Saturday, June 27, 2015

150 Years Late

As weeks go in our nation, this has been one of the more transformational ones. A great debate has unexpectedly been unleashed in the country after the recent shooting tragedy at a Charleston church. And, as a result of that debate, the confederate flag may finally be lowered from its place of dubious honor at South Carolina's Statehouse - and hopefully elsewhere. Along with politicians, several corporate entities are also finally taking welcome action against the confederate flag. And, at yesterday's funeral of the church's pastor, who was also a state senator, the President of the United States, who knew him personally, spoke movingly and powerfully about removing the confederate flag.

At last! It's only 150 years since the United States defeated the rebellion whose treason against the United States that flag is a symbol and hateful reminder of. It is also a symbol not just of treason against the United States but of a history and culture of vicious and violent racist oppression, that sadly did not quite come to an end with the rebellion's defeat in 1865 but survived another century in Jim Crow laws, lynchings, and other evils. That that flag remains a living emblem of racial hatred is evident even from the circumstances of its reappearance at the South Carolina Statehouse in 1962 - as a symbol of regional resistance. That the flag still flies today, 150 years after Appomattox, highlights how the Civil War continues in our country, in spite of the the overwhelming military victory of the United States in 1865.

The confederate flag belongs in history museums and perhaps in civil war theme parks. It - and the ideology of racist oppression it represents - have no place in the public square. The Civil War settled once and for all which flag flies in this country's public places.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly agree with the sentiments expressed here. Displaying the Confederate flag in a public place of honor should have ceased long ago. Unfortunately, much of the racism behind the symbol remains a reality. Removing the flag from public display is one way to call attention to this sad fact, and perhaps will serve to diminish it as well.