Wednesday, June 24, 2015

No honor for the Confederate flag,
NO RESPECT for Conservative bigots,
no more elective office for racists!

In discrediting and removing the vile symbols of the failed confederacy, it is time for some plain, hard honesty.

There is no honor or  valor of treason or the acts of traitors, regardless of individual heroism.  There is no justification to respect the worst atrocities and failures in our heritage just because they are 'ours', but instead we should call them out for the evil they were.  There is no merit to celebrate in a tradition of oppression, and no decency in a history of violent intimidation and exploitation, no matter what words you employ to try to put lipstick on the Confederacy pig, or on any atrocity for that matter committed by the United States. The celebration of the Confederacy is as wrong as the premise of U.S. supposed "exceptionalism" when it denies anything bad was ever done by or on behalf of the United States.  Wrong is wrong, bad is bad, and putting on a lying label does not alter that reality. Pretending wrong is right or good only compounds the original wrong, in some instances, exponentially.

Senator Lindsey Graham is totally and shockingly wrong when he and others on the right make the claim that there has long been an acceptable, valid justification for venerating or respecting ANY of the confederate flags.

The removal of confederate image merchandise from a growing list of national retailers is NOT only a response to the tragedy of the right wing domestic terrorist attack that killed 9 people in a South Carolina church.

The growing pressure to remove the Confederate flag, from South Carolina, from Mississippi, from EVERY place it flies, especially in the old 'rebel' south, is not new.  The fight against the confederate imagery is as old as the flag and the civil war itself.

Too many on the right, including our own former member of Congress from Minnesota Michele Bachmann, have made excuses to justify slavery, and have misrepresented slavery as less evil and vicious than it actually was.  The symbols of the Confederacy are nothing more or less than an attempt to white-wash the black heart of White Supremacy, Jim Crow, and over-reaching, abusive southern government.  Jim Crow, the brutal and systematic trampling and obliteration of civil rights IS the worst government overreach in our history.

From Addicting info, back in August of 2011 - a relatively recent attempt to glam up, validate, and legitimize the brutal, horrific, immoral, and obscene, representative of old style southern conservative racism generally:
One of the more interesting tidbits to be discussed about GOP presidential front-runner Michelle Bachmann in the current issue of the New Yorker is that one of the books she kept listed on her website as a “must read” was a biography of Robert E. Lee by  J. Steven Wilkins. Wilkins is a revisionist historian that seeks to downplay or even glorify the Souths’ tradition of slavery. From the book:
Slavery, as it operated in the pervasively Christian society which was the old South, was not an adversarial relationship founded upon racial animosity. In fact, it bred on the whole, not contempt, but, over time, mutual respect. This produced a mutual esteem of the sort that always results when men give themselves to a common cause. The credit for this startling reality must go to the Christian faith. . . The unity and companionship that existed between the races in the South prior to the war was the fruit of a common faith.
Got that? Because Africans were forcibly converted to Christianity, they didn’t mind being slaves at all but rather worked extra hard to enrich their white owners. For Jesus.
It is a conservative 'meme', like right wing talking head Michael Medved at the conservative, via fear of ignorance,  in his appalling and grossly inaccurate  "Six Inconvenient Truths about the US and Slavery", for example claiming that :

Really?  Seriously?  No long-term harm, no foul, is that the idea?  Apparently it is when you are an apologist for racism, past AND PRESENT.

And that conclusion is based on .....what?  NOTHING factual is involved, only the purest animus.  But it is part and parcel of the offensive beliefs of conservatives, and of those who embrace the confederacy, including all of its symbols.

Apart from ignoring, for starters, all of the people who were never born because of the high percentage of deaths in the passage from Africa, and ignoring all of the pain and suffering and social breakdown that continued long after the end of slavery due to families having been separated and sold off from each other, the enforced lack of education, etc., this is merely adding insult to injury, and promoting the conservative meme that black people are somehow inferior, and are lucky to be in the United States where they have been fortunate to be converted to Christianity?  Who can assert what would have been different in the continent of Africa without the evil of slavery and the pattern it contributed to of European exploitation that later characterized European intrusion into that continent.

I recently saw a comment about African Americans on a right wing facebook site that argued black people were inferior because they did not invent the kind of recorded language that white Europeans did.  That seemed strikingly to omit from contributing to world culture the many accomplishments of the Egyptians, as well as the many accomplishments, both linguistic and mathematical and in the sciences of the Muslim world, including the African continent.  What a disgustingly racist and intellectually dishonest view of world culture -- as if even if the assertion were true (and it is not) then any abuse, exploitation, or brutality is excused and excusable?

That is unacceptable.  There is no difference between that revisionist history and claiming that Hitler wasn't that bad for the Holocaust or worse, that the Holocaust did not occur, with the notable exception that slavery tortured many more, stole the labor through brutal coercion from many more, and killed many more than the Holocaust -- roughly 20 million slaves died in the United States before slavery was abolished.

The BEST response to the claims about honor, duty, heritage and the rest of the claptrap came from South Carolina state senator Paul Thurmond, son of notoriously racist Senator Strom Thurmond.  Those on the right, from Reince Preibus, RNC chair, to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Governor Haley, ad nauseum are ALL wrong about this symbol. 

Paul Thurmond Via Slate:
“Our ancestors were literally fighting to keep human beings as slaves, and to continue the unimaginable acts that occur when someone is held against their will,” said State Senator Paul Thurmond, a Republican, explaining that he would vote to remove the flag.
“I am not proud of this heritage,” said Mr. Thurmond.

“We must take down the Confederate flag and we must take it down now. But if we stop there, we have cheated ourselves out of an opportunity to start a different conversation about healing in our state,” Thurmond continued. “I am ready.”

Here is the video of State Senator Thurmond:

Everyone should be proud of their heritage, where they come from and the culture of the people from whom they descend.  But that is not the same thing as being proud of the bad things done by people who preceded us, and the bad things done in the name of the confederacy and the principles for which it stood and affirmed were bad principles. This does not, as claimed by Fox News liar and buffoon Bill O'Reilly, mean we honor all war dead because they "fought hard".  Nazi soldiers fought hard in WW II; British soldiers and mercenary soldiers fought hard in the American Revolution.  The Swastika is not flown in Europe (although the confederate flag IS flown as a proxy for it) and we do not fly the Union Jack to honor our British heritage and those who fought on the side of the loyalists either.  There are plenty of other, better ways to deal with the challenges of mixed good-and-bad heritage, better and less oppressive and less offensive ways that do not constitute engaging in hate symbolism. No matter how you try to spin the Confederate flag, it represents sedition, disloyalty, violence, domestic terrorism, sabotage, assassination, and treason against the United States.  And it continues to embarrass us all world wide.  For example, in the Ukraine, we have our heritage, our southern white supremacist, racist, brutal and abusive national stain displayed to our very current shame:

Why are Nazi & Confederate flags on display in Kiev?

When Kiev’s City Hall was seized with guns and Molotov cocktails, one of the first acts of the Euromaidan street fighters was to unfurl a number of flags and insignia. Prominent among the flags were swastikas, Iron Crosses, Nazi SS lightning bolts, the Celtic cross used by the Ku Klux Klan, and the Confederate “stars and bars” flag of slaveholders in the United States. ( This is no accident. The flag of the U.S. Southern slaveholders and the Klan cross are symbols understood around the world. They stand for racism, reaction, lynchings and mass terror, for keeping oppressive institutions intact and for beating down people of color and all those who struggle for a better world. Racists from across Europe have traveled to Kiev. Wearing these symbols on their helmets and jackets, these thugs roamed Kiev and defaced the homes of Jews. They destroyed memorials to those who fought the Nazi invasion and occupation of the Ukraine in World War II.
Here is a Ukraine Confederate flag, and a Ukraine Naziee flag: Feel the pride NOW, Senator Lindsey, Governor Haley?  THIS is that ol' Confederate Heritage you revere so dearly. No matter how much you try to pretend that states rights was a legitimate cause, it was a wrong cause in the civil war, and has been a wrong cause in every iteration since the civil war.  There is a reason we have the supremacy clause in the U. S. constitution; it is because when states try to deviate from that federal supremacy it has been consistently contrary and disloyal to that constitution, and has consistently been an attempt to justify the indefensible -- slavery was just one of many bad things that support for states rights has attempted to make appear valid or legitimate. Nullification has been another. The same has been true of attempts to suppress voter rights, to legislate segregation, anti-miscegenation, and the rest of Jim Crow, and to behave in bigoted ways towards the LGBT community, and to promote the pseudo-science of creationism.  And last but not least, it has been used to try to justify even more stupid proposals such as individual states currency.  That is far from a complete or encyclopedic list; states rights is what bad people, conservative bad people, fall back on to try to force through evil and foolish laws. It is imperative we do not continue the LIE about the Confederacy, the civil war -- an aggression STARTED by the south, or about the symbols of hate that represent an evil stain on our nation. It is impossible to defend the indefensible, and it is made worse by those who keep trying.  Own the bad, repudiate the bad ALL OF IT) and then, and only then, can we move on in something other than a vicious circle of more evil and further stain on our nation.

No comments:

Post a Comment