation Proclamation put it) to try to get support for the war. Remember in 1864, he did not expect to be re-elected due to public opposition to the war. If the war was over slavery why did the border states that stayed in the USA still have slavery until the end of the war? Why did the USA not abolish slavery in 1861 when the South seceded instead of waiting until after the war (in 1868) to pass the 14th amendment to the Constitution? And why did the 14th amendment apply to all persons, except Indians? The white supremacy groups almost always march with the USA flag.
The Christian Cross has been used for many causes over the years, both great and horrible. The NAACP marches with it and the white supremacy groups use it. Not only do the white supremacy groups march with it, it is the only symbol they plant in yards and burn to strike fear in the dwellers in the house. The Christian Cross and other religious symbols have been used in probably every race in the world being held as slaves. Look to the Old Testament for the story of Jews being held in slavery. Look to the Roman Empire hold various European groups as slaves. The history of humanity, unfortunately, is the history of the victors in wars, until very recent times, holding the losers as slaves.
This flag issue is a difficult issue, but if people will work TOGETHER we can reach a solution. The national NAACP group has taken a stand of no confederate flag on no capitol or on any capitol grounds. The opposing groups want the flag there to honor those who fought for the cause of freedom. A good solution in South Carolina I believe is for the legislature to vote that the centennial is over and to move the flag to a monument on the capitol grounds. The NAACP needs to be willing to reach agreement on this. Memorials are ways to remember our dead and causes that have past by.
The NAACP needs to back down on their blackmail. Is the flag really the biggest racial problem we have? No, I wish it were. Where is the NAACP in trying to solve other racial problems? If the flag is the biggest racial problem we have today, then we should be celebrating having solved our racial problems. What symbol will the NAACP go after next? Look back at the three symbols I mentioned previously. Will the NAACP try to ban the others next? After all they were symbols of a racist society advocating slavery longer than the CSA existed. Also this economic blackmail will only hurt the low-level workers, which quite often, unfortunately are not racially balanced, are Black. The NAACP should be working to help Blacks, and what difference does the flag really make?
Georgia needs to find a way to honor their past state flags in the capitol, (not behind glass), and develop a new flag that promotes unity. Throughout the capitol in Georgia are displays of the many parts of the history of Georgia. Basically the hallways of the Georgia capitol are a museum of the state. The current one was devised for dividing.
In both cases there should be no move to ban the Confederate flag. It will take political courage on the part of both the Black and White political leaders to find solutions to these problems. If we forget our history we are doomed to repeat it. Once racism is basically settled, then the NAACP should do the same, as I believe we should do with NATO. Dissolve. Once an organization achieves it goals, don't hunt for others, but dissolve. All the different groups need to grow and cease their racist causes. Rest assured all the races in America have people who are racist for their race. Last in all cases, promote us living together, rather than dividing so that the day will come that we "will be judged on our ability and not on the color of our skin".
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