Of Flags, Hate, Heritage, Racism, and History

Posted: July 14, 2015 in Life, News, Politics, The Blog
Tags: , , , ,

This symbol officially stood for Wallace. It shouldn’t officially stand for American states today.

Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom- loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.

Today I have stood, where once Jefferson Davis stood, and took an oath to my people. It is very appropriate then that from this Cradle of the Confederacy, this very Heart of the Great Anglo-Saxon Southland, that today we sound the drum for freedom as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again through history. Let us rise to the call of freedom- loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.

Okay, this is a bit of a different one. I’m way too busy to type everything that I wanted to say, so I recorded it. Not that again any time soon. Made it easier to get other stuff done as I talked with only short breaks from working to read quotes, but it also causes one to stray a bit here and there. So, yeah, this one is largely audio with quotes and links to support what I discuss in the recording. I go over why I think the flag should not be flown as a state symbol, its almost nonstop, 150+ year history with being affiliated with racism and white supremacy, why most of the Confederate monuments should not be pulled down, how stupid the false equivalency arguments are, and why companies like Apple and TV Land are being incredible dumbasses.

But, again, yeah, not doing this type of blog again any time soon.

The recording breaks down as follows-

(1) Discussing the intent of the creator of the 2nd Confederate Battle Flag – 00:05:00

(2) The Statements of the Founding Fathers of the Confederacy – 00:09:15

(3) The KKK, the Segregationists, and others – 00:32:00

(4) The states adopt the flag – 00:58:00

(5) What do we do with monument? – 01:09:10

(6) The false equivalency nonsense of social media memes, other slight of hand arguments, and why Apple, TV Land, and some others are acting stupid – 01:37:00

What’s below are quotes that I reference in the recording along with various resource links at the bottom of the piece. For anyone that stands waving that flag and telling you that you’re ignorant of the facts because the South’s cause and that flag was never about slavery or racism, feel free to tell them that they have no clue what they’re talking about.

The decelerations the Southern states made in breaking away all cited their desire to keep alive an institution of owning other humans a property and forcing them to work in fields like animals because, in their view, blacks were inferior and that was their deserved place.

Mississippi –

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin. That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.”

Texas –

“In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.”

“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

“That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.”

Louisiana –

“As a separate republic, Louisiana remembers too well the whisperings of European diplomacy for the abolition of slavery in the times of an­nexation not to be apprehensive of bolder demonstrations from the same quarter and the North in this country. The people of the slave holding States are bound together by the same necessity and determination to preserve African slavery.”

South Carolina –

“A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.”

Alabama –

“Upon the principles then announced by Mr. Lincoln and his leading friends, we are bound to expect his administration to be conducted. Hence it is, that in high places, among the Republi­can party, the election of Mr. Lincoln is hailed, not simply as it change of Administration, but as the inauguration of new princi­ples, and a new theory of Government, and even as the downfall of slavery. Therefore it is that the election of Mr. Lincoln cannot be regarded otherwise than a solemn declaration, on the part of a great majority of the Northern people, of hostility to the South, her property and her institutions—nothing less than an open declaration of war—for the triumph of this new theory of Government destroys the property of the South, lays waste her fields, and inaugurates all the horrors of a San Domingo servile insurrection, consigning her citizens to assassinations, and. her wives and daughters to pollution and violation, to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans. “

Louisiana (Address of George Williamson, Commissioner from Louisiana to the Texas Secession Convention) –

“History affords no example of a people who changed their government for more just or substantial reasons. Louisiana looks to the formation of a Southern confederacy to preserve the blessings of African slavery, and of the free institutions of the founders of the Federal Union, bequeathed to their posterity.”
…….
“As a separate republic, Louisiana remembers too well the whisperings of European diplomacy for the abolition of slavery in the times of an­nexation not to be apprehensive of bolder demonstrations from the same quarter and the North in this country. The people of the slave holding States are bound together by the same necessity and determination to preserve African slavery.”
…….
“That constitution the Southern States have never violated, and taking it as the basis of our new government we hope to form a slave-holding confederacy that will secure to us and our remotest posterity the great blessings its authors designed in the Federal Union. With the social balance wheel of slavery to regulate its machinery, we may fondly indulge the hope that our Southern government will be perpetual.”

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Jefferson Davis –

“You too know, that among us, white men have an equality resulting from a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist where white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race. The mechanic who comes among us, employing the less intellectual labor of the African, takes the position which only a master-workman occupies where all the mechanics are white, and therefore it is that our mechanics hold their position of absolute equality among us.”

Alexander Stephens Vice President of the Confederacy – March 21 1861-

“The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions—African slavery as it exists among us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away… Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a Government built upon it—when the “storm came and the wind blew, it fell.

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

In his famous “Cotton Is King” speech, James Henry Hammond compared the alleged wage slavery of the North with black slavery—and white equality—in the South –

“The difference between us is, that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated; there is no starvation, no begging, no want of employment among our people, and not too much employment either. Yours are hired by the day, not cared for, and scantily compensated, which may be proved in the most painful manner, at any hour in any street of your large towns. Why, you meet more beggars in one day, in any single street of the city of New York, than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole South.”

“We do not think that whites should be slaves either by law or necessity. Our slaves are black, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them, by being made our slaves. None of that race on the whole face of the globe can be compared with the slaves of the South. They are happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations. Yours are white, of your own race; you are brothers of one blood. They are your equals in natural endowment of intellect, and they feel galled by their degradation.”

On the eve of secession, Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown –

“Among us the poor white laborer is respected as an equal. His family is treated with kindness, consideration and respect. He does not belong to the menial class. The negro is in no sense of the term his equal. He feels and knows this. He belongs to the only true aristocracy, the race of white men. He black no masters boots, and bows the knee to no one save God alone. He receives higher wages for his labor than does the laborer of any other portion of the world, and he raises up his children with the knowledge, that they belong to no inferior cast, but that the highest members of the society in which he lives, will, if their conduct is good, respect and treat them as equals.”

In January of 1861, three months before the Civil War commenced, Florida secessionists articulated the position directly –

“At the South, and with our People of course, slavery is the element of all value, and a destruction of that destroys all that is property. This party, now soon to take possession of the powers of the Government, is sectional, irresponsible to us, and driven on by an infuriated fanatical madness that defies all opposition, must inevitably destroy every vestige or right growing out of property in slaves.”

“Gentlemen, the State of Florida is now a member of the Union under the power of the Government, so to go into the hands of this party.”

“As we stand our doom is decreed.”

Hate

The flag was designed to be a racist symbol. The South’s actions, in their own words, were based on keeping slavery alive and the belief in the inferiority of the black man as a species of man.

Even the claim that “freed” black slaves fought willingly throughout the entirety of the war on the side of the South is more cherished Southern myth than historical fact. The idea of enlisting blacks had been discussed as a desperation move for some time towards the end of the war. It was met with resistance on multiple grounds, ad it was only ever taken up in their last gasp days. They passed the resolution in the Confederate Congress on March 13, 1865. The last shot of the war was fired on June 22, 1865.

Look, I’m not going to bash the modern South, I’m a born and bred Virginian and my vacations from my state involve me going to Georgia, North Carolina, or slightly farther south. But the unfortunate facts of history are that they did what they did for the reasons that they outlined, and that the coming industrial revolution that some cite as the thing that would eventually wipe out slavery, while sure to slowly wipe out slavery as field labor at least, doesn’t change the actions that they chose take before its coming or the rationale for why they did it.

The “history and heritage of that actual design after the war is problematic as well. That’s the other problem right now is the historical illiteracy of many in the pro-flag side. That square flag flying in SC right now? That’s not the actual Confederate Flag. That’s the battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia that was flown under Lee. The problem with that is that it’s too damned close in design to the battle flag of Tennessee. The reason that’s problematic is that the battle flag of Tennessee was adopted by another army after the war. It was the flag flown throughout the South by the KKK, a group founded by a Confederate General and originally made up largely of Confederate veterans, as they committed acts of terror and murder. It was also the banner of the segregationists.

Hell, states adopted it to symbolically display their stands against desegregation. It was their visual protest against the “tyranny” of desegregation.

Look, I understand some of the frustration by many Southerners, but it’s not like this is without precedent in history. The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being.” It has a long history of positive use. It was a symbol that brought hope and comfort to many over the centuries. That changed starting in the 1930s. If you fly a swastika flag these days, people are going to call you a Nazi and a skinhead.

There are three flags that are actually THE flags of the Confederate States. One of them, the first one and the one most commonly known to people at least visually, looks nothing like the battle flags of Virginia or Tennessee. The problem lies in the fact that the people proclaiming “Heritage!” didn’t choose to embrace any of those three flags or any of the other known battle flags. What they chose to start embracing so vocally as their “heritage” a few decades back was a battle flag that a hate group adopted as their symbol and spent over 100 years making synonymous with their cause, and that the very same hate group and other racists still to this day march with and wave around while threatening the safety, well-being, and lives of minorities in this country.

Given the options in flags they had, the frenzy of embracing of a hate group’s flag that started back in the late 1950s desegregation era while proclaiming it was just pride and heritage comes of as disingenuous at best. At worst, it was just pure ignorance.

But then, hell, the designer of the actual 2nd Confederate flag wanted it to be a “white man’s flag” and to in part symbolize the supremacy of the white man over the black man. His own words. Not much better than the flag of the KKK really.

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Beyond that, the South lost. Get over it. We do not fly the loser’s flag as our own. The losing team is never recognized like that. And comes fro Robert E. Lee. His words on the flag and the other symbols of the Confederacy was to fold it up and stick it all in the attic and then move on and work towards making the country great. He saw that flag as a symbol of treason against the US, and he refused to be buried in his Confederate uniform.

Private citizens want to own it and fly it? Sure, why not. But the flag of racism and hate, of domestic terrorism and murder, does not fly on government grounds under legal recognition and sanction by a government in anything other than a museum.

http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/declarationofcauses.html

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_missec.asp

http://www.civilwarcauses.org/gwill.htm

http://www.confederatepastpresent.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=117:speech-of-jefferson-davis-before-the-mississippi-legislature-nov-16-1858q-where-he-advocates-secession-if-an-abolitionist-is-elected-president-&catid=41:the-gathering-storm

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/cotton-is-king/

https://books.google.com/books?id=7QRJAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=%22Among+us+the+poor+white+laborer+.+.+.+does+not+belong+to+the+menial+class.+The+negro+is+in+no+sense+his+equal&source=bl&ots=Me-NmW_4wi&sig=-ra1ppN3lkg_vA-amg4RqUqzgvU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UXeHVef5I5OhyATzjaioAw&ved=0CDEQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=%22Among%20us%20the%20poor%20white%20laborer%20.%20.%20.%20does%20not%20belong%20to%20the%20menial%20class.%20The%20negro%20is%20in%20no%20sense%20his%20equal&f=false

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/

https://web.archive.org/web/20141204200939/http://www.senate.ga.gov/sro/Documents/StudyCommRpts/00StateFlag.pdf

http://theweek.com/articles/562004/surprisingly-uncomplicated-racist-history-confederate-flag

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/cornerstone-speech/

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/confederacy-approves-black-soldiers

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/kkk-founded

Battle Flags

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