I am beyond happy that the confederate flag is being brought down from government buildings. It had no place there in its representation of an attempt at secession that divided our country in two only 150 years ago. It further has no place in today’s society as it is primarily a symbol of white supremacy brought on by the racial divide in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights movement, and I am glad to see it go in all areas except for that of a context of history.
Now for the history lesson. The flag with a diagonal blue cross isn’t the actual confederate flag. There were many different battle flags throughout the war. Watch this video to learn more about the various flags and where they all fit in history.
With freedom of expression in this country though, we have the right to display whatever symbols, images, flags, etc. that we want. Do I think any version of the Confederate flag should be mass produced in hues of polyester? No. And any company that has profited from this culture of racist bigots should be downright ashamed. But should we ban the image of the Confederate flag? No. I care about this because while I may be disgusted by today’s connotations of displaying this flag, I believe in protecting everyone’s right to free speech.
Also, I am a hobbyist Civil War reenactor. For me, it’s a fun excuse to make giant poofy dresses à la Gone With the Wind and show them off. I don’t care about the battles and though I started with a Union reenacting group back in Michigan, I’ll happily join in Confederate events here in Texas. Now, are there Confederate reenactors who are racist? Probably. Are all of them? By no means. I have respect for many of the Confederate reenactors I have met. They have all been kind and civil and I would be upset to learn if they had any of these racist leanings. But without someone reenacting the Confederacy this hobby would be pointless. I wish the Confederate Flag were as rare as it is for me to see the 1860 US flag on battlefields. But the point is its not rare. I see it on bumper stickers, on trucks, in windows, in houses on shirts and in many more places in the rural conservative parts of the country. In these places it’s only context is that of racism and bigotry. No Civil War reenactor I know would ever hang a Confederate Flag outside of the context of a historical reenactment.
The Confederate Flag belongs in a museum. That is the only place it rightfully belongs.