California Blues

A needle in a steel wool haystack.

The Flag Controversy

It’s been ages since I posted, but I wrote this as a FaceSpace comment that ambled off topic, and I still wanted to put it somewhere.

Part of the issue is that those who are more likely to link the dixie flag with southern pride are those who are taught in accredited education that the South seceded from the Union for the main cause of ‘States’ Rights’.

The argument exists that the Union’s civil war was unconstitutional, as states would have had the legal right to disavow it and secede. The larger issue with this reading of history is that those in power at the time in the South made lengthy speeches about the reason they wanted to secede was to protect the institution of slavery. Those speeches are simply ignored in favour of the much earlier “necessary evil” speech about slavery. And then there’s the Cornerstone speech from the Confederate Vice President before the war started. I was educated in Texas, and I didn’t know about this speech until just now. So that’s fun.

While I was aware of the history of slavery, I believed that there were other causes that lead to secession well into my university education. ‘States’ Rights’ is a rallying cry that people today can still get behind, and through educated or wilful ignorance, many Americans are unaware of the actual history of what went on 150 years ago, so needless to say, they think what symbols represent are up for interpretation. I cannot say that anyone who argues that the stars and bars is a pro-slavery symbol is wrong, but I can argue against the stance that everyone who flies it is unequivocally racist.

(Back in high school, I knew a couple of best friends from childhood who would exchange their ‘X’ t-shirts. The black kid would wear the white kid’s dixie flag shirt, and the white kid would wear his friend’s Malcolm X shirt. That isn’t to say that neither of them were racist, or that they weren’t. We are all prejudicedĀ to one degree or another. The goal should be to not support systems that re-enforce prejudice.)

(A further aside concerning ‘states’ rights’: by itself, the concept that local government *should* be more accountable to its constituents than the massive representation levels of national government does not sound wrong. A single representative in the house appears to represent roughly over half a million people of voting age. The last time the numbers in the house increased was in 1959, only to revert back to the 1913 numbers four years later. We are still running a national government based on the population over a century ago. It’s no wonder no one thinks the national government represents them.)

20 June 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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