Monday, July 13, 2015

Uh No, It Isn't Only "Leftists" Behind The Drive To Remove Confederate Symbols!

Yahoos, driven to frenzy after the odious Confederate flag has been removed from state houses, go batshit nuts waving their own in pseudo-defiance.

It is almost an axiom, especially on historical matters, that when reactionaries have their oxen gored, they respond with hysteria and not reason. We've seen it before, as when the Oliver Stone film 'JFK' came out in 1991, that every scrawny little hack in whatever newspaper (but mainly the "liberal" ones like the WashPost and NY Times) came out violently against it as if Stone had produced a snuff film.. But they merely exposed themselves as screwballs especially since Stone never claimed his film was rigidly historical but rather a "counter myth to the myth of the Warren Commission Report".

We've seen it once more, in the wake of the Charleston massacre, when Confederate Battle flags began being taken down, that the reactionaries by their hysteria have exposed themselves as irrational. For example, EL Rushbo bloviating that "the same people out to confiscate the Confederate flag will go after the American flags next" . This was rightly mocked in a recent piece in The Economist (not exactly a "left" magazine) which observed (June 3rd, p. 22)::

"He ought to read Mr.Roof's manifesto: 'I hate the American flag' wrote the shooter, making its stars and stripes even brighter"

Which is why it was no coincidence that when we saw the Confederate Battle flag taken down in Columbia, SC, nearly all those present and cheering were waving AMERICAN flags, far outnumbering the Rebel regressives holding their Battle flags.

In the response to the spectacle of the Rebel flag being removed in South Carolina, of course,  hysteria has also taken hold amongst its backers, thereby sending their mental processes off the rails into wild distortion and bare bollocks. It is actually kind of fun to watch them melt down in apoplectic, futile fury - knowing there's not a damned thing they can do to halt the process.

For example, in some quarters and blogs the canard is being circulated it is all those terrible "leftists" who are responsible, totally forgetting:

- Nikki Haley who first called for the flag to come down after the massacre is a Republican

- Most of the votes needed to pass the legislation for removal had to come from Republicans (including Jenny Horne a descendant of Jefferson Davis) since a two-thirds majority was needed in the SC state senate and house.

-  In Mississippi, it was the REPUBLICAN Speaker of the House who said it was time to take the Confederate symbol off the state flag.

-  In Alabama, it was the REPULICAN Governor who had 3 Confederate flags removed from state house grounds by executive order.

Beyond these glaring examples, it is real Americans in general who have now had the scales removed from their eyes on our past history calling for its removal (at least to museums where it belongs) not just "leftists". But leave it to the Right to distort current events like they have the past.

Another canard circulated is that "leftists' have stoked the belief that the "Battle flag made poor little Roof  do it" totally misrepresenting the underlying issue and failing to grasp the nature of the Confederate symbols in supporting underlying racism and white supremacy.

This was well clarified in a Wall Street Journal article ('The Right Way to Remember the Confederacy', p. C1, June 11-12) where author William C. Davis pointed out:

"Symbols matter. They say at a glimpse what words cannot, encapsulating beliefs and aspirations, prejudices and fears.. Having no intrinsic value they take meaning from the way we use them, changing over time along with our actions....we know it today as the swastika, and a quarter century use by the Nazis, forever poisoned it in Western culture".

Indeed, which is why you get arrested for flying it - even as a personal choice and outside your own home- in Germany today. No ifs, ands or buts, you go to the slammer and do not pass 'Go'. It should be the same with the Reb Battle flag given how its history has altered.

As Davis notes, the flag originally was carried into battle in the Civil War "because the brilliant red stood out though the smoke of battle"  and it was carried into battle "as an intrinsic affirmation Confederacy's symbols including the perpetuation of slavery".

Davis asserts this image was "protected by veterans' groups from inappropriate political or commercial use" but it didn't last since:

"Soon former Confederate states incorporated it into their state flags, and militant white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan began deploying it as a symbol of resistance to integration and voting rights,  The worst proponents of white supremacy displayed that emblem while committing unspeakable acts of violence against African-Americans and white supporters of civil rights. They still do. Witness Charleston."

In other words, whatever semi-justified veneer for flying this flag was effectively jettisoned once the hate mongers and white supremacists began using it to support their criminal abominations  - including that sack of shit, Dylann Roof. In the same way the swastika became toxic by odious use to support everything from seizing Jewish property to genocide,  so also did the Rebel flag and all Confederate symbols via slavery, rape and lynchings. The neo-Confederate backers can try to deny this or distort it any way they wish, but those are the facts. Hence, it makes sense all right-thinking Americans  (not just "leftists") now brought up to speed on history would walk away from such symbols rather than embrace them. They'd also demand their removal from their own states' capitols.  Davis again:

"Whatever the flag meant from 1865 to 1940, its use by a white minority of outspokenly bigoted and violent people has indelibly shifted that meaning"

Hence, whatever its former meaning, its use NOW reduces to either that of haters and racist killers, OR jokers who are unaware (or in denial) of the hideous deployment while lynching blacks, raping their women and burning their churches. This is irrespective of the revisionist historical bunkum peddled by FOX nuts like Megyn Kelly, for the consumption of..... Foxites.

Btw, as far as Confederate war monuments go, Davis also points out:

"After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee himself opposed efforts to place monuments on the Confederacy's battlefields"

The author notes "Lee understood symbols" and further counseled that Southerners ought to "obliterate the marks of civil strife and commit to oblivion the feelings engendered."  Lee didn't believe it was historically appropriate or the losers' right to erect monuments to themselves, or to mislead future generations about their "independent" heritage and "rights".

As for the infuriating declaration that right-thinking Americans "ought to have let sleeping dogs lie" or "Rebel flags wave", give me a break! After Charleston and especially the generosity of the victims' families in forgiving Roof, that was no longer feasible and no person of conscience could abide it. The SC flag HAD to come down!

Maybe there will be millions of yokels (including those thousands coming out in its support this past weekend) who now purchase this flag in defiance. and that is their business and misfortune. But short of starting a new shooting Civil War, which I seriously doubt,  there is no problem now about "sleeping Reb dogs being awakened" given that the majority of Americans - including right thinking conservatives as well as leftists - are determined to remove this symbol from public spaces.

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