The media is as much to blame as are white supremacists in perpetuating the myth that the Confederate Flag has ever represented anything other than the right to hate on and abuse blacks in America.
For generations, reporters and editors have thickly allowed bigoted southerners to say on TV and in newspapers that the Confederate flag represents pride in southern heritage.
No matter how much they say it, it does not. I has never stood for that. And by quoting people who say this without immediately refuting the nonsense sown over all these years has allowed the sick notion to hold some legitimacy in America.
The belief that the Stars and Bars illustrates the ideal of fighting for states rights is as ludicrous as saying that the Nazi Flag represents German pride in ingenuity. The Nazis felt they were wronged by their countrymen and the world. They promised to right those “wrongs,” which included a program of improving the German economy and personal wealth by diminishing growing communism and the rights of some Germans, namely Jews.
Who do you know that sees a Nazi flag as a standard for anything positive the Germans did during World War II? And whether southerners did or didn’t fight valiantly during the Civil War, they fought for the right of states to own slaves, not to keep guns, expand trade or import dangerous wild animals. That flag was never hijacked by nefarious southerners who bastardized the true meaning of Stars and Bars for a better America.
The whole thing goes back to the idea that if you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it. I don’t believe it because I was subjected to credible history and not the whacked-out, revisionist stuff that politely lets some southerners have their own opinion based on their own set of facts.
While journalists have a tremendous responsibility to be fair in reporting, we by no means should be irresponsible in perpetuating lies. There is no scientific evidence supporting the myth that there is grave danger in swimming right after eating. If a local politician says they want to outlaw public vaccination because it’s dangerous to young children, we immediately quote experts that refute the nonsense. Unfortunately, the media learned this lesson too late. There is no “grain of truth” in reporting that vaccines are dangerous any more than there is some truth in saying that the Stars and Bars stands for pride in Southern heritage. Unless, of course, that pride shines on a group of treasonous southern states and leaders who were so determined to perpetuate slavery, they declared war on the United States and created their own country. Fans of the Confederate flag and its various iterations accurately argue that the flag and the Civil War was about states’ rights, but the right they fought for was the right to own slaves, and expand slave ownership into the West.
Any other story is outright fabrication.
There was no pact after the Civil War to demand that confederate states enact speed limits on trains, or conduct standardized tests, or let women vote. There was one demand when the South fell, economically and socially crushed by four years of bloody war: Free the slaves.
Because the United States prevailed against the Confederacy, southerners then and now have the liberty to wave that sad banner of slavery all they want. States may have the right to choose to fly such flags, but proponents must be honest for the sake of the naive and misled: The flag of the Confederacy and various versions of it that still fly today symbolize slavery, abuse and segregation. And after the events of the past few days, it stands for a new generation of cruelty and stupidity.