Point of View Columns

Take Down the Damn Flag

In the aftermath of the Charleston Massacre Governor Nikki Haley has proposed that the Confederate flag will no longer fly over the State House. The governors of Mississippi, Virginia and Tennessee are proposing similar measures and too many Republicans and Democrats are breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for this amazing “progress”.

But the question stands, why has it taken so long for political leadership of this country to understand how deeply and tragically offensive the Confederate flag is for black Americans and for all people of good will? And there is also this question – why is any American comfortable flying or wearing the Confederate flag? After all, we see very few Germans wearing swastika bikinis and baseball caps and we see absolutely no Russians parading through Moscow with hammer and sickle banners.

All this talk about “heritage” and honoring sainted and valorous Southern “heroes” must be seen within the context of real and undisputed history. First and foremost, we should be clear that the driving force of the Confederate States of America was the preservation and continuation of white supremacy and slavery – that is, the sale, ownership and uncontrolled and unlimited physical abuse and degradation of black American men, women and children.

This really is not a subject of debate. Here are the words of Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the CSA speaking about the CSA:

“Its foundations are laid; its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

This is the “heritage” that the Confederate flag. This is the “noble cause” that the so-called sainted and valorous Southern “heroes” fought and died for. Even a cursory overview of warfare would reveal that there will always be instances of bravery and heroism, no matter how evil and odious the cause. There can be no doubt that there were noble and brave Nazi soldiers during World War II, but Germans honor the war dead in a somber fashion and not in the raucous, outrageous and tone deaf fashion in which the Confederacy is celebrated in this country.

It is simply a damn shame that nine more black people had to die at the hands of yet another white racist before some people finally realized that the Confederate flag is not simply inappropriate, it is obscene. Flying and wearing the stars and bars insults the memory of every black person who suffered through slavery and every black person who has been oppressed and terrorized and killed with that same damned flag flying.

Look at the photographs of the spit-stained white mobs howling and protesting the integration of a high school in Little Rock, or the University of Mississippi or the University of Alabama and you will see the Confederate flag. Look in the archives and you will see the Confederate flag flying at Ku Klux Klan rallies and at the hundreds of lynching parties that always ended with black bodies hanging from trees like the strange fruit about which Billie Holiday wrote and sung.

There is nothing noble about the Confederacy. There is nothing honorable about the cause for which the Confederate soldiers fought and died. They fought a traitorous and treasonous war in order to perpetuate white supremacy and the enslavement of black Americans. There should be no flags flying, there should be no monuments, there should be no streets and universities and boulevards named after the leaders of this hideous cause.

Germans do not fly the swastika over government buildings. Germans do not name their streets and universities after Nazi leaders like Hitler and Goering and Himmler. Why should Americans countenance flying the Confederate flag or any other honoring or commemoration of the so-called heroes of the so-called noble and treasonous cause?

Take Down the Damn Flag.

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Point of View Columns

Rent A Slave….continued

During the past week I wrote about the reckless and pitiful sham of grown men and women dressed in antebellum costumes to commemorate and celebrate the secession of southern states and the commencement of the Civil War.

And brace yourself, for it appears that there are enough liars, obscurers of the truth and defenders of racism to sustain 4 ½ years of these celebrations.

In fact that the Civil War was the bloodiest confrontation in which this country has ever been engaged. Civil War casualties exceeded American casualties in all other wars combined. It seems heartbreaking and cruel that there would be fools so foolish as to celebrate the commencement of this carnage. Turning this country into a charnel house is not a cause for festivities.

But, of course, there is more that offends. That secession was all about the continued enslavement of black men, women and children is not subject to debate.

The writings of the Founding Fathers of the bastard Confederate States of America were very clear that the intent of secession and the ensuing war was to preserve the damnable and peculiar institution called slavery.

On March 21, 1861, Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the CSA wrote that Thomas Jefferson was “wrong in believing that the enslavement o the African was in violation of the laws of nature”. He went on to write, “Our new government is exactly founded on the opposite idea”.

This statement and so many others should be clear enough for the apologists for the Confederacy. The truth is that the southern states fought to the death to preserve slavery and their “right” to possess, own and abuse black men and women of African descent for eternity.

There is nothing noble about this heritage. And it is shameful that anyone would seek to glorify it or to put a spin on it.

The latest spin is to somehow turn the southern secession to a 19th century Tea Party rebellion against “big government” interfering with state’s rights. If I were a member of the Tea Party movement or its affiliates I would be disavowing this connection at every possible opportunity.

After all, could there ever be a time when state’s rights trumps human rights and civil rights? But the silence from the right wing of the right wing is deafening.

The problem with these “celebrations”, aside from their obscenity, is that it churns and distorts the truth. Too many Americans are already too ignorant of the history of this country. To articulate and perpetuate lies only serves to maintain and inflame the racial divide that is still very much a part of this country.

When Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says that he doesn’t remember the civil rights era as being “all that bad”, there are some people who stop and listen and give this awful statement air time. I am sure that there were Germans who didn’t find the pre-war Hitler days as being “all that bad”.

Now, 150 years later, there are pseudo-historian buffoons across the South who plan to celebrate slavery, slaughter and residual animosities for the next 4 ½ years!

That any person of intelligence and goodwill, whatever their political persuasion, would celebrate such an awful aspect of America is a disgrace. That black Americans in particular have to bear witness to this blood libel for the next 4 ½ is a perversion.

I find it fascinating that the United States is the only country on this planet that permits the celebration of treason. I am not clear that the unsuccessful insurgents in any country would be permitted to prance around proclaiming the sanctity of their losing cause for 150 years. And yet, here in America, the offense continues.

In the most recent Point of View Weekend Edition, I suggested a proposition for these amoral secessionist revelers. Don’t stop at dressing up as slave owners. Get some black people to dress up as slaves – liveried servants, maids, butlers, chauffeurs personal attendants and concubines. Make the entire celebration authentic and, in the process provide much needed jobs for thousands of unemployed black people throughout the South.

Rent a Slave should be a big hit with these undisguised bigots. And, at the end of every assignment, the “slave” can be “emancipated” by the Rent a Slave customer. I can envision Frequent Slave Owner awards as well.

I might also suggest that O.J. Simpson be put into a work release program so that he can play the part of Nat Turner. That should add some further verisimilitude to this damnable madness.

These maniacs have no respect for history, morality, black people or these United States. They might as well wallow in it.

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