Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Confederate Flag: Stop and Think

One of the most controversial flags in the world at the moment

Houston, TX - There is flag that still flies in this nation. A flag that has every right to fly and indeed should have every right, even though, once, it flew above the heads of those who were outright racists. The flag offends me, I would never fly it, but some do. I’m not talking about the stars and bars, I’m talking about the flag of the New York Yankees.
The flag once flew over the heads of racists because once the Yankees, along with every other Major League Baseball Team, in the dark days of segregation, refused to allow blacks to play on their team, no matter their skill level. The reason the flag offends me, however, is because I’m a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, and the Yankees have beaten the Dodgers in more than one World Series.
As the argument about the Battle Flag of the ill-fated Confederate States of America rages across our country, it is important to always remember that while a flag or a symbol may have once meant something to someone, it does not necessarily mean that any longer to everyone.
For instance, the swastika is now the sole preview of the disgusting sub-human class of being known as racists, however at one point in time, apparently the symbol stood for good luck. This can work both ways. So while all rational people would agree that the majority of those who once stood under the Confederate Battle Flag were racists, just because someone flies the flag today, we should not automatically brand them as racist, and we certainly should not beat them up.
The main focal point of the argument over the CSA Flag was whether or not it should fly over South Carolina. Whatever you believe about the Confederate Flag, you cannot but agree that the CSA was another country, and that it fought a war with the US. Some say that because South Carolina was once a part of the CSA, then, as a part of their history, they should still fly the flag. But I wonder what those same people would say if Washington DC were to decide that because this nation was once a part of Britain, over the Capitol Dome we were once again going to raise the Queen’s Colors. There would probably-no, there would certainly be riots and mayhem from the Florida Keys to the San Francisco Bay. And yet it is the same argument made about the CSA Flag.
Symbols can be divisive things. Ask early Christians who were burned to death for making the sign of the cross or tracing out the simple sign of the fish in the sand. However, no matter where you stand on the issue of the modern day CSA Flag, none of us in our right minds can agree with those who say we ought to ban the flag altogether. Taking it off of public grounds is one thing, refusing to fly it atop our state houses is something we can argue about, but just because we don’t like something does not mean we can get rid of it.
Burning the American flag is something real American Patriots who love liberty and America’s great history find reprehensible, but yet the Supreme Court has found that it is an expression of free speech. We can no more ban the CSA Flag than we can public burning of the American Flag. Banning things because we don’t like them is the first step to a nation in which we decide what people think, and order what they are to believe.
As the war of words rages on, let’s not forget the New York Yankee Flag, and how just because a symbol means something for you, doesn’t mean that everyone who uses that symbol believes the same thing.
But while it may sound tempting to ban the flag, and while it may be tempting to throw everyone who flies it under a bus of stereotypical norms, stop and think: am I falling into the same sin of over generalizing that brought the very racism I'm attacking in the first place? And stop and think, is a nation that bans things because the majority of its citizens don't like them truly free? The answer, of course, is no.

But that doesn't mean we need to fly the rebel flag. The Stars and Stripes does quite nicely, thank you very much.

Andrew C. Abbott

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