Sunday, June 21, 2015

YES! That Damned Rebel Flag Needs To Come Down In South Carolina

The despised Confederate flag, cradled by Dylan Roof - which even Mitt Romney now tweets ought to be removed from the South Carolina State Capitol.

The newly released images from a secret hate website manned by racist killer Dylann Roof, have not only revealed multiple scenes of this vermin with Confederate flags -  but also  spitting on and burning American flag. In addition, he displays a disgusting, hate-filled manifesto. (Some query whether he really wrote it, but the sentiments expressed are the same as those he's already divulged, e.g. to his "friends".) The new revelations have been so graphic and sordid to even prompt Republican Mitt Romney to tweet for the removal of the Confederate Battle flag from the South Carolina capitol. Well, at least one major Republican - and a former presidential candidate - has the balls to call out for what's needed! Good on you, Mitt, at least for this!

Kudos are also due to SC State Rep Doug Brannon, another Republican, who has vowed to introduce legislation this December to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the state capitol. In addition, there has now been an outpouring of demands from SC citizens to "Take down that flag of my ancestors' heritage!"

Getting rid of that degenerate piece of rotten fabric really ought to be no biggie for anyone with a grain of sense and common decency - especially after what the newly released images show.

My wake up call on flags  - namely those of enemies and why they don't merit being hoisted- occurred when I was in Dissen, West Germany in May, 1985. This was not long after our host (Reinhardt) had driven us to the East German border to the town of Allendorf. We emerged from the car and walked to the border near a river bank in the literal shadow of a manned guard tower. There East German soldiers actually (briefly) pointed rifles at our heads. Reinhardt swore he saw them laughing, but my eyes weren't that great. I had to take his word for it.

We did get several shots of the armed guard tower, which featured in several of Reinhardt's slides we all watched later: Reinhardt, me, his wife Elli and Janice.
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The slide above shows the armed guard tower, erected (like hundreds of others)  so that any East Germans attempting to escape to the West (West Germany) would be shot on sight. Reinhardt told me even two weeks earlier two had been shot and killed as they tried to get through.  Another slide showed the hated East German flag, the symbol of oppression for millions.

Below, we're seen watching the scenes, including one - slide I've since  lost - of me standing at the near side river's edge, with the guard seen in the tower in the background
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When the slide of the East German flag appeared, Reinhardt said: "One day Germany will be one, east and west united, and this flag will fly no more."  By 1990 this had happened, and when we visited Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2013 and met Reinhardt again, I asked if any such flags had survived.

He responded, "Yes, in some museums".

He then asked me pointed questions over Spaetzli  and dunkel beer that I could not answer: "How is it that in your country - the U.S.  - you still have Confederate war memorials, but here in Germany no town or village is  permitted a single Third Reich memorial?  Also, how can some of your people fly those crossed bar Confederate flags but here one would be prosecuted if he flew a swastika flag?"

I had no answers - but his questions made sense. Why indeed? The Confederate battle flag, like the Nazi swastika, was the emblem of hateful aggressive losers. After the Civil War, given the South had lost, it ought to have been retired  to museums (like swastikas in Germany)  but instead had found its way to rise above state capitols, such as in South Carolina.

Today it remains the same symbol of hate - as much as the swastika - and this isn't a matter of "political correctness" either - any more than the E. German flag's prohibition was political correctness after reunification. It isn't any coincidence that the hateful turd Roof was captured in photos showing an '88' t-shirt (white supremacist code for “Heil Hitler”) and also the Confederate flag. The two go together like dung and donkey piss.

It also isn't a matter of "subjectivity". NO black man who beholds the Stars n' Bars can see anything other than an evil symbol of oppression and aggression, the same reaction evoked in German Jews who see the swastika or former E. Germans who see the hated flag of E. Germany.

Thus, as numerous media and other voices (including Romney's)  have called for, this flag needs to come down and be retired to a museum with all the other paraphernalia of Southern "heritage".. It was bad enough the damned thing was flying high in the state capitol after the massacre of nine black innocents in Charleston. The very fact that the U.S. and State flags were at half mast - as per decorum - but the Confederate flag remained high, said it all. Silently gave testimony to a state that - though it yearned for unity in the wake of the killings - bestowed benediction on hate by the Battle Flag that flew high.

In the aftermath, assorted namby pamby talking heads like Lindsey Graham bellyached that it couldn't  be taken down because it was part of "our Southern heritage" but "a compromise might work". This deranged fool also added: "“this is part of who we are. The flag represents — to some people — the Civil War, and that was the symbol of one side.”   Bull pockey!  The East German flag and the Nazi swastika also represented "one side"  in different contexts (Cold War, WWII) but that doesn't mean they're allowed to be openly hoisted in public places any more!

 Will these traitorous supporters  (especially Reepo politicians like Graham) ever get it into their heads they LOST the war? That instead of celebrating their odious leaders - like Jeff Davis and John C. Calhoun and Robert E. Lee- they ought to be hanging their heads in shame? Where does it end?

 I thought is was bad enough when, ten years ago - in an issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Review, there was a section devoted to how Southerners were buying KKK outfits and Confederate Battle flags (and other clothing emblazoned with it), for....TODDLERS! How outlandish and over the top can you get? Don't these people understand that the Confederate Battle Flag is an affront to all black people as well as all civilized people with any iota of sensitivity? It is an emblem of the slavery and abuse at the hands of the Southern slave owners!

Still, what pro-Confederate Southerners do with their flags and Rebel paraphernalia on their own time and dime (and in their own homes) is their business. If they want to plaster all the walls in their homes with Rebel flags or photos of Jeff Davis, that's their business. Same with flying it in the front of their own homes. Where I have a problem is when it's flown in a public space, intimating that all citizens of the place or state are agreeable to its hidden messages, oppression, slavery, symbolism for "heritage" or whatever. No they are not! Not any more than flying a Nazi flag would be in Dissen, Germany today.

Some deluded supporters of this piece of antiquated refuse have actually suggested that "it's how it's used that matters". Uh, no, Sparky, it's what it REPRESENTS!

In addition, digging up some obscure image of some poor old black guy carrying this symbol of his ancestors' oppression doesn't prove it's accepted by blacks, or that its position in the South Carolina Capitol of Columbia is justified. It is merely a cheap ploy unworthy of a really thoughtful blogger or commentator.

Sadly, all this shows how far we have to go and the first step for healing in Charleston is getting rid of that damned, demented symbol and sticking it in the back room of a museum.

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Wes Thornhill said...

It's funny the main story of this article considers East and West Germany and how Nazi symbols are outlawed in Germany today. You know what isn't outlawed there? That "Damn Rebel flag" that East Germans flew as the Berlin wall was being taken down as a symbol of resistance against the overbearing, communist Soviet government.
How easily we all forget the atrocities committed under the American flag. Namely, when it flew high and proud as my Cherokee ancestors were slaughtered and pushed off their lands.
Outside of the lunatic fringe that includes maniacs like Dylann Roof, people in the South know that slavery was a tragedy of this nation's past, that no one is innocent of. Indeed, all of America benefitted from slave labor, as Southern cotton made up 60% of all American exports in 1860. Unfair tariffs legislated by the federal government on these goods (definitely a huge contributing factor to Southern states seceding) sought to further exploit the system, and the federal government was made rich from the sweat of slaves in the South. They did nothing to end slavery. They could have followed Great Britain's example when they abolished the institution and likely avoided a war altogether. Lincoln himself wasn't even an abolitionist, and made it clear that he would have freed no slaves at all if it could preserve the Union. He even offered such a compromise in the weeks before the war started with the Corwin amendment, which guaranteed to slave holding states that the government would never interfere with slavery if they would return to the Union. The Confederate states didn't even bother to vote on it, turning down an extremely generous offer, clearly because they were ready to fight for something other than just slavery. The East Germans understood what that "Damn Rebel flag" flies for, I don't understand how it could be so hard for liberals like yourself, other than it doesn't fit the agenda that you so blindly hold on to.

Copernicus said...

The only "agenda" I see on offer is that embodied in this codswallop of a propaganda post- which literally is a suave apologia for the Confederates - seeking to justify their treason, and yes - their defense of slavery. Left out in your screed is how richly Wall Street and the investor class rewarded the slave states - which saw nearly 75% of their economies infused with cash from slave dealing.

You also omitted how Southern senators and representatives blocked early efforts to establish state land-grant colleges. As for the local common schools, the illiteracy rate in Dixie, even among whites, was much much higher than in the North, which supported public education. The Southern heritage of poorly funding public education is now a national Republican policy, which also involves taking money from the public coffers to support private religious schools.

Also omitted the prosperity for the few paradigm wherein also income distribution in pre-war Dixie had been extremely skewed with a few rich folks, mostly planters, sitting on most of the wealth, and outside of their slaves, lots of "poor white trash" scrounging for a meager livelihood at the bottom.

It was damned close to feudal, sort of like the country you get with continued tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, ensuring there isn't much for the folks further down the ladder, especially after you privatize Medicare and cut Social
Security- like the (mostly ) Southern repukes want to do now.

Re: your blather on E. Germany and that flag it's also totally wrong given that nowhere in Saxony or Bavaria can that flag be flown - as our host Reinhardt pointed out last year. Oh again, it is flying in museums. Re: the American flag, need i point out that the version of the flag flown during the Indian wars is NOT the same as the flag we're talking about now. Something along the lines of additional stars added.

On that note discussion on this topic is closed. Have fun with your revisionist bollocks.

Copernicus said...

Addendum footnote re: the tariff issue:

By 1861 slaves represented a $3.7 billion “asset” – or $4.3 trillion in today's dollar- the largest for the southern states, and cotton was the largest export. In no way would federal tariffs on this largesse have been large enough or hurtful enough for the South to secede. They did it because they damned well wanted to preserve their highly profitable slave trade! Hence, the war was indeed fought over slavery and not "state's rights", tariffs or any other red herrings.