There have been numerous comments on the Flag issue, in and by the American media; however, a good bit of it is utter nonsense. The Confederate Battle Flag represents Southern Heritage! Confederate soldiers were traitors! Neither of those accusations passes the “smell test” once reality is factored in.
During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), even President Lincoln referred to the nation as a “house divided”. No one in South Carolina or Georgia was any less an American than a resident of Massachusetts or Delaware. They were all among the original 13 colonies to sign-on.
History shows that most, if not all, of the various state militias–on both sides–fought under their own (generally) regimental banners. In fact, it has been suggested by some that the Flag currently flown over the Confederate Monument on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse was actually that of the Tennessee Regiment. Others say that it was the West Virginia Regimental colors (flag). The linked report from the Washington Post sheds some light on the history of (what is now regarded as) the Confederate Battle Flag: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/evolution-of-a-controversial-flag/1738/.
In reality, the Confederate Battle Flag in question had not been flown throughout the South ever since the Civil War. as some might claim. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Texan, pushed through the Civil Rights Act, followed by the Voting Rights Act in 1965. At the time, he stated that that probably meant that the South would go Republican for some time to come. The movement of those historically Democrats-turned-Republicans was know as the “Dixiecrats”. The South has leaned mostly Republican ever since.
The claims that that Flag honors traitors is likewise without merit. The overwhelming majority of Southerners, during that period (or before or since) did not own slaves. Many didn’t even own property. Let’s also not forget that a number of our Founding Fathers were, in fact, slaveowners.
The average soldier in the Army of the Confederate States of America was merely doing their job–perhaps as the best way to support their families during hard times. I doubt that their dedication and motivation was any different than that of their comrades in the Union Army. And, the same could certainly be said for today’s military serving in the middle East, and elsewhere around the world.
It is important to acknowledge, by the way, that one of the most capable and respected soldiers that the American Army has ever produced was General Robert E. Lee. He did not wish to join the Confederacy; however, he said that, as a “Son of Virginia”, he believed that it was his duty.
So, the Battle Flag has been hijacked by White Supremacists and represents a “call to action” for those who believe that hatred and violence–bringing others down, will demonstrate their “supremacy”. Instead, it shows their own insecurity and incompetence. This brings up a serious case of “whatchamacallit” from those on the “Right”.
For the past year, most Republicans have castigated President Barack Obama for not referring to the various terrorist groups in the Middle East as “Islamic” or “Islamists”. Perhaps Islamophobia sells well to the “Right”-Wing Base; but, those killers are no more Muslim than Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City Bomber) was a Christian.
Likewise, those on the “Right” have trouble condemning what happened at “Mother” Emanuel AME Church, in Charleston, as Racism. The vilest form of hatred! The GOP, in fact, seems to like having the argument focus on the flag–which is a mere symbol of the problem–rather than look behind the curtain at the inbred racism that still persists today in America.
You see, many of those in the Republican political base tend to hate–Muslims, Jews, Blacks, etc. That’s why some states in the South have tried to ban Sharia Law from being introduced in the U.S. Frankly, that’s like trying to ban a convention of mythical Easter Bunnies. So, among the “Right”, Blacks are bad, and racism seems to be OK. Oh, and let’s throw the Gun Lobby in as part of the same movement. Just don’t label; it as such!