Saturday, June 17, 2017
This is in regard to the responses by Mr. Spencer and Mr. Freeman to my letter protesting flying the Confederate flag.
Both of them wrote that slavery was not the overwhelming issue of the Civil War. In the articles of succession from South Carolina (the first to leave), Alabama and the rest, the protection of the right to hold slaves was indeed a principal reason they got out.
President Lincoln's comments about the Negro being less than the white man were made during an election campaign. He was playing to the slaveholding crowd. Abe later said that was not how he really felt. You've got to watch out for those politicians!
Mr. Freeman wrote that the shackling, torture, rape and killing of Negro slaves was "propaganda." Sir, the literature and news coverage of those days is rampant with reports of all that activity -- including here in Hot Springs.
But that is all old history. Is it a history to celebrate? We would not have evolved into who we are today if not for our ancestors. So celebrating them and the battles they fought is appropriate. And it should be done with the appropriate flags.
But gentleman, what I'm talking about is today. What do those flags mean today? The American flag, like its constitution, has evolved from the mind set of the Civil War. Today in America a person of another color, gender, religion or sexual preference has the same rights as you -- regardless of who you are. It's promised in the Constitution. That's what the American flag stands for today. Thank God for amendments!
Confederate flags -- be they Stars and Bars, or the battle flag -- are stuck in history. They did not have the opportunity to evolve into a more humane identity. They still stand for a society of white male supremacy. A time when not only did the lives of people of another color, but those of another gender, did not count as much as a white male (it amazes me that women have had to fight for the same rights as the men they gave birth to). The Confederate flag represents that era, and that's what makes it offensive.
The Civil War has been over for a long time. The Union won. And as the union of the United States of America, we now have a constitution that declares we are all equal, regardless of our race, creed or gender. I think Jesus would be proud.
So back to the question poised in my earlier letter. Which flag best represents you? The USA flag that says we are striving to be a more humane nation? Or the Confederate flag that says the white male is a superior creature? (How did the white male get to be so special?)
Gentlemen, if you are of the latter mindset, I beg you to fly the Confederate flag. That way we Americans who live in the present will know who you are.
A white male in
Hot Springs, Ark.
Editorial on 06/17/2017
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