Monday, July 13, 2015

The Other Red, White, and Blue

      July 4th is the day many Americans spend beside a pool, beach, and/or a BBQ attempting to get the perfect hamburger grilling technique down and shooting off fireworks. Red, white, and blue stars and stripes were pretty much everywhere. In Rome, Georgia, however, there was a different Red, White, and Blue that managed to be pulled up into the United State's Independence Day festivities. The flag contained red and white stripes along with white stars up against blue. It was once a symbol of a union of 13 states that had a culture unlike anywhere else in the world. The flag is the now greatly debated Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America (which no longer exists; and ceased to exist in 1865).
       After the Charleston church shooting this summer, a photograph of the shooter with the confederate battle flag was found. The correlation was made that, since previous photographs and knowledge signaled that the shooter was a white supremacist, the confederate battle flag also correlates to white supremacy. That correlation can be deemed as a safe comparison or a faulty comparison based on how the 1860s and years leading up to the 1860s is interpreted.
       If making the claim that the confederate battle flag is a symbol for white supremacy, take into account that there's a lot of people who own a confederate flag. There's also a lot of people who support white supremacy. However, just because one owns a confederate flag does not mean one is in support of white supremacy. In the same sense, just because one person is a white supremacist doesn't mean he or she has a confederate flag hanging out the back of a large pickup truck parading through town on Independence Day.
       The confederate battle flag is a huge part of southern history and the history of the United States. (I've even picked up on this being Belgian.) It's a constant reminder of the Civil War, the struggle between states rights and national rights. It's a reminder that our great nation fell apart at one time and through the blood of many it was brought back together.
       Alas, not to long after the Charleston shooting South Carolina removed the Confederate Battle Flag from it's State Capital Building. Honestly; fine. The flag belongs in a museum; not on a government building (I hate to break the bad news, but the South is not rising again anytime soon).
      As vehicles with the Confederate Battle Flags still drive through the streets of Rome, Georgia, it's hard not to notice the similarities and differences between not only the flags, but the groups of people backing stance of the great flag debate. In the end, slavery was part of the Union and the Confederacy, it just stuck around longer in the South. Revolutions and the fight for rights were a part of both the Union and the Confederacy; the United States gained it's independence through revolting against the British Monarchy because of unfair and unequal representation with the government.
      So next time someone wants to declare that the Confederate Battle Flag is just for white supremacy or just for states rights, realize in the end, whether with good or bad intentions, it initially stood for a country of 13 states that left a National government because they felt as if they were not given equal rights as the rest of the nation.

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