Sunday, March 8, 2009

A symbol of discord

I know quite a few of you are on Facebook, but for those of you who aren't, there are these applications that allow you to trade and collect things with your friends. Some are harmless, some are silly, and some actually do some good as you use them, like my favorite, Lil Green Patch (which helps to save rain forest acreage). To be honest, I've gotten so I don't do very many of them anymore, because I just don't want to spend the time, and you also need to be careful because many of these are third party applications, unverified and unchecked. Be wary!

Confederate flagI was downright shocked the other day when I saw some southern gift app--I don't know what all gifts were included, but the one I saw was a Confederate flag. I love the south, and lived there with my parents for a while. This is not a slam against the south, but I think the flag issue continues to crop up over and over, and we really need to put this to bed.

Some see it as nothing more than a symbol. Maybe it's regional pride, maybe it's a matter of being a Skynyrd fan, maybe it's just the red, white, and blue, albeit a different configuration from the American flag. It IS a symbol, but it is one of hatred and intolerance. I find it offensive, a lingering emblem of an epic fail of an experiment in which part of our country chose to form their own country rather than give up a barbaric and and inhumane institution. You can lecture me, if you like, about how it was about states' rights versus federal, or how they just wanted to preserve their agricultural way of life. I don't buy it. Part of that way of life depended upon slave labor, and that was indefensible and obviously unsustainable.

And believe me, I know the south doesn't have exclusivity on racism. We've got plenty of our own up here, sad to say. This goes beyond racism, although that is part of our struggles in the past to become a unified country. I used to work with a woman from Ghana when I lived in Indianapolis. She was studying to get her American citizenship, and asked to borrow some of my books about the Civil War. After she read them, Victoria told me, "You know, it was fascinating to read about this. I remember learning that most countries have to go through a civil war before they become unified. It's almost always that way in Africa, and it was that way here, too."

Confederate flag TP We’ve been through our civil war, and many other struggles over the years, and we have formed a "more perfect union." The man who is arguably our greatest President (Lincoln is tied with Thomas Jefferson in my book) was murdered because of the partisan feelings of the Civil War. We're not the North United States and the South United States. We are one. Why cling to a symbol of divisiveness that many find offensive on several different levels? Charlie Daniels used to sing "Be proud to be a rebel, 'cause the south's gonna do it again." I love Charlie ("I done told you once, you son of a bitch, I'm the best that's ever been!"), but that song always irritated me. What exactly is the south gonna do again? Secede? Attack the north? I just don't get it.

I was disgusted when I read this. This is not a symbol of heritage, it is a symbol of hate, and has no place in our schools or government--only in museums, as part of our past. I honestly find it as offensive as a Nazi swastika flag.

If you want to take pride in something, take it from being part of the United States. Take it from the Stars and Stripes, not the Stars and Bars. The Confederate flag is an outdated, offensive symbol of oppression, division, and yes, war. We need to make it part of our past, not our present.

And if you want to send me southern stuff on Facebook, send me grits. I love grits. But don't send me that flag.

13 comments:

  1. The toilet paper pretty much sums up my feelings :o)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Beth,
    I wouldn't even use that toilet paper ... can't we just close the book on this tragic and embarrassing moment for our country?
    Best,
    Marty

    ReplyDelete
  3. You and Ken are two of the reasons why those who cling to the confederate flag don't have the power to hurt my feelings. I know that there are people like you and Ken in the world and you count more than those who continue to wrap themselves in a symbol that represents a time in our country when the value of all people was not respected. Thank you for your passion and your powerful words.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm a Licoln debate fan (gee, try to get him elected today, never happen)and I have a few books with copies of his debates. One excerpt on a debate about slavery I feel is of interest:

    But while you thus require me to deny the humanity of the negro, I wish to ask whether you of the South, yourselves, have ever been willing to do as much? It is kindly provided that of all those who come into the world, only a small percentage are natural tyrants. That percentage is no larger in the slave states than in the free. The great majority, south as well as north, have human sympathies, of which they can no more divest themselves than they can of their sensibility to physical pain. These sympathies in the bosoms of the southern people manifest in many ways their sense of wrong of slavery, and their consciousness that, after all, there is humanity in the negro.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    I think the point is most people are not THAT BIG of an ass****. I do know racism & prejudice is alive and well, but I think most of the people who keep sh*t like that around are either wanna be/posers or raving lunatics(or both). I cannot imagine that the average southerner would abide by any of that. ~Mary

    ReplyDelete
  5. Actually, Mary would be surprised. Unfortunately, hate and bigotry does still very much exist in the South, and there unfortunately are rednecks who fly the stars and bars with enthusiasm outside their trailer homes. The educated and socially engaged in the South have risen above, but unfortunately there are masses of the ignorant, thankfully mostly confined to rural areas Miss Ginger is blissfully able to avoid! Unfortunately, he "posing" that is done is often to "pose" as racially tolerant in "mixed company", and then to decline into hatred when homogenized. I witness it every day. I wish I didn't. It often makes me wonder what some of my "straight" friends say about me behind my back...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so glad I live in California.... it's just way too mixed to have prejudices!! I'm sure it's here, but I really don't see it, everyone is shaken together and well mixed!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You should live here Beth. Don't you just love the Civil War Reinactments that take place on preserved plantations? NOT! They have them several times a year here (not in my town but close). I guess I just don't get it.
    Hugs, Joyce

    ReplyDelete
  8. When the two Germanies were reunified in 1989 I remember a politician answering to the fears of a unified, more powerful Germany: "only good can come from a united people, you should be afraid of the disgregation of a country and internal feuds instead". United States of America just says it all. Well put, Beth. All the best. Ciao. A.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There's a family two blocks away with a Confederate flag on their porch and it annoys the hell out of me. The Southern Pride line is a joke. If that's the case, why is there no symbol of Northern Pride? Because geographical pride is a sham. Period. I have often thought of sending them an annonymous letter, but I'm not sure they can read!

    ReplyDelete
  10. as a brit i find the thought of a country at war such a strange idea,then i think of
    northern Ireland.religious bigotry,hatred,killings,are still taking place there.im afraid beth wherever you live there is intolerance and sheer stupidity,whatever the "cause".take care,love mort.xxx lil green patch and my farm and of course owned.those are the best on facebook,xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree 100% with you on the confederacy. It does not top take much more than that to see how I feel. Lucy

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can attest to the corruption of the Redneck south who gladly fly that flag...better yet ask my mother who didn't want anyone to know I was native (I may as well of been black in their eyes)...In that regard in those days...she may of very well protected me. Make no mistake that hatred runs far deeper than most are aware of. (Hugs)Indigo

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think Texas would break away from the nation if the State's Govt. could have it's way. If you lived here you'd know what I was talking about. There are times when I see the state flag and Old Glory flying side by side and the State Flag is above Old Glory. I don't think that ANYWHERE in the U.S. should a state flag fly ABOVE the United States Flag. They even teach Texas Pride in the schools from Elementary School on. It's almost like brainwashing in my opinion. Granted Texas has gone through a lot as far as the different wars that it's been a part of in this country and for this country, but I don't like or feel comfortable with the "we're better and more proud" than any other state... does that make sense?
    As far as the rebel flag? I see it everyday here (when I'm out of the house) at least once. And the thing it reminds me of when I see it? or the emotions it raises when I do? it reminds me of ignorance, not pride. It makes me feel fear too because I know those self same people would tie ME behind one of those pick up trucks and drag me down the road if they knew of my sexuality OR my Pagan beliefs... now that is truly sad.
    I hope I don't sound stupid. Hugs, Teresa

    ReplyDelete

I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?