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The Confederate Flag: so what is the allure?

  1. Credence2 profile image81
    Credence2posted 2 years ago

    Having just gone through an article featuring photos of the Confederate flag on display in aspects of American life in the South particularly, I ask the question what is the allure.

    Some time has passed since the tragedy in Charleston. You can take the flag down from the flagpole but not remove the things that that flag stands for from the hearts of the people who believe in it.

    This is a standard of a rebellion that was put down over150 years ago. The Nazi's were in power for 12 years and there is no fond remembrance of Hitler's Reich. There are not any Josef Goebbels or Erwin Rommel days for them to commemorate. While in Dixie, they commemorate Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

    When I see it in public display, it is always a statement resistance related to racial tensions.

    But, is it a secret message advocating states rights, resistance to what people see as federal government incursion?

    Is it the pride associated with the image of being a "rebel"?

    I see it everywhere throughout the South and it is as natural as the tablecloth on the picnic table.

    Could that spirit of 'flag' be what I see when in Texas they write the school textbooks to down play the significance of Slavery as a cause of the Civil War, calling it the War of Northern Aggression? The spirit that that flag represent seems to reach into everywhere and everything. I don't know that I would be proud to fly a banner supporting the right to hold a group of people in bondage and denying them due process of law after the rebellion is defeated.

    Seems contrary to American values to me, so why?

    1. rhamson profile image76
      rhamsonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      I live just south of the Mason Dixon so I hear many different takes on the controversy. You have to realize that most of the Civil War was fought in the south. Gettysburg being the high water mark in the north for the Confederate Army. The war waged in the south wreaked havoc on the population and especially with Sherman's march to the sea. This and many other battles where in addition to where the Union Army commandeered provisions from the citizens who were already short on supplies and that too created harsh feelings.

      The reason given for the succession was states rights to carry on their lifestyle as they saw fit. The Presidential election of 1860 which highlighted whether Missouri would be admitted as a free state or a slave state created a schism between the north and south. Mind you this is where slavery came to the forefront of the south's claims for states rights. The confederate battle flag is the last real representation of those feelings and issues. Slavery was seriously an issue while the states rights was the argument instead.

      This idiot in Charleston, SC who shot all those people has brought up a lot of feelings on both sides of the controversy. Had he not flown the flag would we even be talking about this? Maybe a review of history might help.

      1. Credence2 profile image81
        Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

        RH, thanks for weighing in on this one

        This is true the South was the battleground. I can understand the resentment of any combatant when the bulk of the conflict takes place on its soil or territory. (the USSR was not particularly willing to make nice with terms after the Nazi surrender)  There was a reason that Germans prefer capture by the West.

        But it has been 150 years. The conservatives criticize Blacks for dredging up slavery as part of the argument for reparations and such. The reality is that the slaves, their masters and the immediate progeny of both must  long be dead. So we, as a group are asked to get over this brutal travesty, could I ask the same of the Southern whites? Race relations must be simmering just beneath the illusionary and tranquil surface if we are so at odds over the same piece of cloth and its meaning.

        I think in regards to Missouri, you speak of the Missouri compromise that occured well before the war began. I guess that it was a 'border state', that I read sent representatives to the Confederate congress as well as to Washington.

        I am just appalled that their concept of 'freedom' was the expense of the freedom of others who they felt were undeserving.

        The flag issue is not new and has been in discussion for the last 20 years in various state legislatures through out the South. This Charleston thing was just the spark of ignition.

        1. rhamson profile image76
          rhamsonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          "But it has been 150 years. The conservatives criticize Blacks for dredging up slavery as part of the argument for reparations and such."

          It has been a very long time since the Civil War was fought but just as the remnants of the harsh feelings continue from those who were enslaved such is the case at the end of the war for those who lost. The lack of reparations, (Lincoln had a plan but was assassinated before its inception) carpet bagger swindling and the bankruptcies of which many northern investors took advantage continued the animosity including the North's prosecution of the war against states rights.

          In regards to the Missouri dealings I speak of the overturning of the act of 1820 in 1860 as Lincoln was elected and became an issue in his campaign.

          "I am just appalled that their concept of 'freedom' was the expense of the freedom of others who they felt were undeserving."

          I am with you 100% with this. Even though the Bible speaks of slavery quite a few times it still boggles my mind how anybody and especially with a Constitution could think it was alright for someone to own another.

    2. Live to Learn profile image81
      Live to Learnposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      As a southerner, I see the flag displayed often. Not flown on flag poles, but plastered on the back of pick up trucks. I wouldn't ever display it, I do kind of look down on those who do but I would defend their right to display at any opportunity.

      I know the abolition of slavery was the rallying cry for the north; but in most of the southern states less than a third of the white population owned slaves prior to the civil war. So, I don't think the idea of having their slaves taken away was the impetus behind most southern men going to war. Nor do I think that most people who display it today long for those times. In  the south, when discussing the flag, we usually focus on the idea of states rights, freedom from the encroachment of federal government attempting to regulate every aspect of our lives and,  it as advanced as a way to display pride in being a southerner when many times we have to deal with snooty Northern comments.

      I support it being removed from any state property. I do raise an eyebrow at this attempt to see it as a symbol of hate and ban it's display. We not only accept displays of many symbols of hate but defend their right to be used. I see a great deal of bigotry in the current debate.

      1. Credence2 profile image81
        Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

        L to L thanks for your comment.

        I am not one to diss the 1st amendment, people should be free to display this flag on their private property as they wish. I just don't think that such a contentious symbol should be in a prominent place puporting to representing the state and its people on the State House grounds or what can be considered public property.

        I did read though, that becoming slaveholders/planters was the aspiration of Southern men. Under this and other reasons I can understand why they would support the racial caste system that was in place.

        "In the south, when discussing the flag, we usually focus on the idea of states rights, freedom from the encroachment of federal government attempting to regulate every aspect of our lives and, it as advanced as a way to display pride in being a southerner when many times we hace to deal with snooty Northern comments"

        Thanks for that, which is certainly an explanation for why the people hold on to this flag. There is a large Black population in the South, they do not see this in the same way.  For Blacks federal intervention and subordination of States rights to that Federal power has been necessary for the advancement of basic civil rights in the region over the previous century. I see your point, but I have to acknowledge the other side of this.

        1. Live to Learn profile image81
          Live to Learnposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          I agree that we needed civil rights actions in order to change a lot of racism in the south. I will say that I do find many assumptions about the south humorous. We have all lived side by side forever. I know northerners who refused to allow the idea of integrated neighborhoods.  But, I do remember the segregated south. We weren't raised that way and I remember, as a child, not understanding why the pharmacist at the snack counter waited on me, a child, instead of an elderly lady who was there before me. I didn't see black and white. Because my parents actively attempted to ensure we didn't

          I agree that this flag should not be on state property; unless the majority of the citizens of the state are OK with it. It is seen, by some, as a symbol of racism and I would think decent people (whether they saw it that way or not) could understand this and, out of courtesy, bow to the sensibilities of those it offends.

          1. Credence2 profile image81
            Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

            It is interesting that a fundamental tenet of racism is fear of the other. I live in the south now, and when I travelled through previously, I got the distinct impression of far less fear of blacks by whites. I could not say that about either the north or the west. There isn't any part of the country that is free of this issue, albeit, it takes different forms.

            I have heard from many pro-flag people that the issue should have been put to a public referendum. If the majority votes in favor the Confederate Flag, I have to defer to the democratic process. But, the roughly 30percent of the SC population that are black will create a PC nightmare for the state, voting with their pocketbooks and wallets, big business being criicized for associating with a state that proudly and unanimously proclaim support for so contentious a symbol. That could cost jobs, investment, etc. I did remember that inspite of everything, the buses in Montgomery were integrated in 1956 because of boycotts and pocketbook issues.

      2. rhamson profile image76
        rhamsonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        "In  the south, when discussing the flag, we usually focus on the idea of states rights, freedom from the encroachment of federal government attempting to regulate every aspect of our lives"

        You reiterated what was the gist of my post.

        1. Live to Learn profile image81
          Live to Learnposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          I suppose that meant that, on some levels, we are in agreement.

          1. rhamson profile image76
            rhamsonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Yes.

      3. GA Anderson profile image82
        GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        "... I see a great deal of bigotry in the current debate."

        As do I.

        I also see a lot of upraised opportunist voices making political hay out of the opportunity.

        GA

    3. GA Anderson profile image82
      GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Contrary to American values?

      What if you are attributing your perceptions to the flag and presuming those are the perceptions of all folks?

      What if the flag is only seen as a symbol of the Southern culture and identity, (and maybe a little bit of the rebel in many of us), by the majority of today's Southern folks? (I am the excluding the  fringe nutcases, white supremacists and wackos because I don't believe they are a majority)

      What if the hatred, slavery and other bad things it is supposed to represent are only in minds of non-Southerners?

      I understand and agree with the movement to remove it from government sponsored display, but I won't be jumping on the banish-it-from-society bandwagon any time soon.

      Look at where that wagon is already heading. Demands for moving/demolishing monuments, disinterring honored generals/soldiers.

      Another for instance; The Dukes of Hazard TV show. That show wasn't about slavery, white supremacy, or any of the other negatives now being attributed to that flag. But this PC mentality has already caused its old reruns and syndication to be pulled from viewing availability.  Some folks even want the flag removed from the car - which became famous due to the show's popularity.

      Was everyone that enjoyed that show a racist, supremacist, or wanna-be slave owner? Or just insensitive louts who never consider the feelings of others?

      [caveat] - I know I am repeating something the conservative pundits are throwing against the wall - but... is it a stretch to wonder if George Washington might be the next victim of the movement? He was a slave owner too.

      I think this is one parade I will be watching from the sidelines
      .
      GA

      1. Credence2 profile image81
        Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

        GA, I knew you could not resist. I provided many possible explanations for the support of the Confederate flag in my opening post.

        There is a large Black population in the South, does that not make them "Southerners" and a part of Southern culture?

        The hatred, slavery and all the bad things are in the mind of the Black Southerners and that is nothing to sneeze at. I see that flag at every rally and occasion where the participants take issue with the rights of black people or have a bone to pick related to them.

        I never advocating banishing it, but it is coming down from public property, as it should.

        Neither you or I want this thing to spiral into the ridiculous. The monuments can stay, the statue of Robert E. Lee on a horse does not send the same message the flag does. Besides "we' have our momuments as well.

        I don't want to get into banning the flag like Germany does with the Nazi banner. I don't think that it is necessary to get after the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. TV is TV, it is entertainment, not reality. Most of us reasonable people never intended this to go this far. I can't speak for others, buy my take is keep it removed from Public property. That is satisfactory.

        I just think that you are fishing here, with an overreach that most of us are not really considering.

        1. GA Anderson profile image82
          GA Andersonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          "There is a large Black population in the South, does that not make them "Southerners" and a part of Southern culture?

          The hatred, slavery and all the bad things are in the mind of the Black Southerners and that is nothing to sneeze at. I see that flag at every rally and occasion where the participants take issue with the rights of black people or have a bone to pick related to them.


          I think we are fundamentally in agreement on this topic. Especially relative to the above quote. I don't feel what a Black would, but I can certainly understand the reality of those feelings.

          I wasn't fishing, I was venting. As usually happens, a few opportunists take advantage of high-profile face-time, (for their personal gain), to diminish the impact of an important event or decision. In effect,  those demanding the flag's banishment are really just Kanyeing(?) South Carolina's actions.

          The flag should have come down from a state flag pole. And I do think there are a lot of yahoos that wave it as a symbol of all the negatives mentioned, but they are yahoos, not the norm for the typical Southerner that still sees that flag as a symbol of their heritage.

          The South is renown for its culture and history. The issue of slavery is a terrible part of that, but there is a lot more that reflects well on its people. I think most Southerners, (excepting the yahoos and dregs of humanity), have tried to move beyond that part of their history.

          Those screaming for the flag's banishment, and those acquiescing to those screams, (like pulling products, etc... just reaffirmed my decision to watch the parade instead of joining it, but when it became so skewed that they pull an innocent TV show - then they need to be called out.

          GA

  2. steve8miller profile image83
    steve8millerposted 2 years ago

    This is a violation of free speech. That flag had nothing to do with slavery, but the banning of this flag has everything to do with Slavery!

    1. Josak profile image60
      Josakposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      You'd think that people who use the free speech argument would understand what free speech means, free speech is violated when the state limits what a citizen can do outside of government land (excepting threats, fire in a crowded theater etc.).

      At no point has that happened in this case. In fact for all the constant appeals to free speech that the right makes the only large scale violation of free speech int his country was the anti communist and socialist with hunts under McCarthy perpetuated primarily by none other than the right.

    2. Credence2 profile image81
      Credence2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

      OK, Steve

      You are free to say what ever you like, but I will take issue with you for taking so contentious a symbol and put it in a prominent public place, that I pay for. giving it a legitimacy that it does not deserve. How you choose to display it on your private property is none of my concern.This flag flies from the banner of every white supremist organizationsince it was brought to the StateHouse in South Carolina and other Southern states around 1961 as a message of resistance to the growing Civil Rights Movement. You really don't think that 'we" were unaware as to what this was all about?

  3. gmwilliams profile image86
    gmwilliamsposted 2 years ago

    There is really no allure in the Confederate flag.  The flag was a symbol of oppression, hatred, and prejudice against Black Americans particularly and people of Color generally.  The Confederate flag represented the darkest time in American history and culture.

    1. ahorseback profile image78
      ahorsebackposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      it wasn't  much about slavery's traditional attractions as it was about the independence of it's peoples  political  thoughts and projections ,   the last remaining romanticism of a society  suffering in defeat  and  much resentful  to the victors , as if there was one !, A  wishing for a dream of independence from  the northern love and spread of industrialization , and the downfall of a  agrarian and  caste based  society .   

      Today , more the personal romanticism  of a faded dream and  a reminder of those  ancestors  lost to the cause ,    and  perhaps even more , the  rebel flag of those who hate what we have become .

    2. rhamson profile image76
      rhamsonposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      To a certain extent I agree with you. Slavery was always an underlying pink elephant issue nobody wanted to talk about.

      It was like I have a right to do what I want too and you have no right to take that away from me. But there is the other side of that when you morally violate a human right to be an emancipated human in our society and claim it.

 
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