r m p

MIND'S EYE

 

 

Still a Battle Flag

Robert M. Price

The other day I happened to be driving behind a truck featuring the bumper sticker showing the Confederate battle flag with the slogan: "Heritage Not Hate." My thought exactly! (But, "Wait a minute!" you may be saying, "This guyís from New Jersey! What business is it of his?" Just so happens that Iím originally from Jackson, Mississippi, which ought to make me more Southern than you! Now where was I?)

I used to fly both the American flag and the Confederate flag (the first of the three national flags of the CSA, my favorite) on my porch. Maybe you noticed them. I took down the Confederate flag only when it began to fade from the sunóand once somebody stole the other one! A patriotic thief, I guess.

Perhaps the Democratic presidential candidate I have the least use for is Carol Moseley-Braun. I am no fan of hers. Never mind the fact of her bedroom diplomacy with a Nigerian dictator back in the nineties. The thing that really irks me about her is that she led the Congressional hoop-la intimidating Georgia to remove the Confederate emblem from their state flag. (I am proud that my native Mississippian flag also contains the battle jack.)

You see, I regard this as a Yankee attempt to eradicate every trace of Southern sectional autonomy, the last, late vestige of the Radical Republican attempt to humiliate the South after the War Between the States--a war I didnít realize the South had lost till age 11, the day I moved up to New Jersey in 1965, when my brother Byron broke the sad news to me!

Speaking of Democratic candidates, I sizzled when the rest of the Politically Correct nominees piled on poor Howard Dean for saying he wanted to curry favor with Southerners who sport the rebel banner on their trucks. I will not follow the lead of these Democrats, or that of White racists whether of North or South, in equating the Confederate flag with the Nazi flag.

Does the Ku Klux Klan appropriate the Confederate flag for nefarious purposes? Sure they do. Iíve got news for you, pal: they do the same thing with the Christian cross. But we donít let them get away with that, do we? We can still understand that the cross is a good thing, even if held in evil hands. Of course there are also hyper-liberals who canít even keep that much clear, for example, the critics of Mel Gibsonís film Passion who seem to equate New Testament Christianity with anti-Semitism. Aristotle said it is beyond the ability of most people to draw distinctions. Iím beginning to think he was right.

But isnít the heritage of the Confederacy tarred with the loathsome blight of slavery? Yes it is. One my ancestors, I must confess, owned over one hundred slaves. I wish he hadnít. I also wish the New Testament writers had not commanded slaves to obey their masters. But there is more to Christianity than its past tolerance of slavery. And there is more to the Confederacy, too. For me, the flag is a symbol of an elegant and chivalric style of life now vanished from the earth. And it is a symbol of autonomous Americanism, a radical patriotism that is essentially defiant, a rebellion against any forces, domestic or foreign, who ask us to surrender our own best judgment.

Allowing slavery was one of the worst judgments anyone ever made. It is well eradicated. Jealous defense of our rights is still very much alive, and the Confederate banner proudly proclaims it, along with our glorious American flag. You see, Confederate pride no more entails racism than it does holding a grudge against the Federal government our ancestors once fought against. You donít have to repudiate the American flag to love the Confederate flag, and you donít have to hate the Confederate flag in order to love the American flag and what it stands for. Why canít Northerners see why Southerners love both?

 

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