Afternoon Widdershins: It’s Time
Posted July 6, 2015on:
Good Monday, Widdershins. Hopefully, this post will be more coherent than I currently feel. There’s still much familial turmoil, but should I be able to hang on for a mere 25 more days, I can lay that burden down and move on with my life. In the meantime, know that I am still around and will be back eventually. For today, I am filling in while Mad enjoys a well-earned vacay.
The news cycle has been fascinating of late. Gay rights got a major boost, fair housing was not dashed upon the rocks of SCOTUS, and Obamacare subsidies were upheld. That’s the good news. The bad news is that yet another mass shooting has taken place, this time with a white shooter slaughtering 9 African-American church members after joining them in prayer and bible study. The fallout has been swift and sure. The fallout is still coming, but is it covering what it should be covering, or is it displaced?
To my way of thinking, the fallout is displaced. At this moment, the fallout is burying the Battle Flag, aka “the” Confederate Flag. Battle Flags were and are specific to the various armies of the Confederate forces: the square one was used by Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, the rectangular flag was used by Beauregard’s Army of the Tennessee. The Army of the Trans-Mississppi has a blue field, a red saltire and white stars. The saltire is lifted from the flag of Scotland, as most of the original officers (Lee, Johnson, Jackson, Johnstone, Stuart, etc.) were of Scottish descent.
The Battle Flag is as roundly criticized by some as is revered by others, but it is as much a historic flag as is the Gadsen Flag, as Confederate soldiers were accorded the status of American veterans in the post-war period. They received government pensions, and they are buried in VA cemeteries. Their headstones are easy to spot, as the tympanum comes to a point rather than being rounded. Here is the statute:
Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.
I am a Southerner, and a descendant of a Confederate soldier, and on this basis I understand the attachment to the flag. I am also half Scottish and half Irish, and understand how loathsome a flag can be – both sides of my family shudder when they see the Union Jack, as neither side was well-treated by the “bloody Brits”. Do I, and everyone else of my ilk, have the right to demand that the flag of the UK be banned due to their long and bloodied history against my people? I don’t think so. In fact, it is my considered belief that banning any symbol is absolutely un-American, and a violation of the First Amendment. Should the Battle Flag be displayed on public property? I’m not certain about that, but let’s just say that if indeed Confederate veterans are American veterans, should they not have the right to be honored on public property with the flag under which they fought? If not, then move the whole shebang to private property, but understand that this violates the spirit of an act of Congress.
The war has been over for 150 years. It’s way past time for North-South reconciliation. It’s way past time to understand one another’s sensibilities. It’s way past time to stop judging eighteenth and nineteenth century men by twenty first century standards. It’s way past time for us to understand that slavery was an American problem, not a Southern problem, and I am cheered by the efforts of the Boston Globe and Brown University to bring these facts to light. It’s way past time to stop name-calling and get on with the business at hand, which is the simple fact that too many weapons are finding their way into the hands of people with mental illnesses. There was no Confederate Flag at Sandy Hook. There was no Confederate Flag in the theater in Aurora, Just young men with serious psychiatric disorders, and we can add Dylan Roof to that list.
This is an open thread.
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