Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Don’t Blame Liberals For Soiling The Thing

The confederate flag is the American swastika. It doesn’t matter what you want it to be. It doesn’t matter what it’s alleged to be. It doesn’t even matter if you pretend that it is a harmless symbol of a charming past that exists only in technicolor epics and bodice rippers.

The confederate flag is a symbol of hate and violence because that is what its supporters made it. Its devotees used it as a symbol of white supremacy, of American apartheid, of the terror and lynching used to keep black people and others from exercising their rights as citizens of the United States. It was waved and paraded in defiance of Civil Rights decisions of the courts and Civil Rights laws passed by the Congress and signed by the President. It was adopted by bikers and klansmen and murderers and thugs and the genteel supporters of segregation. It was often coupled with Iron Crosses and it wasn’t the Kaiser that they were remembering when they married the two.

If those who loved the confederate flag didn’t like what it was becoming they should have taken it away from the segregationists and made it a symbol of non-discrimination and equality. But they didn’t try and that opportunity is lost for as long as the use to which it was put remains in memory.

To pretend that the confederate flag wasn’t deliberately used as a symbol of segregation and discrimination is a lie and as lies go it is a whopper. To pretend that it still isn’t being used the same way today is an even bigger lie. It was explicitly used and adopted into the flags of several states for that reason as black people struggled for the most basic rights of citizens. It was white racists who made it into the American swastika, not black people, not yankees, not liberals. White racists around the country, yes, in the South too, turned it into what it is today, a symbol of hate and violence. In the latest variation on this theme it is a crude wedge tool of election politics for Republicans, the party of Rutherford Hayes and Jesse Helms.

If you don’t like that fact, you can blame the people who made it what it is today. We didn’t get it dirty, its foremost fans did. If you want it cleaned, make them do it. Don’t bill us.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?