Liberals like the late Steve Gilliard were writing about this many years ago and, I suspect, we will be writing about it many years from now. Because while Steve is gone now (and I have no idea where Grand Moff Texan has got to) this remains America's terrible, open wound.
And it will never go away until we make it go away:
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The American Swastika
This is not the Confederate Flag.
This is the Confederate Flag.
Grand Moff Texan came up with this and I do love it so.
If you google "Confederate Flag," you will not find a single, real Confederate Flag on the first page, and few examples after that.
Not only has"Confederate Flag" changed to mean something it should not, the phony "Confederate Flag" has changed in significance over time, too. It began as a battle flag, a way to tell Confederate from Union forces on the field, since their two flags weren't that different, and units' uniforms and individual banners were anything but standardized. The phonyConfederate Flag seems to have borrowed the Cross of St. Andrew, seen on the Scottish flag, or maybe St.Patrick's cross, incorporated into the Union Jack, but that's just me guessing.
For longer than the Confederacy lasted, and for more than a century after the American Civil War, the phony Confederate Flag has stood for the defiance of the South, for America's own, premodern apartheid. It has become, simply, The American Swastika.
The comparison isn't inflammatory, it's deliberate and appropriate. This wouldn't be the first time an old symbol changed meaning due to its abuse by the sick and twisted.
One Bad Apple From Germany Killed Millions. Hitler didn't just leave behind a mnemonic for all students of astronomy in the English language. He took an ancient good luck symbol, a nearly universal one, and turned it into a universally recognized symbol of evil.
It can happen. And it did happen here. Don't give me that bullshit about slavery not being relevant to most of Southern society, or not being a factor in the Civil War, or not being the monopoly of the South. This is a Southerner you're talking to, and I've heard it all before and I know better. I know my region's history, and it is unique within my country. Something different happened here. The South cannibalized their entire culture, even their supposed religion, to justify the racism that justified first slavery and later (and for much longer) the political subjection of African Americans. The truly sad thing is that even those who never owned slaves (and ante-bellum middle class Southerners were more likely to buy a slave and rent him out than they were to buy their own land) were part of this conspiracy of justification. After the American Civil War an even wider portion of Southern society was directly involved in the subjection of African Americans. The Civil War didn't sweep away a civilization based on slavery, it merely displaced its ruling class and began the South's long, slow march away from its top-heavy, agrarian, aristocratic society. American apartheid had been democratized, and with it, the Confederate Flag became its egalitarian symbol against the Civil Rights movement and all other aspects of integration for generations.
The Confederate Flag resonates, as a symbol, throughout Southern culture.
People all over the world know what they're looking at when they see the Confederate Flag. Regardless of what those who display the Confederate Flag may say it means, the Confederate Flag is never far from the Klan and like groups, and the Confederate Flag is never displayed by their historical victims. Showing the Confederate Flag doesn't just leave the displayer with a burden of proof, to show that for them it's something other than what the Confederate Flag has stood for, now, for generations. Rather, the Confederate Flag's history, both long and recent in this country, are such that theConfederate Flag cannot be displayed in good faith. The meaning of the Confederate Flag is utterly unambiguous. At best, venerators of the Confederate Flag can plead ignorance, not innocence.
I grew up with the Confederate Flagand there was never any question what it meant. The South would rise again, that's what the Confederate Flag meant. We flew the Confederate Flag at my high school. the Confederate Flag appeared on bumpers, T-shirts, and other paraphernalia. "Dixie gonna do it again!" and similar slogans accompanied Confederate Flag.
There was simply no question. The Confederate Flag is not a symbol of heritage. That should have been obvious enough in Mississippi, where more people fought for the Union than the Confederacy, and yet the Confederate Flag's defenders insist it is part of that state's "heritage." No. It's part of the "heritage" of that minority of Mississippians whose "heritage" involved the subjection of the rest. That's their "heritage." Hey, if the pointy hat fits, wear it.
So, if you're going to attack a people, demonize and destroy their language and religion, hold them up as a threat to civilization and "your" womanhood, destroy their families, rape, murder, mutilate, crush them in labor camps and then, when someone justifiably smacks your racists ass, take the whole murderous shame underground, don't be surprised when your precious symbol, the sign of all you hold holy and all the world recognizes as the sigil of your sickness, becomes, quite simply, your Swastika. That's all the Confederate Flag which is not the real Confederate Flag will ever be, now.
It's The American Swastika