According to the liberals (including the ones masquerading as Republicans), the Confederate flag is a racist symbol of hatred that must be removed from the public arena. But according to the hundreds of proud southerners that converged on Stone Mountain, Georgia this weekend, the flag represents the heart of heritage of the South.
Saturday, supporters from near and far came to the country’s largest Confederate memorial to stand in support of their history. The rally was organized, in part, by a man named Thomas Jewell. The Cartersville resident is remarkable for one specific reason: he doesn’t fit the stereotype of the redneck renegade seen as the flag’s defenders. He is black.
“If you look a little deeper, you’ll find out what it was all about,” Jewell said of the Stars and Bars. “The flag was never meant to be racist. It’s a heritage thing. It’s a Southern thing.”
That was the thrust of the rally’s message, drawing southerners to remember their ancestors and the sacrifices they made for freedom. Not for slavery. Not for racism. For the rightful protection of states rights. For the cause of stopping the federal behemoth from exerting its will from Washington. And those values are still alive and well in 2015, regardless of the symbols used to express them.
Americans, One and All
The Confederate States of America was not a foreign invader. It was not synonymous with movements like the Third Reich. It was comprised of Americans, one and all. Proud Americans who were closer in their ideology to the founding fathers than those in the North, quite frankly. And the men who fought and led this movement deserve to be honored.
Was slavery an abomination? Of course. But without the Civil War – without Lincoln’s much-ballyhooed Emancipation Proclamation – slavery would have likely died out in less than a decade. Hundreds of thousands of lives were extinguished in the war, many of them simply fighting because they had no other choice. They weren’t putting their lives on the line for slavery.
Ripping Old Wounds
Tearing down the Confederate flag isn’t going to erase racism. Unfortunately, it may have the opposite effect. Once southerners feel like their entire way of life is under attack, they will dig their heels in. They will resent being forced to give up the symbols that defined their childhood. If you ever wanted to guarantee a resurgence of racism, you could have hardly constructed a better plan to bring it about.
Hopefully that won’t happen. Race relations are strained enough. But if these elitist liberals keep picking on conservatives in the South, they will find that the spirit of the Confederacy is still alive and well.