The Confederate flag

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Postby Shapley » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:47 pm

I don't fly the Confederate Flag, nor do I have a decal in my vehicle or on my person. In fact, my home State (Missouri) was not a part of the Confederacy, although many from my neck of the woods (the Bootheel) claim allegiance to the South.

My point is that one can hardly claim that the war was about slave States vs. free states when there were slave states fighting on the side of the Union. Slavery as an institution had not been abolished at the beginning of or even during the course of the war. Slavery was alive and well within the Union until the end of the war.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:54 pm

Piq,

It was this line:
IOW, they're too stupid to know the true symbolism, generally speaking.
that I found insulting. (Not insulting to me personally, mind you, since I'm neither a Confederate flag waver nor a NASCAR fan.)

I think the idea that NASCAR fans, or Southerners, or People who have a respect for Southern traditions are, generally speaking, stupid is a bit of an insult to a broad section of humanity.

V/R
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Postby The Punky Kid Rides Again » Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:04 pm

While yes, the Emancipation Proclaimation did not free slaves in the Union, I do feel that equating the Union with being "ok" or promoting slavery is a bit of a stretch.

Lincoln was working the practical realities of the day. While he did not free slaves the first day of the war, I believe that was one of the main issues of the war. There were others, but a large one was slavery.
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Postby analog » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:05 pm

Here's one take on it. As is usual with with wars it was about wealth and power.

http://www.swcivilwar.com/cw_causes.html

At the Constitutional Convention there were arguments over slavery. Representatives of the Northern states claimed that if the Southern slaves were mere property, then they should not be counted toward voting representation in Congress. Southerners, placed in the difficult position of trying to argue, at least in this case, that the slaves were human beings, eventually came to accept the three-fifths compromise, by which five slaves counted as three free men toward that representation. By the end of the convention the institution of slavery itself, though never specifically mentioned, was well protected within the body of the Constitution.

It seemed to Thomas Jefferson and many others that slavery was on its way out, doomed to die a natural death. It was becoming increasingly expensive to keep slaves in the agrarian society of the south. Northern and Southern members of Congress voted together to abolish the importation of slaves from overseas in 1808, but the domestic slave trade continued to flourish. The invention of the cotton gin made the cultivation of cotton on large plantations using slave labor a profitable enterprise in the deep South. The slave became an ever more important element of the southern economy, and so the debate about slavery, for the southerner, gradually evolved into an economically based question of money and power, and ceased to be a theoretical or ideological issue at all. It became an institution that southerners felt bound to protect.


I don't know how Southerners came to be perceived so backward, perhaps it's a leftover from reconstruction when the North was industrializing and in a boom while the South remained agrarian and largely poor. My high school history never said much about that time. The idea was certainly capitalized on by popular writers in mid twentieth century from Al Capp to Tennessee Williams, to the extent many believe it.

That the Confederate Flag somehow represents hatred or anger or something racial is IMHO a reflection from the eye of the beholder. It's just an artifact from a nation that existed briefly during a tumultous time.

But the fact remains we Americans are fascinated with our lineage, and anyone who is belittled on account of his ancestry is likely to wave that ancestor's flag back in your face and invite you to step outside.



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Postby barfle » Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:01 pm

Lincoln ran on an abolitionist platform, and the southern states announced ahead of time that if he were elected, they would secede. I believe he had the smallest percentage of votes of any elected President - 39%.

Although the war was officially fought "to preserve the Union," the main point regarding the dissolution of the Union was slavery. Lincoln made the speech "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

It's worth noting that the southern states DO have a culture that is somewhat different than that generally recognized by the rest of the country. Any place where deep fried twinkies are considered a delicacy is a bit off the main stream.
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Postby OperaTenor » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:25 pm

Shapley wrote:Piq,

It was this line:
IOW, they're too stupid to know the true symbolism, generally speaking.
that I found insulting. (Not insulting to me personally, mind you, since I'm neither a Confederate flag waver nor a NASCAR fan.)

I think the idea that NASCAR fans, or Southerners, or People who have a respect for Southern traditions are, generally speaking, stupid is a bit of an insult to a broad section of humanity.

V/R
Shapley


You can take that as you wish, but I was making a GENERAL reference to people who choose to proudly display a rebel flag. And yes, I see a certain degree of stupidity in that sentiment: Partly in the futility of the expression, and partly in the connotation(actual or inferred) of it.

Jim "Puerile" B.
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Postby jamiebk » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:35 pm

I see no reason to fly a confederate flag. Last time I looked, we had a flag...it has 50 stars and 13 stripes on it
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Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:52 pm

Jamie,

True, we have a flag, as well as having one of fifty State's flags to fly. Lots of people and government facilities also have a POW-MIA flag flying, although I think the probability of bringing any more of them home has diminshed greatly in the last thirty-plus years. People who want to show that they remember those who fought and died or were captured or vanished in Vietnam continue to fly the POW-MIA flag. I suppose those who want to remember ancestors that fought and died for the Southern Cause during the Civil War may choose to fly the flag they fought under, as well.

McDonald's has it's own flag, although I don't see that it represents anything but fast food and dead cows. There is a National Park near here that also flies the United Nations flag, since it is a designated as a World Heritige Site. That irks a lot of conservatives hereabouts, BTW. There is an Irish Pub that I have frequented in St. Louis that does (or did) fly an Irish Flag, albeit indoors. There are several Italian Restaurants that have Italian Flags painted or hanging on the premises. There is a Thai restaurant in St. Louis that does (or did) have a Thai flag painted on the signboard on the storefront. My church has a Papal flag mounted on a pole inside the vestibule.

The point is, In addition to the United States flag, many people fly flags to show pride in their heritage, to remind them of something, or to make a statement about who they are and what they represent. For some reason, those who chose to fly the Confederate Battle flag are branded as being somehow lessened by their choice, and I disagree.

V/R
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Postby jamiebk » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:24 pm

Anyone is welcome to fly any flag they darn well please. However, they must realize that in doing so, they have created an impression of themselves from those who are subject to viewing it. That is the consequence. While the confederate flag is significant in terms of history, flying it today imparts a negative impression...largely due to the behavior and attitudes of those who insist on displaying it.
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Postby barfle » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:36 pm

When I moved to the DC area in November of 2001, many cars sported American flags, this being very shortly after 9/11 and being close to two of the targets, there was considerable patriotic fervor.

These days, I see a lot more Redskins flags than anything else, including CSA flags.
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Postby Shapley » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:47 pm

While the confederate flag is significant in terms of history, flying it today imparts a negative impression...largely due to the behavior and attitudes of those who insist on displaying it.


I won't deny that the attitude of many of those who fly the flag do a disservice to the brave men who died fighting for it (and the same can be said of the stars and stripes). However, much of the negative impression is due to misinformation spread about what the flag truly stood for.

I hardly think you can claim that the entire State of South Carolina has been displaying bad behavior or a bad attitude, yet it is the flying of the flag over their government houses and institutions that has been the focus of attention, not the yahoo with the Confederate flag sticker pasted to the back windshield of his truck, next to the Lynard Skynard decal and the little Calvin character urinating on the Chevrolet emblem. Before South Carolina, the focus was Mississippi, and Alabama. There is a concerted effort by misinformed people to rid the U.S. of this symbol of a turbulent time.

The stars and stripes stand as a symbol of the willingness of our nation to fight the bonds of oppression and to strike a blow for freedom. To Southerners, the stars and bars are symbolic of the same thing. We need education, not confrontation about the flag. Perhaps if more people understood what it represented, attitudes and behavior would change on both sides of the issue.

V/R
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Postby BigJon » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:23 pm

Shapley wrote: True, we have a flag, as well as having one of fifty State's flags to fly. Lots of people and government facilities also have a POW-MIA flag flying, although I think the probability of bringing any more of them home has diminished greatly in the last thirty-plus years. People who want to show that they remember those who fought and died or were captured or vanished in Vietnam continue to fly the POW-MIA flag. I suppose those who want to remember ancestors that fought and died for the Southern Cause during the Civil War may choose to fly the flag they fought under, as well.

I got to explain what the POW-MIA flag stood for to my boys tonight. Little League sign-ups are held in the local VFW post and they display a large flag over the bar area. My boys were making fun of it until I explained that it stood for soldiers who never made it home again. We had a long discussion on the drive home on why some soldiers never came home and why they should not be forgotten. They were quite somber when they got home.

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