Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Attention Southerners: I'm Glad You Lost. You Should Be Too.

Heckling right-winger Joe Wilson has become quite the cause celebre on both sides of the debate. In the course of this heated discussion, one of the things that has been discussed is Wilson's status as one of only 7 legislators to vote in favor of keeping the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina capitol building.

In defending his new BFF, Rep. Steve King had this to say:
Being a son of the South puts you in a different position when it comes to the Confederate flag. It means something entirely different to the people who have ancestors who fought in the Civil War on the south side of the Mason-Dixon line.

Ya know, that's true. For sure, those who fought in favour of slavery and oppression of black people come from a differnt point of view when it comes to this flag.

But I would think that this would be something you would be decently ashamed of, rather than using as, ya know, an argument in favour of continuing to be disrespectful of black people.


1 comment:

RS Rogers said...

I've long been willing to compromise on the flag-burning amendment: I'll let conservatives outlaw flag burning, just so long as the amendment also outlaws the display of the Confederate flag. (See here, and scroll to the bottom, for an example of how such an amendment could be drafted.) So far, not one Southern conservative I've mentioned this to has responded positively. Which is to say, Southern conservatives value the commemoration of treason more than they value the sanctity of the American flag.

Anyway, I think we liberals often push the race side of the Confederate flag issue too hard. The fundamental problem with a state flying the Confederate flag is not that some dope in the 1950s appropriated it as a symbol of resistance to civil rights, and it's not that the South seceded to defend slavery. The real problem with the official display of the Confederate flag is that it represents treason against the Constitution of the United States. Confederate leaders, from Jeff Davis on down, were openly mindful of the fact that a rebellion that succeeds is a revolution, but a rebellion that fails is treason, and their rebellion failed. In that sense, the actual leaders of the Confederacy were more honorable than today's Confederate apologists.

It is not possible to be loyal to the United States and to the "heritage" of Confederate secession. Wilson's vote for the Confederate flag was simply a declaration of disloyalty to the United States, no different from John Walker Lindh's oath of loyalty to the Taliban. It should be no surprise that a disloyal scoundrel who celebrates treason and commemorates America's wartime enemies would behave so disgracefully on the floor of Congress.