Alone, objects can mean absolutely nothing at all. But when we as people start attaching memories, words, or actions to these objects, it can bring about positive or negative connotations and emotions. Symbols have been used through out history to warn people, give them direction, and even tell stories.
I want to address the symbol that has divided a nation once more, just as it did over one hundred years ago, the Confederate flag. Since the deadly shooting at a South Carolina church that was a result of racial motivation, debate has raged about the role or significance the Confederate flag had in the lead up to the shooting. In several pictures, the accused, Dylan Roof is shown with the confederate flag, a known symbol for a harsh, brutal racist history of the American south to some and so called heritage to others.
I want to take a look at this issue from different angles. First, for those who claim it's about heritage, what heritage exactly are you speaking of? The flag itself stood for the 13 confederate states that chose to secceed from the union because they didnt agree with the Federal Government's decision to move away from slavery to a more industrialized nation. It was about the rights of 13 states to prolong a system, to legally hold and enslave people of African descent, force them to work for free, break apart their families and sell them as if they were cheap goods at a corner store. The heritage of the flag is entrenched in the lore or racism, discrimination and murder. Is that the type of heritage that you're proud of? Germany had the Nazi's but I dont see them flying the swastika around freely or on any government buildings.
As a matter of fact, the only people who continue to embrace the Nazi flag are neo-nazis and fascists. And guess what flag they proudly fly when the don't have access to a swastika? Your dear Confederate flag. Why you say? Because they recognize the similarities and have made the correlation between the two. They are basically one in the same.
Each stood for hate, death, racism, oppression and were the calling cards of their bearers. For those of you who sympathize with Jews and the holocaust and wouldn't fly a nazi flag in your front yard nor think it appropriate to fly over a state or local government building, why can't you give African American's that same respect. That symbol means to us what the swastika means to Jewish folks. As much as you would like to deny it, it's a racist symbol and it's disgusting.
If you feel that strongly about it to fly it on your very own property, I won't deny your right to do that because it's a free country and you have the right to do so if you please. But it has no place on local or government grounds and should be removed from all such places. The smoke screens you use about it being more related to heritage and the flag being harmless are pointless. If it's truely something that you believe in, then atleast let it be known without hiding behind excuses or false claims.
If you can't own up to your own beliefs (yes I'm alluding to racist beliefs) whether they be controversial or unfavorable then that should let you know that your beliefs are something that you have difficulty standing on from a moral point of view. Anything that I defend passionately, I need no excuses or false proclamations as to why I support it. I can be transparent with my reasons and proudly allign them with my words, actions, and beliefs.
The moment I can't bring those three things together in harmony, that will be the day that I need to question my intentions. And many who defend the Confederate flag and what it stands for while also claiming to not be racist, that's where you fall into trouble, your actions, words, and beliefs don't fall in line with what the flag stands for and what you claim. For those who use the excuse of heritage but aren't even from the South as I am, please stop because you look even more ridiculous.
Atleast those from the South or with roots in the South may be able to pull from their family tree and find a relative who fought for the Confederacy or owned a plantation, but you, you are either using the symbol to display your racist nature and notions without coming out and saying it or trying to strike a nerve in someone as a child does. Either way it's not a good look! So before you fight for the right to own or fly the Confederate flag, let's first ask ourselves why you want to fly it and if it's appropriate to fly over government property. In the end it comes down to how welcomed you would feel, if a flag that says, "I hate you, I loathe you, and you are unequal to me!" flew over your local government buildings.