By this time everyone has seen the news that the political correctness army has scored another victory and gotten Republicans from Nikki Haley to Lindsey Graham to call for the removal of the Stars and Bars from public grounds at the state house. (Yes, I know… the “Stars and Bars” is not technically the same as the Battle Flag but you’ll bear with me today for that as a generic salute to Southern pride.) You never know what’s going to happen in the heat of an election season when the eyes of politicos are on the polls and spines grow weak under pressure from the tide. The timing, of course, is no accident. Liberal, progressive forces will never miss an opportunity to turn a tragedy to their own advantage. Yes, the Governor is assuring us all that private citizens can still fly the flag on private property, but this declaration (as she made clear in her speech) is meant to show that the segment of the public who disagree with removing it are either in the wrong or should not be heard in proper society. The politicians have spoken and that piece of cloth should be reserved to the grounds of a disapproved segment of society. But before we pack the Confederate Battle Flag “off to a museum” as the President suggests, I would offer a bit of perspective.
Some years ago, as I’ve noted in the past, our Red State colleague Erick Erickson penned a column on a completely different subject titled You Will Be Made to Care. Erick was talking about gay marriage, but what he described was the the ever present mode of operation for the modern American Left. It’s not enough to disagree with someone when there is a difference of opinion on social issues, government policy or even the color of the sky. It’s not even sufficient to shut down the conversation, as Guy and Mary Katharine so aptly identified in End of Discussion. Those who dissent must be forced to bend a knee and participate.
We’re seeing the same thing today in the newly reignited, perpetual debate over the Confederate Battle Flag. Many Southern families still feel a strong association with the stars and bars even though they live in an era when everyone has written off slavery as an evil in our past which was engaged in by the male, landed gentry from both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line. They remember that the civil war was far more than some hotly debated policy discussion over slavery. (Though that was obviously a part of it.) They recall how the North used their enormous industrial advantage to craft policies which created hardship for the more agricultural South and drained them of their wealth. They know the family stories about how the North built up a huge population advantage and curried that into an electoral hammer they could use to write the rules in their own favor. They remember that and much more.
Other Southern families may not even dwell on those concerns, but they know the pride they feel in the South. They know that their ancestors fought and died for what they, at the time, believed in and stood to defend their loved ones and their homes. And well into the modern era they have felt the sting of the constant derision from the North. Southerners talk slow, so they must be stupid. They are backward. They are ignorant rednecks. What a shame they can’t be as elite and as enlightened as their northern cousins. The fact is, they just don’t fit into proper modern America. Isn’t it a shame? This remains one of the few politically correct topics of “humor” in comedy shows. You can always make fun of the rednecks who speak with a Southern drawl.
But these same people retain a modern pride in the heritage of their region. I frequently travel to various states in the warmer climes and constantly see signs and bumper stickers which proudly declare that the owner is American by birth, but is Southern by the Grace of God.
But in keeping with liberal theory, we must eliminate some piece of cloth that reminds them of their heritage, even if it has nothing to do with racism or slavery in their minds. It does to us! That requires a trigger warning, mister, and you didn’t provide us with a safe space!
And We Are The Perpetually And Righteously Offended, So You Shall Comply.
What they forget is that there are plenty of flags out there and many people are offended by them. You can go to any number of liberal rallies and see a very famous banner honoring Che Guevara.
“But no!” you say. “It’s not an “official” flag!” Yes, well neither is the Confederate Battle Flag. And we’ve seen the Che flag in all sort of rather official looking places, such as the offices of political candidates. You may be surprised to learn that a banner honoring Che Guevara is offensive to all sorts of people. If I have to explain why, then you didn’t read this column this far down anyway. And yet, for some reason, we don’t demand government action to ban it from being flown. We simply disagree with the sentiment and mock those who fly it. But that’s never good enough for the Left. You must be made to care. You will be made to participate. You will take the hateful piece of cloth down (though a piece of cloth has yet to ever shoot up a church or a school) and you will denounce it. Or we will destroy you.
I should note, in closing, that this column is being penned by a Damned Yankee, born and bred in New York. But I’ve lived in enough places and met enough people to realize that you’re not always as wise and as righteous as you may think you are until you’ve sat down at the dinner table of another person’s mom for a plate of red beans and rice with cornbread. Every Southerner I know today abhors the idea of slavery and would immediately call the police if they found out about anyone keeping human beings as slaves. But they are also proud of their heritage and the many things the South represents, and for many of them the Stars and Bars is emblematic of that sense of history and pride. So maybe you can crack the politically correct whip and tear down some flags. I say go to hell. Our brothers and sisters who dwell below the Mason-Dixon are Americans first and always, but they are Southern by the Grace of God.