The Confederate Flag

I’ve been avoiding the news lately as part of a stress-reduction plan. However, I couldn’t help hearing about the moronic move to ban the Confederate flag following the murder of nine blacks in South Carolina by a psychotic racist.

Whenever there is a mass shooting or other despicable crime, people try to come up with a simple, easy ‘something’ to do about it. Usually the answer is more gun control. This time it’s stop displaying the Confederate flag. Whatever it is, it’s always invasive, illogical, ultimately pointless, and involves stripping people of their freedom. But at least it’s ‘something.’ There’s no denying that.

When it comes to the Civil War, I’m a full-throated Union partisan. General Grant is one of my personal heroes, and I firmly believe that General Sherman was one of the most brilliant soldiers in American history. I think the Confederacy was completely in the wrong during that conflict, and I am grateful to President Lincoln, General Grant, General Sherman, and all the hundreds of thousands of brave men who fought, bled, and died to preserve the Union.

That being said, I respect the Confederate soldiers and the Confederate point of view. The Civil War was not a case of good versus evil, as was, say, the Second World War or the Cold War. It was a case of two well-intentioned and committed sides clashing over their understanding of the nation. I think one side was wrong, but that doesn’t put it on the level of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

(Speaking of which, Amazon has banned the Confederate flag, but apparently sees no problem in selling Soviet and Nazi merchandise. What the hell kind of moral stance is that? Personally, I don’t think any of those should be banned, but banning Confederate merchandise while continuing to sell Nazi and Communist items would seem to send the appalling message that the Confederate States of America were worse than Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union).

Yes, the Confederacy owned slaves, and yes the conflict was in large part about that issue. Yes, slavery is wrong, especially the form of slavery practiced in the United States in the nineteenth century. That being said, the Confederate flag is not just the flag of slavery. In fact, there are relatively few people who see it that way, or who ever saw it that way (it’s complicated; the use of the Confederate flag in anti-integration or white supremacy movements fluctuated over the years). For most people, it’s a symbol of southern pride; of everything that gives the South its unique character. For others, its a symbol of rebellion, of refusing to bow to authority. For others, it’s simply a way of honoring the past and the brave men who loved it and bled and died for its sake.

The point is, trying to sweep the Confederate flag aside, with Amazon and Walmart actually banning its sale and politicians demanding that it never be displayed and Apple going so far as to pull Civil War games to avoid showing it, is simply an assault on American history. It’s another childish tantrum from the oversensitive wannabe-victims on the Left. Another attempt to force their own shallow, manufactured worldview down everyone else’s throats.

I’m glad the Confederacy lost, and frankly I never really cared for the Confederate flag. But I hate it when whiney, self-righteous infants try to bully the rest of the world into catering to their own shallow comfort. Maybe it’s because I can barely go three days in a row without hearing someone attacking my own religion and culture, but my response to the perpetually outraged crowd is always “grow the hell up.”

General Grant, I think, said it best:

“I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.”

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P.S. I checked a site that sells Confederate Flag merchandise and found to my delight that they’re completely sold out. The lesson: once again, most Americans don’t like being dictated to.

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