I doubt I could print this in my newspaper, given the social and cultural undercurrents of our circulation area. But as for here . . . . . .
As a Virginian, I’ve been exposed to more than my share of the romance of the South and the Confederacy.
Yes, I’ve walked down Monument Avenue in Richmond and seen the statues of Lee and Maury, the cannon marking the last line of defense of Richmond, and the ‘White House of the Confederacy.’
I’ve also seen the predilection that younger folks in more rural areas of the Commonwealth have for displaying the last version of the Confederate battle ensign/naval jack in the form of bumper stickers, truck window shades, t-shirts, ball caps and other media.
And I’ve even got my own bit of Confederate heritage – an ancestor who was a Confederate color sergeant – that has led to many an approach to join the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
But I don’t indulge in any romanticism about the Southern Cross in any of its forms. While it’s easy to cite all the usual reasons one hears argued when it comes to displaying the flag and celebrating Southern heritage, I consider some other disturbing undercurrents.
The Confederate flag in all its permutations represents, first and foremost, a flag of rebellion against an imperfect yet hopeful ideal. For more background on that ideal, just read the Declaration of Indepencence and the Preamble to the Constitution.
That flag also represents an attempt by a group of secessionists to solicit the aid of foreign powers to undermine an attempt at a democratic republic.
In case you might disagree, perhaps revisiting some of the more respected histories and the relationship between the Confederacy, Britain and France might make that case a little more rational.
And lest one thinks I’m picking on the poor, misunderstood South, the historical record demonstrates quite well that blacks suffered plenty of economic, social and violent racism in all regions of the Unites States, before, during and after the Civil War.
In that regard, it may be very tempting to infer that the Stars and Stripes may very well represent some of the same morally disgusting institutional behavior and social beliefs as the Southern Cross.
And that means we as a nation have a responsibility to change that, just as we had a responsibility to ensure that no part of this nation ever organized under any variation of the Confederate flag.