The Republican Party fought to rid the USA of everything that the Confederate flag stands for. It is bewildering at best for any alleged “Republican” to now defend that flag.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In a recently-published rant, Fox News Radio personality Todd Starnes writes, “A full-fledged cultural cleansing of the Southern states is underway as lawmakers debate whether to remove Confederate flags and rename schools and parks named after Confederate war heroes.”
Further into his rant, Starnes states, “It won’t be too long before they start renaming cities and towns and counties named after Confederates. And I reckon it’s only a matter of time before they bulldoze the Confederate grave yards and war memorials too. Maybe we can just pretend the Civil War never happened.”
Apparently, Starnes is pretending that the Civil War was never about the eradication of a great evil that permeated the Old South … which is exactly what the Civil War was about.
Today, conservatives and Republicans are discovering that it is wrong to honor or glorify the attempt to preserve that evil.
Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker is a native of the Old South and still lives there. In a recent column of hers, Parker describes her family’s connection to the old Confederacy. In the column, Parker has this to say about the Confederate flag:
The fact that the mere sight of the banner brings pain and humiliation to our African American neighbors is argument enough to bring it down. But last week’s brutal slayings nullified the pro-heritage argument. Forevermore, there’s no disputing its power as a symbol of racial hatred and the sickness of racism we all have a duty to fight with the same ferocity soldiers a century-and-a-half ago mustered to end slavery.
Republican blogger Ed Rogers gives his own perspective about the thing that Starnes wants to preserve.
The very idea that the Confederate flag celebrates a history worth celebrating is offensive. Exactly what is it that is being celebrated by the display of the Confederate flag?
If you were standing next to a black friend and fellow citizen and looked up and saw a Confederate flag on display, how would you feel? The situation would be awkward at best. How would the black citizen feel? Is there anything there for him or her to celebrate? Of course not. The Confederate flag is nothing more than a condescending, mean-spirited taunt. If you want to shake your fist at Washington, celebrate Southern pride or whatever, figure out a way to do it that doesn’t have an obvious racist connotation.
I am a proud Alabamian, but no one in the South should hide behind the notion that the flag has a place in the public square because “it is part of our history.” There are plenty of symbols and words that are part of history that are off-limits because they are offensive and have no place in modern society. And the idea that we Southerners should ignore anyone pointing out the obvious and refuse to listen to outsiders because we think they shouldn’t tell us what to do with that flag is silly. Obstinance in furtherance of an insult is no virtue.
Conservative journalist Philip Klein writes the following:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley displayed strong leadership on Monday by calling on the legislature to vote to take down the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capitol.
The flag is an ugly symbol of treason, slavery, violence and racism, yet under the guise of “heritage” it has maintained a prominent position in a public space in a state in which 1.3 million residents, or about 30 percent of the population, is black.
As for Todd Starnes, apparently he was raised to believe in a false romantic image about the Confederacy, to believe that it is somehow “heroic” to fight to defend an evil institution, which is exactly what slavery in the Old South was. That is why he is ranting about any alleged “cultural cleansing” of the South, the extent of which he exaggerates (and, IMHO, hyperventilates).
Sadly, there are some people who are wearing the same blinders that Starnes is wearing. They, too, try to defend the use of a relic of evil, claiming that a symbol of racism has somehow lost its symbolism.
If the Confederate flag doesn’t symbolize the racism that permeated the Old South, if it doesn’t symbolize people who fought to preserve evil, then what does it symbolize?
Post Update: Folks, as I was writing this blog post, I was unaware that Warner was writing a post about the same subject, but with an opposing viewpoint. I didn’t find out until I published this one.