Jul 12, 2015

New Meme Perfectly Demonstrates Why Modern Liberalism Is A Disease

By on Sunday, July 12, 2015

In June of 1865, Confederate Gen. Joseph Shelby and about a thousand of his cavalrymen rode into Mexico and exile rather than remain in a conquered South. As they forded the Rio Grande, they stopped and sank their faded banners midstream in an act of symbolic defiance.

Decades later, in the era of Jim Crow and racist attempts to deny black citizens their civil rights, that emblem rose anew, and it has refused to be submerged—until now. Today, the Confederate battle flag may be going down again, perhaps for good, but it is worth considering what we allow to sink with it.
On Friday morning at 10 a.m., a vestige of a sad epoch faded when that flag was finally taken down from a flagpole in front of the South Carolina State House. The banner was not destroyed but taken to a museum, to rest alongside other vestiges of the state’s dramatic past. Meanwhile, some country-music stars are backing away from the flag, and House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said Thursday that he personally didn’t believe Confederate flags should be on display in federal cemeteries and parks. The debate continues in Mississippi, the only remaining Southern state whose flag incorporates the design of this Confederate banner. It too may be destined for a museum.

This is an old debate electrified by the June 17 massacre of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., a mass shooting that authorities call a racially motivated hate crime. In fact, what is popularly known as “the Confederate flag” never flew over Confederate capitols or public buildings, where different banners reigned. Rather, this emblem brought down on Friday was the Confederate “battle flag,” designed to be carried at the head of a regiment and used as its rallying point in battle, where the flag’s blue St. Andrew’s cross on a field of brilliant red might stand out through the smoke of battle. As such, it primarily stood for a unit’s pride in its valor in action, though all of the Confederacy’s symbols naturally carried an intrinsic affirmation of its foundational tenets, including the perpetuation of slavery. After the Union victory in 1865, those battle flags not surrendered, buried, thrown into rivers or cut up as souvenirs went home to quiet repose in closets, attics and, later, museums. …
All of which demands that we ask: Can we ever separate the memory of the Confederate experience from the memory of slavery? Is there any positive legacy to be drawn from the Confederacy? Can we admire Confederate leaders, even the all-but-deified Lee, without tacitly endorsing their cause? Ultimately, can we make the Confederacy worth remembering for the descendants of the slaves and those following generations of freedmen whom the whole nation betrayed by ignoring their new rights and liberties for a century?

Perhaps we can—but not through the current Southern fallacy that hundreds of thousands of free and enslaved blacks fought for the South. Such an exercise can come only by directly and honestly addressing the Confederacy and the war it fought, and owning up to the ways they are remembered—both of which are vital to understanding America’s course since 1860. To that end, the Confederacy’s monuments and symbols can be vital learning tools if placed in context. They must be preserved, not expunged. They must be understood, not whitewashed. …
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