by Scott Ledbetter
However, hatred is not limited to a flag and hatred, although it has bad consequences if left unchecked, is not illegal. Are all those that participate in Civil War reenactments on the Confederacy side racist hatemongers? That would be an absurdity, but those that wish to paint the Confederate flag as a symbol of hate are painting all uses of the flag as racism. This is one reason that we must not allow ourselves to be painted into corners.
Dylann Roof posted a picture of himself to his Facebook page. In that picture, seen below, he is wearing a jacket the flags of the former Rhodesia (the former name of Zimbabwe) and apartheid-era South Africa. Where are the calls for the banning of these flags? If the real reason for the calls for the banning of the Confederate Flag is because it is both a symbol of racism and that Roof was photographed with the flag before the church shooting, then these flags, are also symbols of racism used by White Supremacists, should have calls for their banning. So why don’t they?
Murder is a crime, but hate is not a crime. People are free to associate with others as long as it is peaceable. People are free to say hateful speech as long as it does not incite a riot. The fear of an incitement of riot is not the same thing.
I have heard many people, since the Charleston church shooting, state that the Confederate States of America (CSA) was a hate filled bunch of traitors. The arguments from the Civil War centered around Federal Powers vs States Rights. You see, the Southerners were saying that if a majority of people in their state wanted to leave the Union and/or have slavery, then the US Constitution allowed that. The Northerners said that Federal Law trumped the rights of the States in matters such as Secession and Slavery. If you have followed current events recently, you have heard these same arguments being used with Same Sex marriage and Obamacare.
And at the beginning of this country, the arguments on how broad or narrowly to allow Federal control of the states and their citizens were debated and even created the Federalist Party, founded by Alexander Hamilton. As the USA was created by secession from Great Britain and it’s centralized Federal Government that trumped all counties (British States) and colonies rights, the argument of the limitation of the reach of the Federal Government has been around since before the USA was created.
This country was founded on the principal of freedom. Freedom to speak out, worship, congregate and live without fears of repercussions for how you choose to live your life. Take away freedom, and you have exactly what those who created this country had in the mid to late 18th Century. Liberty is the bedrock foundation that this country was founded upon.
To take away the rights of people to have and use the Confederate flag just because it offends some people is anathema to liberty and freedom. I may not agree with everything that you choose to do with your life, but I do not have the right to force my will upon you. That, by definition, is slavery. Controlling others lives is slavery, and even shaming people into doing things that they would not do normally is being a slave master over them.
Plus you have the bandwagoners that have jumped on board the dumping of the Confederate flag. They do so for political or economic reasons, or because they are being pressured (slavery) by others. NASCAR, who never had a problem with the Confederate flag since it’s founding in 1948, has come out and condemned the flag. Brian France, the grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., has said that NASCAR will push to eliminate the flag from their races. If Brian had really felt that the Confederate flag was so bad, then he would have done this back in 2003 when he took over the helm of the auto sports body.
How many of the Earnhardt’s fans – Ralph, Dale and Dale Jr. – has waved and/or worn the Confederate Flag? Dale Sr.’s number 3 shows up on the Confederate Flag. Did the Earnhardt family, Richard Childress Racing and/or it’s owner Richard Childress, or even NASCAR ask The Intimidator’s fans to stop putting his number on the flag? So then why is Dale Jr. all of a sudden saying, “I think it’s offensive to an entire race. It belongs in the history books and that’s about it”?
It had obviously been fine with this racing dynasty for almost 70 years, so what happened to change Jr’s mind? One man shooting African Americans in an African American church in Charleston? What about the 16th Street Baptist Church shooting in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963? The Charleston church shooting was eerily similar to the 16th Street Baptist Church shooting. In the 1963 shooting, the FBI concluded that four known Ku Klux Klansmen and segregationists: Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss, and Bobby Frank Cherry had committed the act of terror. Why didn’t the Earnhardt’s distance themselves from the Confederate Flag then?
The wildly poplar 80’s show “The Dukes of Hazzard” has been demonized because the main characters, mainly Bo and Luke Duke (played by John Schneider and Tom Wopat respectively), drive a car called The General Lee which has a Confederate Flag painted on the top of it. Obviously the show was not a problem for CBS,Warner Bros. Television or Viacomm, who owns TV Land which pulled the General Lee toy cars, for 30 years. As of this year (2015), the show had been on TV Land. Now it makes me wonder if those who are fans of “The Haves and the Have Nots”, to which Schneider plays on, sees a white racist who drives a car with the Confederate Flag on it or if they see a wonderful actor?
Bubba Watson, the golfer who proudly owns a General Lee Dodge Charger, announced this past week that he was painting over the Confederate Flag. However, he had absolutely no problem with the Confederate Flag on top of the car then he asked NASCAR to drive the car at Phoenix International Raceway in 2012. So his reasoning now begs the question, were all men not created equal in 2012, Bubba?
All men ARE created equal, I believe that so I will be painting the American flag over the roof of the General Lee #USA
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) July 2, 2015
Which brings me to a point that is missed almost entirely: “All men are created equal” was penned by the slave owner Thomas Jefferson in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In the US Constitution, however, it says that certain men – African Americans – are not equal but are 3/5th of a White man. The Three-Fifths statement is found in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution. Look it up, because it is still there. The flag that came out of our beginnings, also known as Old Glory, flew over the systematic ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, through suppression of women and slavery. For the most part, there was no objection to slavery during the Continental Congress or the US Congress which followed. Abolitionist Thomas Day said in 1776, “If there be an object truly ridiculous in nature, it is an American patriot, signing resolutions of independency with the one hand, and with the other brandishing a whip over his affrighted slaves”.
The US Constitution states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.
Life means that we cherish each life, and those that take a life, such as Roof, are to be punished. Liberty means that we have a society that is based on freedom. The freedom to be who we are and to live a life that is of our own making. And the pursuit of happiness means that we are all free to live a life that is happy. Not what others describe as happy, but what each of us decide for our own selves is happy. Take this out of the Constitution, and you take away the reason this country exists. Without Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness being guaranteed to each of us, then we might as well submit again to the Queen of England.
|Wounded Knee Massacre|
The Confederate Flag is nothing more than cloth, just like Old Glory. It makes some people happy, which is guaranteed to them in the Constitution. Just because some people do evil while using it does not mean the item itself is evil. There has been great evil done while someone has held Old Glory up. Bigotry in all forms is wrong, but that does not mean that we should outlaw things that we are offended by but makes others happy.
Many people are offended by saggy pants, but that is something that makes some people happy. Some people are offended by rap music – or Rock’N’Roll – but it makes others happy. Some people are offended by loud bass coming from automobile sound systems, but it makes others happy. Some people are offended by animals being killed and eaten, but it makes others happy. Do what makes you happy, but harm no one else and do not force others to do things that does not make them happy. This is what we should be talking about. Not the partisan jiberish being spouted by too many today. Each one of us should be happy.