If you want to curdle the blood of an African American and send a message of menace without resorting to burning a cross on the lawn or marching around in white sheets all one need do is wave the Confederate flag. So imagine my revulsion at the sight of one outside the front gates of the White House.
Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Tex., was among the many who converged on Washington for the “Million Vet March on the Memorials” to protest the government shutdown.
The protest and some of the barricades placed at the World War II Memorial then moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And it was there that Ashmore waved his Confederate flag. A symbol of Southern resistance and white supremacy unfurled in front of the home of the first black president of the United States.
For those of you who would push back by saying we’re overreacting, that the Confederate flag is nothing more than a symbol of regional pride, save it. That flag you revere so much is no better than a Swastika, a threatening symbol of hate that has no place in American political discourse.
I am not a southerner. I’ve lived in California all my life except for when I was in the army. They sent me to Alabama for training but I didn’t see much of that place beyond Ft. McClellan. My redneck roots run to the Midwest, not the South. Near as I can tell none of my ancestors even fought in the Civil War.
But our nation fought a bitter and bloody conflict over slavery 150 years ago. The side that defended slavery flew the “Stars and Bars”, also know as St. Andrew’s Cross. They lost.
Another group is closely associated with that flag. They were racists who fought a guerrilla war for another 100 years after the Civil War ended. They wore white hoods and burned crosses and lynched black men. They were domestic terrorists.
I personally do not find the Confederate flag offensive, but I’m not easily offended. I think it’s stupid. But millions of other Americans are offended by it, and for good reason. To them it’s a symbol of hate and oppression.
Yes, you have a constitutional right to wave a Confederate flag. Or a Nazi flag. You can even burn an American flag, as long as you don’t violate any local fire ordinances. You can also stand up in public and spew any idiocy or hate-filled ideology that floats through your head.
But having the right to do something doesn’t make it right.
It’s time to retire the Confederate flag. It’s way past time. The Civil War is over. Jim Crow is dead. This is the United States of America. Our flag is the Stars and Stripes.