Thursday, January 26, 2012

Part 2: The Confederate Flag-Should It Still Fly?

The Confederate Flag- Should it Still Fly?
Now it doesn’t matter how cool the design is.

As an artist, with an eye for color and a fascination for design- I truthfully think I like the graphic of the Confederate Flag better than our current National symbol. The Red background, blue cross and white stars is immediately striking to the eye.
It is interesting to note that this was not the first Confederate flag used in battle. There were two others used before it . These Confederate flags were rejected for reasons not obvious until similarities in color and design to Union flags made the flag difficult to distinguish in the heat of battle.
The second Confederate battle flag had a white background that resembled a flag of truce.
Not great for morale. Mighty darned confusing.
I imagine the designer of that particular flag was reassigned.

This bold Red background with Blue cross and white stars representing the Secessionist States was superior indeed. It was easy to recognize on the field, striking in detail, bold in character.
It has reached legendary status in Civil war lore.

Fair observation helps us tell the difference between LEGEND and MYTH.

Hint: one has a basis in fact- the other does not and thus can be molded to suit the teller of the tale.

The Myth: The South was all mint Julep, hooped skirts, beautiful Belles and well dressed southern gentlemen. These fine gentlemen owned large plantations on which a happy population of well fed, happy, musical negroes went dutifully about their labors, singing, dancing, and feeling fortunate to have been delivered out of the savage African jungles by the white master. In Addition these negroes happily converted to Christianity, thanks to the beneficial institution of slavery. Their souls were no longer in peril as a result of their conversion. The fields and comfortable shacks rang with songs of the grateful black folk. Under Southern skies great poetry was recited by genteel and well -mannered white aristocracy, there was laughter under the majestic Magnolias and cotillions lit up the night.

Bullshit, Y’all.

Few Southerners fighting in the Confederate forces owned slaves. Most of them were poor dirt farmers. Few even owned their own land. Plantation owners who owned more than 10 slaves could legally buy their way out of serving- or pay some poor white hardscrabble to serve in his stead.

The North profited by slavery as well. Northerners also owned and imported slaves. Rhode Island was one of the most active importers of slaves until Moses Brown and the Quakers put a stop to the importation of Human Beings. This didn’t happen overnight. The ships left from Massachusetts and Connecticut for the coast of Africa as well. The North had the mills and the means to turn “King Cotton” into a useful commodity. Not all Northerners gave a crap about Emancipation. One of the worst riots in American history happened in New York City. Over one thousand died in rebellion over the Union army conscription law. Over eighty black men were lynched on that occasion.

So much for Liberal Yankees.

America from it’s inception til the year 1865 was

The Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Slave.

(…but why don’t they just get over it…)

To this I would add that if there is ANYONE left in this country that doesn’t admit to the fact that the United States was largely built by the sweat and labor of slaves, who were forced into bondage, brought to these shores in the stinking disease ridden Hell of a slave ship, tortured, auctioned , bred like animals, and whose families were ripped apart and sold away from one another, and whose culture suffers as a result TO THIS VERY MOMENT- (are you getting this yet?)
Damn, man. Where Y’all been? Stop yelling about your heritage and worshiping a SYMBOL and mouthing anecdotal truisms and read a book once in a great while. Great knowledge resides between the covers of a History book.
You may want to read Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: A Narrative (3 Vol. Set).
Ol’ Shelby is a Southern homeboy- so don’t worry that he’s part of the Liberal media.
Prop that flag up under the shade of that Magnolia tree and set a spell. A good read never hurt anyone. Eat some souse and crackers and settle in. What you may discover may expand your mind.

War as Heritage? ..strange way to look at it..

I would argue that then, as now, War, and the myths associated with it, are a decision based on greed and economics brought to bear by Politicians who-through sheer guile and false pragmatism, and under the banner of Patriotism raise the propaganda levels necessary to send a duped population into battle. Both sides were guilty of this. Read a little history before making half-baked assertions about HERITAGE.

It is, and ALWAYS has been-


Wars are begun and fostered by GOVERNMENTS comprised of POLITICIANS; but the horror of battle is suffered by Human Beings- those who are wounded or killed, and most certainly by those who mourn them and are left behind to pick up the pieces. It is those Human Beings who cast the bronze and erect the statues to fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, and yes-to African-American visionaries who died for Racial Equality.
Such is the passion of the ones left alive to grieve.

There is healing in this. From healing comes Resolve. From Resolve comes positive social evolution.

The Pain of loss is universal to the species. There are few things held as sacred in all humankind than the honoring one’s own dead and the need for obsequy.

There are Confederate war memorials. There are Union war memorials. There are memorials (though not nearly enough of them) showing the suffering caused terrible institution of Slavery.
This is our collective history. These memorials are essential to all Americans so that history and the cost of war will never be forgotten. There is no logic in the desecration or in using these monuments as political footballs. These were people. They were loved. Let the memorials stand and may they rest in Peace. May we finally learn the lessons this national horror gave us as Americans.

Unity, IS strength.

When it comes to War in general, and the Civil War in particular- the words of The Bard are especially poignant-

That quote can be found in Romeo and Juliet. It is spoken by the Prince as he looks at two dead lovers at his feet, and addresses the grieving families whose feud no longer seems so important.

Who owns history? Who dictates Truth?

Tomorrow- Part 3- Wrap It Up- I'll Take It.

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