The last time the Confederate flag was such a problem was back when rebellious Southerners were shooting at Federal troops. Thanks to a century and a half of revised Confederate history and a romantic narrative of idyllic southern life, the less than subtle racism of the Confederate flag has always been largely socially acceptable in American life. Senator Paul has correctly called out the dirty origins and meanings of the Confederate flag.
Born in the hot fires of slave holding rebellion and disguised with such popular narratives as state’s rights and the false Confederate history of dying slavery, the Confederate flag has long been a stain on American society. The New York Times quotes Rand Paul as calling the Confederate flag “a symbol of human bondage and slavery” and ever since its popular use was reborn in the 1950’s and 60’s to oppose the Civil Rights Movement, modern America is reminded of that evil.
A quick look at the Confederate Constitution and several ordinances of secession, as well as Jefferson Davis’ farewell address to the US Senate all reveal the same damning truth; secession and the ensuing Civil War was deeply and strongly rooted in slavery, for without slavery the very economic foundation of the South could not exist. Today, we are bombarded with constant discussion about “Southern Heritage” which is simply a polite way of preserving the legacy and memory of the rebelling, slave holding southern states.
Like many presidential hopefuls, Senator Paul has chimed in on the Confederate flag issue, and like any well reasoned, and educated American, he has come down hard on the bitter, racially divisive and hate fueled legacy that the flag represents. Today, we can no longer simply ignore this symbol of slavery and the willingness to wage war in its defense as a quaint symbol of a romantic South that never quite was. We cannot forget the millions of enslaved persons who toiled for their rebelling masters under that flag, and we cannot forget the invisible chains of bondage that it has been used to create in recent times. Rand Paul clearly gives the solution of putting the Confederate flag in a museum (NY Times) and it is there it belongs.
Confederate history is a difficult and divisive issue, but we as a nation cannot begin to fully understand and examine it when the symbols of the Confederacy are still used to divide and oppress our fellow Americans. Our forefathers fought and died to stamp out the bitter evils this flag represents, and we need to join Senator Paul in putting away the symbols of tyranny and oppression, and move on as a nation. Where do you stand on the Confederate flag? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.
(Photo courtesy of eyeliam, Flickr CC BY 2.0)
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