Oh my gosh, if I don’t hurry up and write this post, it will be outdated before I publish it.
I’m watching Southern politicians practically elbowing one another in their haste to leap over the fence or off the fence, thus ensuring that they’re on the record as having been on the right side of history. Only just in time, but hey, at this point, who’s counting hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries?
And yet, most of the politicians who are now claiming that the confederate flag should be removed from the South Carolina state capitol grounds are nevertheless bending over backwards not to insult the many lovers of said flag.
Yes, they say, for this young man the confederate flag was a symbol of racial hatred, but for most folks here it’s just a symbol of their heritage, their history and they’re proud of their heritage. The civil war was a significant event and it should not be forgotten. And so they keep flying the confederate flag.
Think about this for a minute.
The confederates were fighting to leave the United States because they were not able to keep their states’ rights within the USA. And by states’ rights, they meant the right to have slaves. They are so proud of this period in history that a century and a half later they still identify with the confederate flag? But they’re not racist?
Imagine if Germans insisted on still flying the swastika, from the gables of houses, from the capitol, everywhere in Germany. Imagine them claiming that they are definitely not nazis; it’s just that the Nazi years were a significant part of German history; their parents fought for Germany during World War Two; their parents were guards in concentration camps and they are proud of that heritage. But they’re not nazis and they’re not antisemitic.
Who in their right mind would believe that? Who in their right mind would think for even a second that that would fool anyone? It would be crystal clear that the re-education of the Germans had been completely ineffective. So either the lovers of the confederate flag are rabid racists who want to keep the idea of a slave-owning South alive, or they’re incredibly uneducated, on this subject, anyway.
Maybe the removal of the confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol should be accompanied by some serious re-education.
Unless I’m wrong. If everyone in the South–well, everyone except the unapologetic white supremacists–is now for the first time really seriously acknowledging that the confederate flag is a racist symbol, then the next step is that the flag disappears completely–again, except on the property of openly white supremacists.
We’ll see. This is a first, very careful baby step, and as such it’s exciting.