I’m not probably the best representative for this discussion. I originate from Minnesota, and if anyone has seen the state flag of Minnesota, there’s not going to be a lot of controversy over its appearance. As a matter of fact, I had to look it up and see if I could remember what it looked like. Honestly, if they changed a few things on it, I wouldn’t probably be able to notice.
Now, check out the most recent controversy over flags. This one, from South Carolina. There’s a resurgence of public support to not fly this flag. It symbolizes two things in history, separation from the United States of America and slavery. Are those the things that need to be symbolized in 2015? President Barack Obama believes the Confederate flag belongs in a museum. I know I don’t have a dog in this hunt, but isn’t he right?
It’s a controversy heightened by the recent murders of 9 people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston South Carolina. This incident has shocked the nation and has brought forward the imagery so often depicted as contributing to the racial remarks by the man committing this heinous act. Oddly enough, as a relocated northerner to the south, even I’m quite aware of the original Confederate battle flag. I don’t have any emotional connection to it, I’m just aware of it. When I look at the various arguments for or against this flag, I’m reminded of the machinations and debates when the Georgia state flag was changed in 2003.
Here’s the interesting part. The state flag of South Carolina isn’t the Confederate Battle flag. Yes, the flag doesn’t look at all like the old civil war flag. So why is this flag flying over the capitol? Many might argue that it’s part of a tradition. So are hooded sheets and Nazi flags. Are those the kind of symbols to be proudly waving over government buildings? Of course one could argue that the original Confederate battle flag was derived from the Spanish with their Burgundy Calvary cross at a time when they held territory in the U.S. A variation of this flag is still in use by Spain this day, however I don’t believe that particular flag is observed in the same way as the newer Confederate flag.
The Confederate Flag is part of the south’s history / legacy. Many of the problems we face today are rooted in history. Are we so proud of a flag that symbolizes separation and intolerance of others to the point where it must still fly over government buildings?
Racial hatred is part of that history, and so are pride in ideas which maybe we need to re-evaluate in the 21st century? Must we be so blinded by our desire to cling to the past that we can’t look forward to a better future?