Thoughts on the alleged misuse of the Confederate Symbols
There has been much discussion about the misuse of Confederate symbols; anything from the use of the battle flag during the civil rights disturbances of the 50's and 60's to Battleflag themed clothing. Perhaps my thoughts on this subject will help clear the air or, at least give us another opinion to consider.
First I will consider it's alleged misuse during the disturbances over the integration of our schools in the mid 20th century. Most Southern Heritage defenders agree that the Ku Klux Klan had no right to use the Battleflag when opposing integration. My question is "Why Not?".
I don't know how many reading this actually remember the disturbances when the USSA (United Socialist States of America) government decided that integration would be enforced throughout the Country, but I was among those who grew up in this era. Indeed, I saw white robed Klansmen carrying the Battleflag as they opposed forced integration, but I also saw many average citizens carrying small pennants emblazoned with the Battleflag, also opposing forced integration.
Is it possible that many of these realized that forced integration, decreed by the Federal Government, was just another usurpation of States Rights; the very rights our ancestors fought a long and bloody war, to defend?
Even though many good Southerners were opposed to integration, simply because they did not wish for their children to be forced to attend school with black children, I also believe that many, whether they fully understood it or not, considered that the Federal Government had no right to decree that all schools would follow their policy, whether they agreed or not. In this sense, I feel they had every right to use the Battleflag and other symbols to carry on their opposition to Government interference in their everyday lives.
The problem occurred when public perception was slewed by the media to make it opposition to Civil Rights rather than Government interference, that sparked these protests. Due to the liberal Media's rantings, the Battleflag became known as a symbol of oppression to Black Americans, rather than a symbol of opposition to the Government's policy of forced integration being forced upon us against our wishes.
Today, many of our younger supporters have bought into the myth of opposition to Black American's Rights and fully believe that the Flag was indeed misused. By the Media's distortion of the facts and their brainwashing through Public Education, many today do not realize that the root cause of these disturbances was sparked by the Government's interference rather than any special desire to keep Blacks poorly educated or deny them their Rights as American citizens.
Whenever an opinion is forced upon a people, there will be many who vehemently disagree. In the context of the "Civil Rights" movement the Rights of a large portion of the majority were violated when the Government forced their beliefs upon them. The entire Country was told we no longer had the Right to choose who we could associate with.
Look at Georgia's former Governor, Lester Maddox. When he ran his restaurant, the Pickrick Cafe, he was so vehemently opposed to forced integration that he created the "Pickrick Toothpick" which was the handle of the actual digging tool referred to as a pick. This caused quite a controversy as it was assumed that these pick handles were to be used to beat Blacks into submission, and yet, when Maddox became Georgia's Governor, by an overwhelming majority of the votes, he appointed more Blacks to important State Posts than any Governor before.
Could it be that Maddox opposed the Government forcing their way into his method of doing business more than he opposed serving Blacks?
In other word, I feel that the Confederate Battleflag was indeed used in it's original meaning when it became the Southern symbol of opposition to forced integration of our educational system.
Of course I realize that this flag was created for soldiers to recognize their own troops, but by the mid 20th Century it had become the most recognized symbol of the Confederacy and therefore became the most widely used. Perhaps the 3rd National Flag would have been more appropriate, but it was not as widely recognized and so, was not used.
By this time, some of the Original meaning of this banner had been lost and a new meaning had been attached. Many who grew up in that era viewed the Battleflag as a symbol of opposition to tyrannical Government. I believe this is why it was seen at such places as the destruction of the Berlin wall. Today, many in the Canadian province of Quebec, fly the Battleflag as a symbol of their desire for Quebec's independence from Canada. Even Black soldiers in South Africa have used the Battleflag to symbolize their opposition to the policies of apartheid.
(If any readers have additional pictures of the Battleflag being used to promote freedom from tyranny, please send them to me)
When the Berlin wall fell in 1988, the Confederate Battle Flag was there, in its new meaning of oppression to Tyranny and as a symbol of Freedom from an oppressive government. Since this was not the original meaning of the Battle Flag, should we deplore its use in these settings or discourage its use?
The Battle Flag appears near the top center at the Berlin Wall, in 1988.
In this sense, perhaps the worldview of the Confederate Battleflag has indeed changed, but is this so far from it's original meaning? To many today, the Confederate Battle Flag symbolizes FREEDOM. It's use, to oppose tyrannical Government is in my opinion both ethical and appropriate.
The Confederate battle flag may be an objectionable symbol to our domestic forces of political correctness, but it apparently has at least one supporter in the Punjab near Islamabad, Pakistan as this photo by Aurangzeb Khan attests.
These soldiers in this undated photo from Viet-Nam don't seem to have any problem with the Confederater Battle Flag.
The Confederate Battle Flag even appears on the first day of motorcycle season in St. Petersburg, Russia (2008).
Yes, the Ku Klux Klan used it when they opposed forced integration, but so did many average citizens, who had no affiliation with the Klan. Also, I have never seen any pictures of the Northern branches of the Klan using this symbol. If indeed, it was being used to oppose Federal intervention in the self-government of the Southern States, then I feel it's use was appropriate, but when it is used to deny rights to fellow Americans because of Race, Culture or Religion, then its use is definitely inappropriate and should be objected to, in the strongest manner possible.
As for the use of the Confederate Battle Flag on clothing, the issue is a little more complicated. Where do we draw the line? Are Dewey Barber's "Dixie Outfitter" shirts a misuse of the Flag? What about the Confederate Bikini's worn by two Black women at Myrtle Beach's Black Bike Week? What of Jacqueline Duty's Battleflag themed Prom Dress?
Two unidentified Black women in Myrtle Beach. I guess they haven't heard of the boycott or the offense they should be taking at the Confederate symbols
Jacqueline Duty models her controversial Prom dress
Even the United States Flag is used on clothing without much disagreement. Why not the Confederate Battle Flag?
When we object to our young wearing the Battleflag on their clothing, we are discouraging them from showing pride in their Southern Heritage.
In today's society, our Confederate symbols need as much positive publicity as we can allow. Unfortunately, even among the Heritage supporters, there is a perception that this flag should only be used in it's original context, as a symbol of the Confederate Soldier and his regiment. To me, this is akin to saying it should only be used in it's historical context which is just short of saying it only should be shown in a Museum. Perhaps these individuals would prefer that only the Sons of Confederate Veterans be allowed to use the Battle Flag, and then only in ceremonial circumstances?
If this ever occurred, then public support would surely die out.
Myself, being an "In-Your-Face", activist, I believe that any time the Battleflag is shown, whether it is on a T-Shirt, Billboard, Bikini, Auto License Plate, or any other use, it puts the Flag back in the public's mind. The More it is seen, the better our chances of rescuing it from the degrading circumstances in which it has been placed by the NAACP and the liberal Media.
I would object, only if it were used in connection with objectionable subjects such as pornography, anti-Christian values or any other topic antithetical to it's original meaning.
We cannot all march with flags bearing its likeness, but we can show our pride by wearing it emblazoned on our shirts. We should applaud those who will show their support in any way they can.
"Divide and Conquer" was one of the earliest tactics used to defeat an enemy and the Heritage supporters are definitely divided. When so-called Heritage supporters condemn the actions of others, just because they don't agree with their method of showing support, the Heritage battle is halfway lost.
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August 25, 2003