Flagging you down with Facts, Opinions and Advice

3 07 2015

Social media has taught me that I am surrounded by historians.  I had no idea that some of the “facts” thrown at me lately existed in history.  I’d say it made me question my own knowledge, but then I would be a liar.  So, here’s my top 5 facts about the Civil War for those of you who aren’t history buffs.  Following this brief lesson I’ll get to the heart of this blog.

#1 – Among the 34 states in January 1861, seven Southern states individually declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America spawning the Civil War to determine the survival of the Union or independence for the Confederacy which lasted from 1861 to 1865. During the course of the 4 year war, the number of Confederate states grew to 11.

#2 – The primary cause for the secession was slavery. The Confederate (Southern) states were against the attempts of Northern antislavery political forces to block the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Southern politicians rebelled with the belief that such restrictions on slavery would violate the principle of states’ rights. The subsequent formation of the Confederacy was Southern nationalism. The primary reason the Northern States rejected secession was to preserve the Union’s cause based on American nationalism (unity).

#3 – Confederacy supporters based their secession on honoring The Constitution which protected slavery and states’ rights to own slaves.  The North’s growth in this period was based on industry (in short; a more comparable system to what we see throughout the US today) while the South’s economy thrived on  agriculture which relied heavily on slave labor. For this reason, abolishing slavery would bring severe economic set backs to the growth of the Southern states.

rebel-flag-cloth-bright#4 – To clarify; self proclaimed history buffs say the Civil war was rooted in causes such as preserving The Constitution or saving the economy.  While these history buffs are correct, to say this war was not about slavery at the root is rather inaccurate because the abolishment of slavery would be the cause to change The Constitution and effect the Southern economy when they lose the free labor of slaves. 

#5 – The Civil War was about slavery

Once again the Confederate Battle Flag has entered the spotlight.  It make’s it’s rounds every few years.  People fight to have it removed from (Southern) state flags, flying over government buildings, colleges and so fourth.  The top two words that are thrown around when this pot gets stirred are “racism” and “heritage”.  While one team is offended by the sight of this flag, the other is proud.  If you are proud of the flag, you label it pride in your heritage while others label you a racist.

Let’s be clear, the Confederate Flag isn’t exactly racist in it’s origin.  In fact, it is prideful.  However, it’s origin is rootedarticle-2498164-1955120C00000578-797_634x425 in the fight to keep (what I like to call) human beings enslaved.  Human beings of African descent.  In the Lincoln era the flag stood for courage, battle, pride and a people who wanted to hold fast to the honor of The Constitution.  However, because of its pro-slavery roots, over time the flag came to represent racism against African Americans as white supremacy groups embraced it as their own.  This tainted the flag even more than its bloody history of a nation divided.  This tainted flag continues to divide the people of this nation in it’s own way. 

So, in it’s origin, this flag represented a union of states who wanted to keep humans enslaved for free labor (because it was documented as acceptable and therefore it must be) and then blossomed into a symbol of hatred against humans.  (Ok, not all humans, just those darned black ones.)

In its lifetime, this flag has seen a lot of bloodshed both in war and in hate crimes.

Is it any wonder it makes those (black) humans uncomfortable? Is it any wonder that (decent) humans would like to see it in history museums where it belongs?

slavesIn a world where Christian symbols are frowned upon in public places, schools, government buildings and so fourth we let this symbol of what I like to call “historical greed” fly.

Yes, that’s right, the flag symbolizes a history greed in my opinion. A greed so powerful that human lives aren’t valued.  Free labor at the expense of outright abuse to humans is the origin of my term “historical greed”.  Is this the heritage to be proud of?

As a Southerner, I love the endurance and strength of my homeland.  I am proud of the struggles my homeland has faced and overcome just in my short lifetime let alone centuries before.  I love the spirit of the Southern people.  I don’t see that type of drive anywhere else in this country.  I understand Southern pride.  I have Southern pride.  But, I don’t need a flag to define my pride.  I don’t need a symbol of my heritage to show how strong I am.  I believe the history of what we have overcome through the years speaks for itself.

Here’s a fine example; Hurricane Katrina and the improper assistance our Government gave.  Our courage and our recovery is like giving them the finger-which is what the south is known for…giving Uncle Sam the finger.  Trust me, he don’t mind giving it right back.  Fill our waters with oil and toxic chemicals? Screw you, we’ll deal with it.  It’s what we do.  We deal with stuff.

No matter how united the nation may be, the Confederate states are still somewhat severed.  We are the brunt of jokes, the last in line and the least respected.  Southerners pay for the crimes of their ancestors centuries later…and without evolving we always will.

If the South really wants to “rise again”, let it rise in statistics…education, economy, and so fourth.  Let it rise in the ranks of brotherhood and American pride.  Let the South make a real stand that the joke is no longer on us but on anyone living in the past who still looks at the South as a bigoted, ignorant land. 

Nobody is taking your personal symbols away from you, nobody is taking your guns.  Nobody is forcing you to accept or like anything you don’t want to.  Please stop behaving as if this is just another nail in the coffin of your personal freedom.  Its not. 

The bottom line is, symbols of an ancient war that divided the nation and took thousands of lives unnecessarily in the name of greed has no place in government buildings or the like.  The bottom line is what an African American friend told me recently when asked how the flag makes her feel; “dread and sometimes fear depending on the circumstances.” 

Fly it proudly on your pick up truck, as your window shades, tattooed on your back and whatever…but don’t force it upon people who may feel dread when they step into a building to handle official government business. 

Know your history and quit labeling it as pride of heritage.  You’re making us all meet the statistics we hate. 

Divided we fall.  United we stand tall. 

I share with you Cyrus’ famous speech from “The Warriors”.  If you think about it, united we would be a force to be reckoned with.  Currently, I see this nation crumbling from within orchestrated by ridiculous situations like racism and media manipulation.

“I say the future is ours if you can count. Look what we have here before us, rival gangs standing together and nobody’s wasting anybody. That is a miracle. And miracles is the way things ought to be. The problem in the past has been the man turning us against one and other. We’ve been unable to see the truth because we’ve been fighting one and other. That’s crap, brothers. The turf is ours by right. It’s our turn. CAN YOU DIG IT?!?!?!”