The first thing I need to say before I start is that I am well aware that the target of this diatribe is a small percentage of the population. The fact that they are loud and obnoxious doesn’t negate the fact that the vast majority of Americans will like this post and they will think about it and realise that they agree with me. However, the question has to be asked:
Isn’t it way past time for the confederacy to die?
And when I say die, I mean, go away. I’m not calling for the death of every crackpot who thinks the Confederacy was hunky dory. I want the symbolism, which has one nefarious purpose, gone.
Everyone who lives here is an American and covered by the Constitution of the United States. Every single person. We have evolved past the point where we can use the Constitution to uphold one person’s rights and then turn around and use it to deny someone else their rights. In other words, while it’s taken 241 years, we are growing up as a nation. But there is one thing that continues to persist that really should bug the living shit out of everyone out there, and that is, why the hell do we still have monuments to the Confederacy in this country? Why do several states still fly the confederate flag on public land? For that matter, why the hell does Mississippi still incorporate the confederate battle flag in their state flag? And why is the idea of moving these monuments, statues and other paraphernalia off public land even in the least bit controversial?
In case you haven’t seen the news, the Confederacy lost the Civil War.
You may not know this, because Fox News didn’t cover it. Whatever the reason, many white southerners act as if the Confederacy won. They fly the flag (which isn’t even the actual confederate flag, but I’ll get to that in a minute) and they sing “Dixie” and they crow about “heritage,” but the key thing they ought to know about their “heritage” is that they’re a bunch of goddamn losers. They lost the Civil War and they came crawling back into the Union like beaten dogs. In fact, these same asshole actually call themselves “patriots” and fawn over their “confederate heritage.” How does that work, exactly?
So, the first question is, why are you celebrating that? Worse, why do we let them? I’m not talking about individual ignorant rednecks who paste confederate flags all over their “pick-em-up” trucks to show everyone how ignorant and racist they are – and they are. I’m talking about the monuments and other reminders of their losership that dot the public lands of the south as if they are proud of having lost so badly. I mean, for chrissakes, people, look how many roads in the south are named after Robert E. Lee? I mean, if we had gotten our asses kicked in the first Gulf War and George Bush, Sr, had sent Norman Schwarzkopf over to sign the surrender, would we be naming highways after him? I mean, I don’t see Germans celebrating Hitler and naming highways after Goebbels; how is this different?
And before you say it, I am not invoking Godwin’s Law. The only difference between the Nazis and the Confederacy was (perhaps) degree. And frankly, a case could be made that the two genocides were roughly equal. The Civil War was fought in an effort to keep slavery legal. Many generations and millions of Black slaves had already died not knowing freedom for almost 250 years by then, and the Southern states that broke off did so because they wanted to keep many more generations of Black people as property. And they were so intent on it, they were willing to go to war against other AMERICANS to protect it. They killed millions of Americans over the course of many years, just so they could continue to treat Black human beings as property. More than 1.2 million Americans have died in war since this country’s inception, and nearly half of them died in the Civil War. As a percentage of the population at the time, it would be the equivalent of the deaths of well over 6 million deaths in a war today.
Please explain to me, how is this a “heritage” that anyone could take pride in? In “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” why would we celebrate groups of people who basically committed treason, tried to secede from the United States and then proceeded to kill Americans, just so they could keep humans as property. I wonder how many of these white Southerners are aware that the Southern States didn’t even really recognize the Confederate government? Each state claimed “states’ rights” as a reason for seceding, but they never actually joined together in any formal way. In other words, they didn’t actually form a “nation,” as many current “confederate” sympathizers claim. In fact, that’s where the confederate flag comes in. This was the first confederate flag:
There were two others during the course of the Confederacy’s existence (which ended more than 150 years ago – you LOST, fellas!), but you know what flag was NEVER an official flag of the confederacy? This one:
No, the flag these rednecks paste all over their “pick-em-ups” and display all over their yards and their houses to show what “rebels” they are, was NEVER actually an official flag of the Confederacy. There was a “battle flag” that resembled it, but it was square and it was not official. And like I said, they LOST. No, the flag modern-day “rebels” fly was adopted by Southern racists well after the Civil War. All of the actual Confederate flags disappeared for decades after the Civil War. That flag was adopted by the Ku Klux Klan in the late 19th Century as their own and it was later adopted by the Dixiecrats again the mid-20th Century, as a protest against the civil rights planks that Democrats were proposing. The existence of that “Confederate” flag has one single purpose; to intimidate Black and brown people and to let them know they think whites are superior.
If you don’t understand that… you might be a redneck. (Deepest apologies to Jeff Foxworthy)
If you want to know why black and brown people are offended by the “Confederate flag,” then you’re ignorant of history. Rest assured, though; most of the white “rebel” rednecks who fly it “proudly” know exactly why they are flying it. They want to go back to a world when white people dominated everything. They think white privilege is their birthright and they want People of Color to cower in fear at the sight of it. If you think there is some sort of “noble purpose” to keeping the Confederacy alive, you are delusional.
The people who started the Civil War did not reflect American values then and they most certainly don’t reflect anything relevant now. The existence of slavery was an affront to American values and the killing of hundreds of thousands of Americans in order to perpetuate it. The Confederacy was as much an affront to current American values as Nazism is to current German values and yet we celebrate our Nazis, while Germans shrink at the thought of theirs. A case could be made that Germans go overboard; we shouldn’t stop teaching about the Confederacy in schools, for example, but we also can’t endorse their xenophobic ideals. We do have to learn from our mistakes and our errors in judgment, but we really cannot continue to celebrate them. These people tried to keep human beings as property and cited both the economy and “states’ rights” to do so. They then tried to ignore an agreement they signed to be a part of a unique type of country that was unprecedented and put the will of the people first, so that they could all go off on their own and cater to the landed classes. they then used their non-slave-owning citizens as cannon fodder in a brutal war with no actual point. They lost, and lost badly, and their heroes all surrendered and then tried to rejoin the union with the status quo intact, as if nothing bad had happened. And now, more than a century-and-a-half after the fact, people living in these same states seem intent on keeping this movement alive. And for what? What about the Confederacy brings you pride?
It is time we treated the Confederacy the way we treat all losers. Banish them to history. There are hundreds of roads named after Confederate officers and others, all over the country, not just in the South. (Source) They all need to be renamed. Perhaps we could name them for officers who actually won wars. Likewise, even though many states and municipalities have removed confederate monuments and statues, hundreds still remain. Again, they are not all in the South. (Source) They should all be eliminated, as we move forward into the modern era, where we treat all people as citizens and people who belong here. Our country has changed and it will only continue to change if we stop celebrating losers and bigots. I don’t care if individuals want to fly a “confederate flag.” That is free speech and besides, it marks them for the rest of us. It should be easy for anyone to spot the ignorant, racist redneck. However, we all pay taxes and we all participate in improving our country’s welfare, so insulting half of the United States by celebrating the reprehensible group of people who both started and lost the Civil War.
The Confederacy is dead. Long live an egalitarian United States of America. Let the Confederacy die and head straight to Hell, where it belongs.