Sunday, July 12, 2015

Three perspectives on the confederate flag.

It reads: Heritage Not Hate.

To me, investing flags -- any of them -- with mysterious power is reminiscent of the medieval practice of searching for the relics of saints. I understand symbolism, but it cuts in all directions, and precludes the consecration of sacred cows.

Meanwhile, let a Southerner dissect "Heritage Not Hate."

The South’s Heritage Is So Much More Than a Flag, by Patterson Hood (NYT)

 ... It was around that time that I began paying attention to the flag flying at courthouses and state capitals. I started hearing things like “heritage, not hate” from people who were perhaps well-meaning, but were nevertheless ignoring the fact that their beloved Southern Cross flew at Klan rallies — that it was a symbol for a war fought on the principle of one man owning another. Let’s pause to think about that one for a moment: one man owning another. When our kindly Grandpa says “states’ rights,” that’s the “right” he’s talking about. Unfair tariffs? Many of the soldiers in the Civil War probably couldn’t spell “tariff.” But they certainly knew that the South’s economy and very way of life was built upon the backs of men, women and children of color.

Harold Mitchell keeps his eyes on the larger issues.

South Carolina's Confederate Flag Finally Comes Down, But Its Legacy Will Die Hard, by Brentin Mock (City Lab)

State legislator Harold Mitchell says he’s happy the flag is falling, but that the politics of its statehouse supporters will continue to affect poor minority communities ...

 ... “The whole thing with the flag—it’s a racist symbol, and we got it down,” says Mitchell. “My concern, though, is the flag’s agenda: refusing Medicaid expansion, infrastructure improvement, economic development for low-income people—those kinds of things.”

Finally, The Onion surveys the pros and cons, and it's hilarious as usual (just one from each):

The Pros and Cons of Flying the Confederate Flag


Eliminates uncomfortable feeling of having to say aloud what you think of African Americans


U.S. flag already represents history of entrenched prejudice just as well

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