As North Carolina rates a “Bravo” moment in deciding to cease issuing license plates with the Confederate flag, something in their announcing statement took me to pause.
Where they noted the plates “have the potential to offend those who view them”.
It’s the word “potential” that is at the center of the discussion, at least to me.
How could it not insult just some people, but most people? How about everyone?
This comes at a time when America is being crushed under the weight of a real insurrection, where a large group of people sought to, and still do seek, an overthrow of the United States government to fit their needs and to Hell with everyone else’s.
And here, in stark colors emblazoned on license plates, tee shirts, hats, coffee mugs, and planted in the back of pickup trucks across the (mostly) South, there is a symbol of insurrection and Government overthrow that is to this day celebrated by descendants of those who were, without question, traitors to America.
Yet to so many people, they see nothing wrong with this symbol. They puff up about the “pride” they have in those who followed the true meaning behind that flag. Many have made their living selling whatever they can mark with the flag and it’s related images to plunder a few bucks from the equally delusional. People such as the group mentioned in the article, the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans, hold rallies and recreations of the battles. claiming they do so in order to “honor” the memory of those who fought for “freedom”.
No, they didn’t fight for freedom. They fought for the right to own human beings.
Stop right there. Be certain you take that in. Most everything about the Civil War, and the reason behind that flag, centered around owning, torturing, demeaning and brutalizing human beings, treating them as little more than disposable property.
Some will scream that I could not be more wrong, that it was about the “rights” of the Southern States.
OK then, let’s move from there.
The Southern states wanted to break away and assert their authority over the federal government so they could abolish federal laws they didn’t support, especially laws interfering with the South’s right to keep slaves and take them wherever they wished.
That flag stands for the economics of slavery. Plain and simple.
Those who still believe in the Confederacy and what it stands for to this day will counter again with, “it was about territorial expansion”.
OK then, let’s move from there.
The South wished to take slavery into the western territories, while the North was committed to keeping them open to white labor alone.
Finally, let’s bring in politics. The Republican Party was dominant at the time, and refused to allow that western expansion of slavery. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, that was the final straw as the Confederates knew this would mean the end of what they held so close to their traditional chest.
So you see, there really should be no “potential” here when it comes to why this symbol should be insulting to everyone, at least to those who understand history and are determined never to repeat it.
Symbols are powerful things. They can promote peace, and they can foment violence. Whether affixed to the back of a vehicle, or stitched as letters onto a baseball cap, certain symbols should not merely have “potential” to enrage. They simply should, each and every time they are discussed.
Certain symbols reach a point where those with even a small measure of common sense and decency should be repulsed at their sight or mention. These are the symbols for which there is only one true meaning behind them. All the bluster and bombast one could muster could never change that.
The Confederate flag stands for upheaval. It conjures to any mind thoughts of violence, racism, sadism, hatred, fear, and a hard core desire to plunge a nation into a level of sadistic darkness that would, and hopefully will, suit only a small faction of America. It stood for insurrection and overthrow. It was and, to this day in many cases, supported by those who at their core are traitors and seditionists against the United States.
What some people still call a level of bravery from those who backed the cause should instead, and I believe decidedly will one day into our future, always historically be noted as nothing more than levels of cowardice and determination to subjugate certain people to a hateful whim. All because those people refused to agree with the call of those who were confident “right, and God, were on their side”.
Neither could have been further from the truth.
Here in 2021, as America still reels from the events of a January day in Washington D.C., we must ask ourselves what symbols are now being used to evoke a frightening similarity to emotions of the Civil War era. As it was then, we are today also faced with the plots and schemes of miscreants and the misguided, all of whom follow a “call to arms”, authored by those who only have greed and a personal lust for power behind their words and actions.
We should be asking that question every day, in order to ensure it will never happen again.
Perhaps then, we will defeat and dispatch another symbol of hate, and get on with the business of honestly, and properly, making America great.