I’ve been neglectful. Get over it. I have already.
I have a new job. There, I’m an optimist again. This, too, shall pass. Like gas.
Humans, it seems, are nasty bitches in the middle of one big bitch-slapping fight lately, We just go around kicking each other’s asses and being really fucking rude about it. Bitchy bitchiness in full bitch swing.
The vitriol hanging out in internetland lately is just weirding me out, so today, I’ll leave it to the Confederate Flag. This one confuses me, I must say. I mean, I get it in some ways. The history of the southern states, the confederate states, encompasses a flag represented by the stars and bars.
name (Starts & Bars) featuring none other than Daniel Day Lewis, oddly enough, who later portrayed Lincoln and in fact won an Oscar for his efforts in that film strange coincidence, is it not? I think so. But I am not talking about the film Stars and Bars, I am referring of course to the flag, designed by William Porcher Mills, chairman of the flag and seal committee in 1861.
The flag as we recognize it today was rejected as the national flag of the confederacy and was instead adopted as the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee. This may have something to do with why it was also painted atop the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard, but I’m just guessing on that one.
The first actual flag of the actual Confederate States looked like this:
It was designed by German/Prussian artist Nicola Marshall, in Marion, Alabama. Similar to the existing flag of the United States, especially when hanging without wind to unfurl it, this flag received much criticism for seeming like a bland copy of the existing flag. Also, this flag shows 7 stars.
The second national flag – and this one is important to learn about, history buffs – is called the “Stainless Banner” and it looks like this:
This lovely thing was designed by William T. Thompson. See the first example of what we now know are the “Stars and Bars?” Yep, there they are in all their glory, waving high atop a stainless field of white. I choose the word stainless here not of my own volition, but because the designer – yes the designer of the flag himself chose this stainless background because it was what he called a “White Man’s Flag.” This was the designer’s choice of terminology.
Not sure of my certainty here? Why, of course I’ve vetted my sources:
“As a people we are fighting maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical of our cause.”
Go ahead, dig out the microfilm for yourself. I’m a good archival-checker.
He also said this:
As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism. Another merit in the new flag is, that it bears no resemblance to the now r infamous banner of the Yankee vandals.
That helpful red stripe on the side prevented the enemy from thinking all the guys at the fort were all “hands-up” and stuff, Thank goodness! Solved what could have been a few messy surrenders with a few Sorry/Not Sorry kinds of not surrenders!
So the third flag of the confederate states had the stars and bars of the battle flag in the corner and the whiter-than-thou superiority field with a blood stain stripe on it from March 4, 1865 until the end of the war. Extra points if you know when, exactly, that was.
Oh, okay…it was April 9. I know you couldn’t handle the suspense. Many Confederate soldiers never even saw this flag, which explains why there is no real sense of loyalty and history to it – how could they feel loyal to a flag they were to honor for a month? More important to them is a concept they could hold onto for years and years – the notion that white rules over all. Now there’s something to sink a few teeth into.
But what is really, truly troublesome is this idea that anyone, anywhere is banning something.
What is happening for realz is that finally some people seated in the governments of the South have finally realized that finally they have to acknowledge that the “confederate” flag (I put that word in those silly quotation marks because, as you can now see, the flag they revere is NOT a flag of the confederate states, but rather the flag of the army of Northern Virginia, co-opted to represent white superiority) must not fly over the places where law is made. At long last, some lawmakers understand that to continue to claim that this symbol of racist thought is just that – a symbol of racist thought.
It’s gotta go.
Now what freaks me out is the number of otherwise reasonable adults who claim that it should stay. WTF, people? There are pretty normal Northerners who haven’t resided in the South at all who are whining about the idea that Gettysburg is removing the battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia from their sites. Gee, maybe so that some other asshat who is on his way to kill nine other innocent people doesn’t decide to to stop by for a hater photo-op?
Now that I’ve explained the history, can we hang on for just one minute and have this OTHER conversation?
If I have a picture of a lynching in my house because, hey, lynchings are part of history and I have a degree in history, but you think the picture is disgusting, do you think it’s polite of me to maybe remove that picture when you visit?
When I am aware that something offends you – say it is a sensitive topic about which we disagree, or that you prefer I not talk about your mother-in-law, I do not do those things, because they are offensive to you. I need not worry so much about how much I cherish my own rights, my own desire to discuss your mother-in-law. I can be sensitive to that which offends you, and not lose my own worth.
Why can’t we see that as the greater good here? Why can’t we see that this flag was, at least on some level, designed to make the black man feel lesser than the white man, or at least to allow the white man to feel greater than others? We are all guests in this house, and yet we all own it at the same time. The discussion about this flag should be about the greater good, not just the right to feel at home.
Is it so hard to be nice?